Have an interview for an exciting new job lined up? Worried you’ll mess up? Let’s go over the basics.
Instead of spending ages designing and tailoring your CV to stand out in the pile, why not consider actually doing something that will make you different from all of the other job candidates? One of the best ways to show your passion for a particular industry and your knowledge of a specific area is to write a blog and believe it or not writing a blog may be just what you need to do to score your next job.
Not your average CV
Whilst pretty much every job seeker has a CV (or at least they should have) not everyone owns a blog. The great thing about writing and publishing blog posts is that it demonstrates the skills, knowledge and passion you claim to have on your CV. It shows that you are far more interested in the line of work than the other candidates and is sure to impress employers.
Improve your digital footprint
Today it is common for employers to vet potential employees by performing Google searches. If a prospective employer ‘Googles’ your name and finds your blog, they are going to be so much more impressed than if a drunken Facebook photo of you on your mate’s stag-do appears. Remember that everything you put online leaves a digital footprint and unless you make your social media pages private, they can be explored by employers and could do you a disservice.
Present yourself as an industry expert
One of the great things about writing a blog is that it shows you have in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. It will inform employers that you are up to date with the latest industry trends and news and know exactly what is going on. Writing an industry-relevant blog will help present you as an expert and show employers that you are much more valuable to them than the candidate next to you.
You’ll instantly become more interesting
If you think about how many CVs and job applications employers have to go through, you will understand why they get bored so quickly. By writing a blog and including the URL on your CV, you will instantly become more interesting to employers. Not only will it give them something else to look at, aside from yet another CV, but it will also give you something additional to talk about when you inevitably land an interview!
You’ll be surprised at how useful your blog is when it comes to answering interview questions and it will often be able to make up for a lack of experience elsewhere.
Setting up a blog
Setting up a blog could not be easier. There are plenty of free blogging platforms online, with two of the most popular being Blogger and WordPress. If you are just starting out and want to use your blog for job seeking purposes, you don’t necessarily need a fancy design or domain, just make sure your content is top notch!
With so many benefits, it’s a wonder that everyone hasn’t already jumped on the blogging bandwagon. If you are looking for a way to make yourself stand out from other candidates or simply want to show employers how passionate you are about the industry you work in; blogging is the way to do it.
If you have already got a blog and are ready to use it to land your next job role, be sure to check out YourJobList. Applying for jobs can be extremely time consuming, but having a dedicated tool to manage your job applications and assist your job hunt can make the process a whole lot easier.
Latest figures show that the numbers of people employed in the UK are the highest since records began. Forecasts, both short and long-term, show that the total is expected to remain on an upward curve, with the rate of unemployment quite stable at around 6%. Freelancing and other forms of self-employment are also rising fast. So there is plenty of work out there, especially for people with the requisite skills, experience and qualifications.
Although some view this as unhealthy, London remains the powerhouse of the UK economy as evidenced by a recent report which found that the capital had ten times the number of job vacancies than other major UK cities. Job creation in London in recent years has been extremely positive, both in the public and private sectors and the expectation is that this will continue. The situation nationally is patchier, with some regions seeing net job losses in both sectors. So London remains the place to be.
Hiring is currently buoyant within IT, in the Financial Services sector for example. One reason is the renewed confidence as the economic outlook is becoming more positive. An increase in data and software development projects has led to consistent demand for suitably qualified professionals. And of course, change is a constant feature of the IT industry; nothing stays the same for very long.
A CV is of course a vitally important tool for anyone applying for jobs, especially in IT. Effectively, it is your marketing brochure. It needs to be a comprehensive, sharp but concise and professional document. Preparing a CV will also often help a candidate to identify gaps in their qualifications, gaps which they can set about filling. Prospective employers will be impressed if they see you are adding to your qualifications.
Not surprisingly, given the nature of IT work, the most common method of job hunting in this sector is to use the internet, and in particular to apply for positions via online websites, such as YourJobList.com. This can be extremely useful in providing a one-stop solution to job searching and it also often contains helpful blogs dealing with numerous practical issues, for example how to handle gaps in your CV.
One important benefit to be found on YourJobList.com is that all the major recruitment agencies are listed in one convenient place and you can add more that are relevant to your circumstances. This is especially useful in the modern market as fewer and fewer companies advertise jobs directly.
Redundancies and job losses have been rife over the past five years. One effect of this is that, when it comes to putting together a CV, many people are finding they have career gaps they fear might put off potential employers. The question is, how do you present these gaps to those potential employers? That all depends on the reason for your gap and how long you’ve been out of work. Here are a few tips:
Reasons for Career Gaps
There are hundreds of reasons you might have a gap in your CV and have spent an extended period of time without a job. The most common of these are redundancy, taking time out to travel, and taking time out to become a parent. In modern society it is quite common to take a gap year or time out for ‘personal travel’. It is also common for new parents to take time away from the work place to spend time with their small children. Rather than view gaps for these reasons as a negative thing, emphasize the positives you have learnt, and how that time out will enhance your ability to perform your new role. Staying at home with a baby will have improved your time management and your ability to multi-task. Taking time out to travel will have broadened your cultural understanding and you’ll have probably learnt a thing or two about money management as well! Focus on these positives rather than the negatives associated with being away from the workplace. If you have gap in your CV for a reason you don’t think would be viewed favourably, because you were spending time in a rehab facility, for example, or because you took some time off to deal with a family bereavement, then it’s probably best not to discuss these at your first interview. Having career gaps due to illness, unemployment and rehabilitation will suggest you are a ‘high risk job seeker’ and might dissuade the recruiters from meeting with you again to learn what else you have to offer.
Focus on Years and Not Months
One tip for presenting very small career gaps in a way that won’t be noticed by recruiters and potential employers is to focus on the years you were in certain roles on your CV, rather than the months you were there. Rather than write:
March 2010-January 2012. Marketing Executive.
April 2012 – Present. Marketing Manager.
you could simply write;
2010-2012 Marketing Executive.
2012 to Present. Marketing Manager.
By doing this there is no gap on your CV to explain. If your career gap is longer than a couple of months, though, this technique will not work: when it comes to applying for new roles, honesty really is the best policy. If you lie on your CV you’re likely to be caught out and may lose the role you were given anyway.
Talking About the Gap
If you do have a long career gap, during the interview process, particularly if the recruiter is reading your CV, they may ask you to explain it. The most important thing to remember is to think positively, and draw attention to all the positive aspects of your CV, rather than focus on the bits that are harder to talk about. As already mentioned, draw on the new skills you learnt during your career break and compare them positively to the skills you would need to complete the role you’ve applied for. Perhaps the trickiest kind of extended career break to explain is one for illness or rehabilitation. Rightly or wrongly, potential employers may view this with concern, fearing you’ll take an extended period off work again. The best thing to do in this instance is to keep your explanation short and to the point: you took time off because you were ill, but you’re firing on all cylinders again now and ready to get back to work. If you did anything else during the time you were out of work (such as volunteer work or training for a marathon) then now is the perfect time to mention this too.
A career gap can be difficult to explain but if you’re open and honest then it shouldn’t prevent you from gaining the job you deserve!
Thanks to guest contributor Emma Crosby for this great article.
Here are the three questions that Forbes says all other interview questions boil down to.
But an insightful article on Forbes says all those questions really boil down to three:
- Can you do the job?
- Will you love the job?
- Can we tolerate working with you?
Here’s why they’re so important.
Can you do the job?
In a time where jobs are becoming increasing complex and specialized, employers need to make sure you can do the job. That means not only making sure you have the right technical skills and experience for the job today, but the ability to learn and adapt, to think critically, to embrace new technology and approaches, to work in multidisciplinary teams, to communicate effectively with others, to take the job to the next level, to move to another area in the organization, etc. Because the job they are hiring you to do today will likely change fairly radically over the course of your employment with them.
The interviewer might not ask you all this directly, but you can be sure they’re looking for clues in your answers.
So make sure you share examples of how you continually adapt and learn on the job, stay ahead of technology trends, work with others, manage risks, think critically and make decisions. Give them a broader view of what you can bring to the organization and the value you can provide.
Will you love the job?
So much research recently has focused on employee disengagement and its cost to organizations. So employers aren’t just looking to hire people with the right skills and experience for the job and “fill the seat”. They’re concerned about finding the right candidate, who’ll be fully engaged in the role and be a high performer.
Here again, it’s hard for an interviewer to directly ask you about your engagement level. And clearly, if you’re looking for a new job, you’re likely not fully engaged in your present role. But many of the questions they ask give you the opportunity to express your passions for your work.
So make sure, as you answer questions about your work experience, you share with the interviewer the aspects of work that you love. What are the things at work that “turn you on” and make time disappear? Do you love solving problems? Are you passionate about satisfying customers? Do you thrive on the details or guiding the big picture? Do you need to work on teams? Are you jazzed by beating the competition?
What are the things you need in a role to be fully engaged? And what are the things that disengage you? Be honest about both; it’s in everyone’s best interests for you to work in a job that you love.
Can we tolerate working with you?
Cultural fit has also become a key consideration in hiring. So much work these days is done collaboratively that you need to be able to get along with your coworkers and work effectively with them.
But more than that, as organizations recognize that their employees are their only true source of lasting competitive advantage, organizational culture and competencies are becoming more critical. More than products/services or technology, this is what differentiates an organization from the competition.
So interviewers are likely to ask you questions that help them understand whether you share their core values and competencies. Afterall, if you’re a good fit, you’re likely to be more engaged and to perform better.
To help them determine this, start by getting as much understanding of the organization’s culture, values and core competencies as you can. There are lots of areas on their website that will give you clues to these. Look at their company history, careers page, mission and values. Look at the words they use to describe themselves, their products/services, market and customers. And decide for yourself whether the organization will be a good fit for you, and you for it.
Most companies will be looking for things like: customer focus, commitment to quality, innovation, integrity, speed, care for the environment, responsiveness… But each will live that in a different way.
If you think there’s a good fit, let them know. As you answer questions in the interview, tell them about your shared values and competencies. Give examples of how you’ve exhibited those on the job and outside of work. Let them know that you’re more than just the skills and experience you bring to the table and that you share a commitment to the same things.
Check out the original article over at Tech Republic. Credit to the original author, Sean Conrad.
Check out this great infographic. Lot’s of great tips!
Credit to the guys at Top Counseling Schools.