Update your resume
Before even considering applying for new jobs, ensure that your resume is up to date – check contact info, check spelling and grammar and ensure that your roles and responsibilities that have been added since the last time you applied for a job have been included in your resume.
Refresh yourself with your resume
Read your resume yourself before submitting and refamiliarise yourself with the roles and responsibilities you’ve had so that you’re better able and better prepared to answer indepth questions on a phone or in person interview. You should be able to rattle off your skills or examples of specific scenarios from that role without hesitation.
Say yes to agencies
You know the drill, you’re applying for a job through an agency and you get a callback and a pre-interview only to find that you aren’t even being considered for the job you applied for, they just want you on their books. Ok, so some do just want to fill a quota, but for the most part, they legitimately want to have you on their books because they can place you in something even better suited. Go the agency interviews and put your best foot forward. If you’re the right candidate, they will fall all over themselves to place you in the right role. Be the right candidate. Be willing.
Prepare for your interview
Again, refresh yourself with your prior roles and responsibilities. Think of the kind of things you’ll be asked and prepare answers for them. There’s nothing worse than being asked a question and having no answer or fumbling your words trying to mash something together on the spot.
Don’t badmouth former employers
This should go without saying but if you bad mouth former employers you’re letting the company you’re interviewing with know that you’ll likely do the same to them. You’re also depriving yourself of a reference and setting yourself up as a negative Nancy – no one wants to hire a negative Nancy.
Play up your strengths
Know your strengths, recite them, and tell yourself your strengths often. Even if your strengths aren’t relevant to the specific questions, make them relevant. Speak confidently on the things about yourself you’re proud of. Job interviews and life are very different. I always looked at it as having two faces or two masks. One is your humble, self-deprecating self who still finds it difficult to accept compliments and underplays their achievements out of humility while the other is self-promoting, self-confident, self-assured, sassy and eloquent and it’s because f this that I interview really well. The ability to flip a switch and become a different version of yourself is so helpful in scenarios where you need to promote yourself in this way. That’s not to say though that the other mask should vary wildly from who you are. It does need to be wholly reflective of your abilities and personality because it will quickly become apparent if it was all a falsity and with a 90 day trial period you can be back out of a job with no real reason. Fashion a mask that is simply a heightened, more confident version of yourself and use it solely for work based scenarios.
Disguise your weaknesses in strengths
You’ll always be asked what your weaknesses are in an interview, just as you will your strengths. Some people take honesty as the best route however telling your potential new employer that in the afternoons you get lazy and tune out isn’t a big ‘hire me’ incentive.
Decipher your weaknesses and reword them into strengths. Be careful around wording too because in some instances even your strengths can become weaknesses. Telling me you’re a perfectionist tells me it’s going to take forever to get work from you because you won’t be able to stick to a deadline.
Know your worth
Both financially and from an internal values perspective, know what you’re worth. Know your strengths, know what you can provide in this role, know how you can change the way they do things because of XYZ inherent traits you have. Research similar roles and work out what they’re earning. Look at what the role is offering and your current salary and work out what you’re worth. Be ready to say no if it’s dramatically lower or if it’s a role you really want, be prepared to accept less to get a foot in the door.
Preparation helps you immensely when the money question comes up – which it always does, but you can make it swift and painless by simply responding telling them you’re currently on $XYZ, you’re looking for $ZXY but that you would potentially look at $YZX for the right role. Don’t be afraid to ask for more, don’t be afraid to self-promote. In this instance, you’re not cocky or self-absorbed, you’re promoting yourself the way you’d sell a product or service. You need to become a you-fanatic if you want others to feel the same.