Ready, Set, Go! The 2017 job application season has commenced

2017-01-18 06:01

“WHAT’S next?” is a question you’ve probably contemplated as you prepare to put your brand-new degree or diploma to good use.

“There is so much more to being prepared for a job interview than simply showing up in a nice suit,” says Kay Vittee, the CEO of Kelly, a recruitment agency. “Sure, that will help you to make a good first impression, but if you haven’t put in the groundwork, you’re going to come up short.”

She says that to put your best foot forward, you should:

. Research the company in advance. Remember that as much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. They expect you to know a little bit about the company for which you would like to work and the position for which you are applying. Social media sites - like LinkedIn - are a good place to start.

. Find out the company’s dress code. It doesn’t hurt to dress a little smarter than the company’s dress code policy suggests – it shows that you are making an effort and can present yourself well. In a job interview, it’s best to be as neutral as possible so don’t wear bright colours or lots of jewellery and accessories.

. Be sure you are on time. If you live far from your potential employer, aim to be in the area half an hour to an hour before the interview. Go to a nearby coffee shop and wait so that you arrive on time and unflustered.

. Prepare some answers about yourself. While there’s no guarantee that certain questions will be asked, it helps to have thought of confident and clear answers to some of the more common interview questions like: “Why do you want to work here?”, “What are your strengths?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

. Clean up your social media profiles. Even if your social media accounts are set to private, it is possible for a potential employer to find out (often embarrassing) things about you using these platforms.

For instance, your Facebook profile picture is always public, so make sure it projects a professional image. If your accounts are set to public, make sure that you haven’t been liking or sharing controversial content.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t:

. Ask irrelevant questions just to show you’ve done your research. Don’t ask pointless questions – rather tie them directly to the job you will be doing or the relevant department.

. Become personal with the interviewer. Some guidelines suggest it is a good idea to research the person who will be interviewing you.

If you do, make sure you stick to their professional role. Don’t tell them that they have cute kids or that you also enjoy running. This is just a little too familiar for a first meeting – unless they share the information with you first.

. Say whatever you think the interviewer wants to hear. Whatever you do, don’t lie. Aside from the fact that this might be obvious to the experienced interviewer, lies have a way of coming back to haunt you later. And sometimes, “I don’t have any experience of that, but I am keen to learn,” is exactly the answer that the interviewer is looking for.

“Taking your first step into the job market can be a daunting prospect, but if you are well-prepared, you can emphasise your abilities and show your prospective employer why you will be a great fit with their organisation,” says Vittee.

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