Looking for a job? In this market, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. Here’s how you can show off your strengths and get noticed for all the right reasons.
With South Africa’s unemployment rate at 24.3% and approximately 4.9 million people unemployed, according to official figures released by Stats SA in early 2015, job seekers need to be increasingly aware that there are many qualified applicants competing for the same position.
With such a large job-seeking pool, it’s easy to become just a number to a prospective employer or human resource exec. Making a good first impression from the moment you submit your CV to navigating your way through your first interview is so important to ensure you stand out when looking for a job.
Things to keep in mind include:
- Do’s and don’ts — how not to apply for a job.
- Look at your CV every time you apply for a different job and make small changes based on the requirements of the position.
- Use any networks at your disposal to make yourself stand out from other applicants.
- Use social media to your advantage — update your LinkedIn profile and if there’s anything on your Facebook or Twitter pages you wouldn’t want prospective employers to see, make sure your settings are private.
- Always follow up after you’ve sent in an application. This shows that you’re interested and will stop your CV slipping through any bureaucratic cracks.
- Make sure you dress smartly for your interview — and pay attention to details, no scuffed shoes and make-up on your shirt!
Prepare for your interview by thinking about how you would answer these common questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your weaknesses?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Why did you leave your previous job?
- Why do you want to work with us?
- Why did you apply for this position?
- What would you like to be doing five years from now?
- Why should I hire you?
Things to keep in mind during an interview
If you have the opportunity to ask questions, do! Ask questions that will allow you to find out more about the company and its culture. This is also an ideal opportunity for candidates to enquire about the position they’ve applied for. It’s important to show the interviewer that as a candidate, you’re serious about the position by asking questions that show you’ve done your research. This is a great way to make a good first impression and make sure the job meets your expectations.
Another handy tip is to use power statements and be specific during the interview to emphasise the message you’re trying to get across and to spark the interviewer’s interest. For example, instead of saying ‘I’m a loyal hard worker,’ say ‘I’ve put in long hours and I’ve assisted the department in cutting costs by 15%’.
Keeping a clear head and ensuring you’re well prepared as a potential candidate, both beforehand and during an interview, is an absolute must. Using facts to highlight your strengths, capabilities and potential will ensure that you stand out for all the right reasons. Good luck!