Back to Basics: 3 Simple Tips to Improve your Employability

Co-Written By: Mariam and Kerstin
Exclusively for WIB.

Are you currently a job seeker struggling to get your application noticed by recruiters? Or someone who has just been interviewed but hasn’t been considered for the next round? Well…you’re not alone!

No doubt, job hunting can be challenging and frustrating, but if you have the basics right you are more likely to be noticed. As a recruiter assistant at Showpo, I have reviewed and turned down hundreds of CVs simply because achievements aren’t being highlighted enough. We get it, you had all these amazing jobs, but what exactly did you achieve in your role? Then we have the interviews, where people lack self-awareness and have trouble answering the most basic questions.

To stand out from other applicants, you need first to take a step back and work on the basics. To get you started, I have put together 3 simple tips to help you boost your chances of getting recognized by employers.

 

1. Improving your self-awareness

Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings. It takes time and practice to become self-aware but as you grow into the category of young adult you will begin to truly ‘Know Yourself’ (just like Drake).

Self-awareness will help you in the process of creating your cover letter, CV as well as the job interview itself. It is important to take a step back and contemplate your internal emotions, thoughts, feelings, strengths and weaknesses – it is not often that you will find yourself talking to your friends about these things so many people attend job interviews completely unprepared.

Determining your weaknesses

Yes, that dreaded question; what are your weaknesses? Determining your weaknesses can be a hard task. You don’t want to undersell yourself but you don’t want to come across having a big ego. You need the perfect balance. A good way to identify your weakness is to consider the role you’re applying for and then ask yourself what skills may be necessary for this particular job? The employer is probably already aware that you were missing that skill but they will appreciate your honesty and teach you the skills on the job.

Determining your strengths

It is also important to note that listing your past roles is not good enough. You need to dive deep into an analysis of your career accomplishments and determine the achievements and skills you have garnered in each role.

Tip:, Use numbers to present your achievements and key actions words for example:

  • Manage
  • Redesign and;
  • Coordinate

These days, many companies hire for cultural fit rather than the skill set you may have developed since high school, so being mentally aware of who you are as a person will help you sell yourself to the interviewer.  What activities do you like to engage in when your head isn’t stuck in a textbook? And don’t say travel and exercise – they all say travel and exercise. Similar to a company operating in a competitive environment, you need to determine what differentiates you from the others that have applied for the same role and probably have the exact same degree. Think of it as your value proposition or your personal brand.

 

2. Updating your CV and Building your LinkedIn

Updating your CV

So, you’ve been working the same job for years and haven’t touched your CV since – where do you start? Updating your CV can be a daunting task but it is also necessary. Again, it is important to be self-aware. Your resume tells a story about yourself. It is a timeline of all the roles and achievements from past to present and the skills you have attained from these.

I’ve seen managers look at the format of a resume and throw is straight in the bin – so it’s not only about the details but it is also about the design. Most managers are busy so they want to skim your resume. This means you need to think about its readability.

Building your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn has become a powerful tool, especially in the business world. As we begin to digitalise our world we now have to consider our digital resume. It is necessary to have an account. Once managers receive your resume they will look you up on LinkedIn. Even more so, having a LinkedIn account means that recruiters can find and reach out to you. The process of setting up an account is super easy and very intuitive.

 

3. Nailing interview questions

By now most people are aware of the STAR technique used when approaching behavioural and technical questions., But what I’ve found is that people are neglecting how to properly approach the basic introductory and ending questions. So I’ve put together small criteria of how you can approach the following questions:

So tell me about yourself?

  • Your career direction and what you aspire to achieve in your career within the next 5 years
  • Discuss any prior accomplishments that demonstrate how well you use a certain skill
  • End by telling the interviewer why you want the position (be concise and positive) and how you think you will make a good cultural fit.

Why should I hire you?

Being self-aware will allow you to identify your key strengths to appropriately approach this question. This is the time to really emphasise on your skills and accomplishments that you think will add value to the company you are applying for. More importantly, avoid emphasising the skills that have been highlighted in the job description, you’ve made it to the interview stage because they know you have those skills. What they are looking for is a different set of skills that can add value to this role.

You can also mention:

  • How the company’s values are aligned with your own? (Use passion to express your desire to work for the company)
  • Draw on relevant accomplishments from previous experience by storytelling and how you can see yourself making the same impact for the new role.

 

Helpful links:

STAR Approach: https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/star-technique-what-you-need-to-know/

UTS Careers service: http://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/opportunities/career-development/careers-service/meet-us-today/drop

 

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