Looking for jobs can be stressful. The process can be long, and landing your ideal job requires you to perform well every step of the way. The best way to handle the daunting task of landing a new role is to focus on each step as it comes. This step-by-step guide will offer tips on how to prep your CV, write a winning cover letter, and perform your best at the inevitable interview.

How to prep your CV

The sole purpose of your CV is to catch the attention of your potential employer in order to get you an interview. A CV isn’t meant to display your design skills, but to act as your own personal marketing tool. Writing punchy headlines and keeping the design simple and clear will catch the reader’s attention and urge them to read on.

The most important thing about your resume is that the content is engaging and paints you in a true, positive light. Instead of listing your responsibilities, include how your skills and experience helped your employer. Always include a list of your successes, and if possible, use numbers to back up those successes.

When writing your CV, remember who your reader is. Identify what they will be looking for, and make sure you know the skills needed for the role you’re applying for. If you do your homework on the company and its employees, you will be able to better understand how to present your skills and experiences to them. It will help you decide if the business meets your needs, and if you meet theirs.

Write a great cover letter

While your CV is the main event, your cover letter is what will entice an employer to read it. The intended function of the cover letter is to outline the relevant parts of your CV.

Here are some pointers on how to best write your letter:
1. Find out who your letter should be addressed to, either by calling the company and asking, or doing research on LinkedIn or the company website. If you can’t find the right person, write to a senior member of staff, who will hopefully pass it on to the right person. If they pass it on with a request to contact you, then the chances of the person in charge of hiring not calling you back are slim – who’s going to ignore a request from the boss?

2. Ignore your instincts and axe the formal tone. Being yourself will allow recruiters to assess whether you’re suited for the role

3. Try a bold approach: state a time when you will follow up with them, and then make sure you do.

4. If you’re submitting your application in hard copy, hand-write the recipient’s name and address. Most people open handwritten mail first.

5. If you’re submitting an application via email, craft an interesting subject line. For example, you could use: “Introduction from…” and then explain why that person gave you their email address.

6. Try to answer these questions: “What do they want to know” and “How am I going to add value to the team?” Let the answers to these questions guide your writing.

7. Tell them why you want to work for their company and why you want the position.

Perform well at interview

You’ve made it to the most important stage, thanks to your cover letter and CV. While interviews are often nerve-racking and can make the calmest of people nervous, there are things that you can do to decrease your anxiety.

The way that you present yourself is important in an
interview. Always dress up, and make sure that you shake hands firmly, make eye contact, and are happy and excited about the job opportunity.

Remember that preparation is key. Make sure you know where you’re going and have a copy of your CV on hand. It is also important to research the company you’re interviewing with in case they ask the question: “What do you know about our company?” The research you do will also allow you to formulate questions to ask at the end of your interview, and to assess whether this is the ideal company for you.

In face-to-face interviews, many employers ask competency-based questions as a way for you to prove that you’re competent and suited for the job through your past experience. Never lie, be yourself, and don’t use the same example twice.

By preparing and believing in yourself, you’re going into an interview with the right attitude. All the work you’ve put into your CV and cover letter have paid off, and remember that you wouldn’t be at the interview stage if you weren’t qualified.

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