Students and parents alike are reflecting on this past year and wondering what impact it’s going to have on their future. With a two month window now coming up into U6ths calendars, how this time is spent could be the difference between landing that all-important first job opportunity or not. Use it wisely!
At The Colin James Method®, we know first hand the impact that effective communication can make to your career. Knowing how to sell yourself is critical. That’s why we provide an online interview training course to polish these skills no matter if you’re starting your career or half way through.
- Make a fantastic first impression
- Are memorable
- Are likeable and gain trust
- Appear confident and capable
Our top tips for acing interviews and applications this year:
1. Research the company in advance
Whether you’ve got an interview coming up, you’re filling out an application or writing a cover letter, you need to research the organisation first.
- Read their company press releases online
- Research their competitors
- Review their website for their company culture, mission and values
- Get familiar with their products and services
- Study the company’s history and achievements
Consider how your findings relate to your own skills, experience, goals and values. If you find something that resonates, point it out. Show them you’re invested.
You could also research your interviewers or other key people within the organisation, review their social media profiles (especially LinkedIn) and note down anything of interest there. These connections or points of interest will help to make you more memorable, as your interviewer or application reviewer can begin to place you within their own familiar context.
2. Reflect their language in your application
When you submit an application the more you can identify and refer to significant “keywords” – these could be required skills, role duties, or values – in the ad, the better. This signals to interviewers or application reviewers that you thoroughly read and understood the advert. It starts to show them that you speak their language.
Of course, when you refer to these keywords or attributes, it’s important to demonstrate what they mean to you, how you have demonstrated them or aspire to possess them.
It is not sufficient to note that “being a team player” is an essential attribute of applicants and then simply state that you’re a team player. Explain how you’re a team player, when you’ve demonstrated this quality or why it’s important to you. You can use your hobbies, extra curricular activities, previous job experiences or travel adventures to spin up winning examples.
3. Prepare questions to ask them
Make yourself stand out and show your interest in the organisation by preparing in advance some questions based on your research. These questions could be about the role itself, the work environment, your colleagues, the organisational structure, career progression—anything really, as long as the question is thoughtful and not clearly answered on the homepage of their website!
A great question you could ask is “what would the ideal candidate/intern have achieved at the end of their first month with you?”.
4. Maximise your body language on screen
Covid means that many interviews will be held online at the moment, use these top tips below to make sure you come across as professional – not like you’ve just finished a Zoom quiz with the family!
- Position yourself to have light in front of your face, not behind you – so you don’t look like a silhouette on screen!
- Lift the camera to eye height, directly in front of you. Not below you or off to the side. If you can raise the camera so you can stand up… do! It will stop you slouching and keep you energised.
- Look down the camera when you talk, not at the person on screen – this creates the feel of direct eye contact. Put a post it note up to remind you where to look.
- Move back from the camera so they can see your arms and head – when your gesture it will be seen and help strengthen your message!
- If you have a cluttered background or people walking by, try a virtual background instead to avoid distraction.
For those who enjoyed these tips but still feel like they are just scratching the surface, our online Job Interview Training course is ideal—for school leavers, and even younger students that want to get a headstart on preparing for university applications. SN members receive an exclusive 10% discount off the online CJM Job Interview Course by using code SCHOOLPERKS10.
The 6 online modules walk you step-by-step through the course providing deeper information and tips that make all the difference to your confidence, presence and impact in interviews. Students in the upper sixth should click HERE now and use this time wisely to invest in their future career skills.