CAREER MONDAYS: Think like an employer to get hired
When looking for a job, it’s not about you. It’s all about the employer. Surprising, even the most talented can fail to get offers if they don’t prepare. Thinking like an employer start all the way from doing the application, customizing your CV, cover letter and showing up for the interview.
This goes beyond having a good CV, arriving on time, dressing professionally, being polite, and preparing to discuss every detail of your resume. Of course, these things are important. But get ready for interviews in a way that makes you stand out. Adopt a different mindset — theirs (The employer).
So how do you convey to a prospective employer that you are the perfect candidate for their particular position? Consider these three steps to align your job search skills with an employer’s mindset:
- Find out the employers needs/challenges.
To do this, step into the human resource manager’s shoes and imagine what you would like in a candidate. Go through their website and use the information there to help you identify their possible business needs and headaches.
Read everything you can find about the company and the job — from public sources, the company web site, and anything they send you. Study the written job description and the requirements for candidates. Interviewers expect candidates to know this material. It’s the admission ticket.
But you can do better. Try out their products. Meet people who once worked there, as well as suppliers, customers, or others in the industry. Ask about the company and how they think the job would work. If you know similar jobs at other companies, consider how they might differ.
This foundational knowledge leads to all the other steps.
- Align your Application.
Use this to draft your skills and achievements. Talk about achievements like cutting costs, increasing customer satisfaction, improving team dynamics in your department, increased sales or minimised errors. If you can add percentages to these achievements, you further increase your chances of moving up the shortlist rank.
These accomplishments should be the first thing the potential employer sees after your personal details. Do away with the cliché career objective and replace it with professional accomplishments. That will have more impact than a tired objective that no one reads.
A resume should be more than just a list of all the greatest things about you: your prior jobs, your fabulous education, and your awards and certifications. Employers want to see things that are meaningful and relevant to their workplace: Have you managed people? Have you cold-called prospects? Have you solved problems or developed strategies? Consider highlighting what’s most relevant at the top of your resume in a section marked “Related Work Experience,” rather than forcing hiring managers to pull the details from the varied job descriptions that follow. Make it is easy for them to find that which they care most about — meaningful, relevant experience.
- Impress/ Exceed Expectation
Make your case. Link yourself to the interviewer’s needs in the job. Come to the meeting with two elevator speeches — one if you have one minute to describe yourself and another if you have four or five minutes. Start with your personal value proposition (PVP) and tailor it to the job. Ask yourself this question: “If I get this offer, why might that be?” The answer includes your elevator speech.
Imagine questions interviewers may ask and how you’ll answer. Some may be about how well you match the job requirements. Others may be prompted by your CV. Are there gaps against their criteria? If so, how have you overcome gaps in the past, or how would you in the job?
Show how you’d succeed. Especially in later interviews, help interviewers judge how you’d do in the job. Show how you’d deal with the job’s challenges. Don’t suggest you have the answer to a complex situation they undoubtedly know better than you do. Introduce your ideas as a way to imagine how the job would be, and ask for their reaction. (“I assume the situation’s like this…If that’s right, then I’d need to do this to succeed…”) Do this well, and they’ll be thinking more about how they’d work with you than whether to make you an offer.
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