Today’s business climate is more competitive than ever and the ability to differentiate yourself from your competition is vital when securing employment. How then can you set yourself apart from the rest of the job-hunting crowd, and be noticed by potential employers?
Suzanne Feeney, Managing Director of Robert Walters, Ireland shares some insights into the process of securing a new role.
All hiring organisations are looking to find employees who can hit the ground running and add real value to an organisation in a short space of time.
1. Sell yourself – features and benefits
Think of yourself as a sales person who is selling a product. In this instance the product is you. When people buy a product, they not only need to know what that product is, but more importantly, what the product can do. All hiring organisations are looking to find employees who can hit the ground running and add real value to an organisation in a short space of time. In order to differentiate yourself in this current market it is essential that you not only have the necessary qualifications but also the potential to bring greater value than anyone else. In order to market yourself smartly you need to be able to convey your strengths and achievements in your cover letter, CV and interview. The key is to ensure your skillset is 100% relevant to the position and your skills are easily transferred to this new job. Do not use sweeping generic generalisations – back them up with a proven track record.
2. Know the market
- Industry sector: Which industries are growing at present? Which organisations are more resilient to the current downturn than others? What do you know about this sector and why are you interested in it? What value can you add?
- Skill base: Which industry sectors could you work in given your experience? What are your transferable skills? Which organisations in the market could you approach and what skills could you offer them to enhance their service offering?
3. Research the organisation
It is unacceptable in this day and age to attend a job interview without having thoroughly prepared prior to the meeting. Preparation can take anything from three to four hours to a number of days. In order to be fully equipped for an interview you need to have done as much research as possible on the sector, the organisation and the role in question. This involves online research, accessing company reports, recent PR/news articles and utilising any useful contacts to extensively increase your knowledge. Prove your commitment and interest in the sector, organisation and position by asking concise, focused and clear questions about the company in order to demonstrate your knowledge and research. A common interview question can often be: “Why do you want to work here?”, so use this as an opportunity to display not only your knowledge on the organisation and industry sector, but to prove that your experience and accomplishments will be utilised to the maximum potential in this new role.
4. CV preparation and cover letter
It may sound obvious but any cover letter to a potential employer should use a name, address and title. Avoid the classic impersonal “Dear Sir/Madam”. In your cover letter briefly describe your experience and then include a paragraph on your suitability to the role to grab the hiring managers’ attention. Your CV should be tailored to each job you apply for. Balance your responsibilities with achievements and accomplishments. Use your previous work experience and success to convince a potential employer that you possess the knowledge, skills and expertise to add value to the bottom line in a short space of time.
5. Work with a recruiter
Specialist recruitment consultants know their market extensively. They spend their time speaking with clients and candidates so they know exactly who is hiring and what different organisations are looking for. When you work with a good recruiter you should receive invaluable career consultation and advice as well as professional coaching to prepare you for interviews. A good recruiter will have access to opportunities that are not being advertised in the public arena and therefore provide you with a selection of potential jobs from a number of organisations that you may not even know are recruiting.