I don’t like to use the word ‘fail’ because you only truly fail when you give up. There will always be an opportunity to try again. This was something that took me a while to understand, particularly in the job market. I had two unsuccessful attempts at a job before I finally landed the role so I thought I would share with you what I learned on my journey and the eight steps that helped me land that job.
Separate each selection criterion and start to write notes. Plan exactly what you want to say and what examples you are going to use. I used to struggle to complete tasks like job applications and assignments without a plan. Now, my first step is always to create a plan, and that outlines the next steps.
This is where you turn your notes into meaningful sentences and paragraphs. Make sure that all of your responses to the criteria are to the point, that you have given examples of when you have used a certain skill or been in a certain situation, and never ever ramble. Your written application is the first impression you give to the selection panel, make it count!
3. Read over and make sure you have addressed all criteria
Once again read over the position description and criteria, then read over the application you have written. This will help to ensure you have addressed the criteria and should help you identify any criterion that you haven’t addressed. This is an important step because the last thing that you want is to send in an application that doesn’t address the criteria or that isn’t relevant to the position you are applying for.
Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read! This time when you read through your application, pay attention to your spelling and grammar because spell check won’t find all of your mistakes. Having spelling and grammar mistakes in your application can come across as unprofessional and sloppy and you don’t want to give that impression to your future employer.
Hmm, but haven’t we already proof-read our application? Yes, but we can still make mistakes! Leave your application for a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes. You’d be surprised how many mistakes you can find when you come back to your application later. This time when you are proof-reading, check again that you have addressed the selection criteria and that you don’t have any spelling or grammar errors.
6. Ask someone to read over your application
It is sometimes difficult to find mistakes in your own written work. This happens because you know what you were trying to say and so often you fill in the blanks yourself. Asking a friend or family member to read over your application will help to ensure you have addressed the criteria, your application makes sense and that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
7. Make changes
Once you’ve had someone else read over your application, ask them for feedback and make any changes you think are necessary.
Read over your application once more and when you are happy with it, submit it to the selection panel.
While the written application is extremely important, it is only the first step in the process. Once you have submitted your application, you should start to prepare for the interview, even if you don’t think you have a shot at landing the job. Here are four tips for preparing for your interview.
1. Know your written application
Know exactly what you said in your written application because the panel may ask questions about it.
2. Practice interview questions with a friend
Ask a friend to help you prepare for your interview and run through questions and scenarios you think the panel may ask you. Practicing before your interview will make the real thing seem a lot less daunting.
3. Plan what you are going to wear
Make sure you dress appropriately for your interview because first impressions count. Wearing business/corporate clothing will go a long way to show that you are professional.
4. Remain calm
Nerves are completely understandable. Take a deep breath, remain calm and remember to talk clearly and at a reasonable pace.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t land the job or if your interview doesn’t go as well as you expected. Ask for feedback- yep, you can do that! You should always ask for feedback on your application and interview. Apply that feedback to all future job applications and interviews- Who knows, you might just be successful next time.