I occasionally help clients looking for a job or switching to a new position in my coaching services. I don’t prioritise this service in my coaching services because 1) there are heaps of ‘tips’ on the Internet, and 2) each person’s situation is different, so coaching for interviews or CV preparation needs to be customised to be effective.
It may be the season in Australia or a coincidence, but I have recently provided several interview coaching services for my clients. Almost all of them had read many tips and seen many YouTube videos about interview skills. Many have prepared awesome-looking CVs according to resources they found on the Internet.
So, how to land a dream job?
- Get your CV right. If your CV is not impressive, you won’t have a chance for an interview. If you have a dream job to pursue, then you need to prepare for it. This process can take years. For example, if you want to join a music studio, you’d like to know who is already there, their backgrounds, and what skills, knowledge and experience you may need to get your foot into the door. If you need those essential ‘ingredients’ for an interview, then don’t bother applying for the job.
In some countries (especially in Asia), you may need a ‘fancy’ degree to join a big company. Unfortunately, some big companies do use this to screen applicants. This is unfair, but we can do nothing to change this ‘culture’.
Your CV needs to highlight your achievements and skills; your CV is not only a list of your education and job history. Think about how to make someone WOW after that person has skimmed many CVs.
Pay attention to what you do outside your work. Big companies like to find a team member who can demonstrate teamwork and people skills. Many activities you do outside work can help, for example, organising social events, volunteering work, and sports events. This is where you can shine among competitors if you have unique experiences. ^_^ You could mention your Ironman races to show your resilience or share the social cycling club that you manage.
- Interviews! If you search YouTube for ‘interview questions’, you can get many videos showing those tips. I’ve gone through some of them, and yes, those videos are generally helpful. So, if you see all the videos about interview questions and skills, can you perform perfectly in your job interview? The answer is NO.
Tips are helpful, but you need to apply those to yourself by highlighting yourself as a person, not a commodity.
Most established companies have a standard operating procedure for hiring, including interviewing. An interview panel will usually have one or two HR persons and a few hiring team members. Often, interviewees are asked the same questions, so it’s easier for the panel to compare who is genuine, who is answering from a ‘template answer’, and who should go for a second-round interview. The first-round interview is usually routine checks, but the second-round interview is not.
If you go beyond the first round, you will have a unique chance to present yourself in front of the panel again. The hiring board will ask you more specific questions (usually highly relevant to the role you are applying for), and they will be curious about you as a person. Your job is to make them ‘like you’. Once the panel likes you, then you are more likely to succeed.
I’ve heard from my clients and former students that some went through four or five interviews before landing an offer! Imagine you are the hiring manager; whom would you like to invite for the second-round interviews? If you have an answer to this question, then prepare yourself that way for the interview!
- Don’t take it personally about the outcome if you are not hired. Remember one thing: it’s not about how good you are but with whom you are competing. Someone else got the role, which may be due to his past experience (that you don’t have!). Someone got the role, possibly due to her Harvard degree. Do not linger on your misses; move on and focus on your future.
Professional assistance is very helpful, and this is what the Internet cannot give you! If every issue and every problem can be solved by reading Internet “chicken soups” and watching YouTube videos, the whole coaching industry will not exist! Executives and senior managers seek assistance through coaching, so do you reckon you can benefit from coaching, too?
Preparing your CV is like wrapping up a precious gem. It would be best if you wrapped it up appropriately, so you can show how good the gem is. Everyone is different, so how you ‘wrap yourself up’ should be different. Look inside yourself hard and see what you can show the world.
Going to your interview is like staging for a ballerina; the audience already knows what you have and what a gem you are. Then, go to the stage and make them ‘fall in love’ with you and your dance.
Please reach out if you’d like to try professional CV and interview preparation assistance. A small investment can change your life, and your future career is certainly worth the small investment you make today.
Dr C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com
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