Has the time come to go forth into the world?
- Have a good CV!!!
Just do it
This is literally all they’re basing your ENTIRE being on; Try and get all information on one piece of paper – they won’t look at a second one.
It’s best to get it professionally done; You only need to do it once and it will make a huge difference to the amount of responses you get.
It really goes without saying, BUT, at least get it spell-checked (by a real person NOT just Microsoft Word) AND DON’T FORGET TO EXAGGERATE EVERY GOOD QUALITY YOU HAVE.
Make sure the qualities are relevant to the job you’re applying to are at the top, preferably larger, or in bold. (it’s a good idea to have two or three set CV’s, i.e One for Catering, One for Retail and arrange the information accordingly)
EXAMPLE – Top of catering CV:
I have a food hygiene certificate. B GCSE in Catering…. (list all the catering experience you have had at the top of the page under RELEVANT EXPERIENCE. then have a separate category under that for other experience that isn’t relevant.
^This will make it easy for you to be picked out because it looks like you’re specially suited to the job.
- Use ALL Resources
When trying to find a job, you’re gonna need all the help you can get.
Keep your eye out for advertisements in shop windows – always have a copy of your CV on you, just in-case an opportunity crops up; Then when someone says, “Well if you have a CV, bring it along and drop it in.”- You waste no time! Whip it out your bag and be like – “Their it is, take it!”
Also remember to ask around- MOST VACANCIES AREN’T ADVERTISED! – The ones you find out about that aren’t advertised will have a smaller proportion of people applying, this means that statistically you have a better chance!
- FIRE MANY ARROWS!!!
Don’t just apply to that one perfect job you want. Apply to all jobs that you think you could do. Fill in those pesky online questionnaires.
TOP TIP – if you have spent an hour on an application, and there is a maths or English test AND you know you’re not good at maths DON’T press ‘take test’- Everyone has one friend or parent or sibling, bf or gf who is good at maths – Get them to do it with you! Almost 99% of the time isn’t relevant to your job, and if you fail the test you’ve just wasted an hour of your life filling out the other forms.
One last thing – NEVER be honest on the ‘Customer Service’ or ‘How to Behave at Work questionnaires.’ – Always put the most desirable answer to the highest degree.
I often feel as if I can’t get out of bed?
ONCE IN A WHILE
ONLY WHEN A CLOSE FAMILY RELATIVE HAS DIED.
And the right answer is…
NEVER It shows up on a statistics chart – the furthest/strongest degree you have of correct answers the more likely you are to fall in the bell curve of ‘desirable candidate’.
Remember: Out of around 70 applications you will hear back from two or three (if you’re lucky!!!) SO don’t get disheartened- Keep going!
- CONSULT THE INTERNET
It is your best friend when trying to find a job. Sites such as, Indeed.com, CV library, Gum Tree will have a surplus of jobs to apply too that there would be no other way to find. This means you can apply to a hundred jobs a day just with a click of a button!
– If there is one that you really like the look of, after applying online go to the place in person and hand your CV in as well
Also – if their is a phone number given on the application, RING IT. Even if it is just to say, “I have applied online to your job.” It will make you into a real person, instead of just one of many virtual 2D applications.
- Cover Letter -If you’re going to bother to apply to a job, might as well do it properly.
Tailor it to the job, the truth is that you probably can’t remember most of the jobs you apply to. – but that isn’t what an Employer wants to deduce.
Employers sometimes get HUNDREDS of applicants – Set yours aside, show/fake enthusiasm – maybe add a little joke. It only needs to be a sentence or two, but it will give you a much better chance at being picked for an interview….
- Ok…. you’ve been offered the interview: GOOGLE AND WIKIPEDIA IT!
Get the edge. This isn’t university, you don’t need to write an essay on the company. BUT if you’re offered an interview look up the company you’re working for! Keep your eye out for: Any events coming up? Anything special about the building? Has anyone famous worn their produce for advertising purposes? Is there anything interesting historically? – When did it start up? Who was the founder? How many chains does it have? How Is the company is famous for anything unusual? (make sure it’s positive and unusual!)
Bring this up at the interview; A lot of interviewees ask: “What do you know about our company?” – instead of looking like a floundering fish, you’ll be able to exceed their expectations.
STAND OUT – in a good way and look as if you genuinely have an interest in their company!
- OK – it’s the day of the interview…. Cut out the hippy stuff!
What’s that I hear you say?
“It’s preventing freedom of expression, people shouldn’t judge you by how you look.”TOUGH!- They do.
Don’t screw up your chance! It’s cruel but true. Though uniqueness is celebrated at university almost all jobs want you to look uniform; weather it’s a Sales Assistant at a shoe shop or a Consultant at a bank. To stand the best chance at an interview: Dreads -out. Facial piercings- out. Hair color- plain. Tattoos?- Cover them.
- DRESS SMART – BLACK
You can’t go wrong with it
Black trousers, black (flat) shoes, black top, then top it off with a fancy black coat. Too much black?- NEVER! Every employer wants their employees to look professional – do it from the moment you see them EVEN if you’re told “it’s just a casual interview.” – It will help them imagine you in the role.
BLACK BLACK BLACK.
IRON IT, IRON IT IRON IT.
CHECK FOR STAINS – SPONGE IT, SPONGE IT SPONGE IT.
- TIE UP YOUR HAIR – even if you think it looks ugly.
They aren’t hiring you to look pretty – They are hiring you to be professional. When your hair is back your whole face can be seen – this makes you look honest, your hair can’t distract the interviewer AND you won’t be tempted to fiddle with it if you get nervous.
- OK- so you’re on the way to the interview – PREDICT WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR.
While you’re walking/on the bus/driving (if you’re lucky enough to have a car after graduation) to the interview have a good think about what the job is, and, if you were the boss of the company EXACTLY what you would want to hear regarding what skills you’d want your workers to have.
THEN REMEMBER SAY THAT TOO THEM.
think about precisely what skills you already have that match the requirements- mention them!!!- there is nothing worse than walking a way from an interview and thinking
‘Why didn’t I say that I used to work as a Sales Assistant for Butterfly Organics.’
ALSO: there is lots of relevant stuff you can make-up/embellish. For example, your going for:
You’re going to have to be
CONFIDENT and CHATTY.
Think of or make-up a scenario you can tell them that will prove you have these skills.
Obviously every job is different BUT ALWAYS MENTION that you are fine with Long hours and eager to take extra shifts; No-one ever is, but say it.
(P.S it may help to write down all the things you definitely want to say at an interview, then bring the piece of paper with you, DON’T look at it in the interview, but you can have a glance at it while you’re waiting)
- NEVER BE LATE.
There is no point going if you’re late. You won’t get the job. That’s the end of it: it doesn’t matter how good you do in the interview, other people will have turned up on time and beaten you.
ALSO – don’t turn up just on time – red faced and panting stating, “I made it.”- you also won’t get the job.
Turn up 20 to 30 minutes early- if there’s traffic or you get lost, you’ll have a few minutes to spare. If all goes smoothly you’ll just look extra eager.
- YOU’RE AT THE INTERVIEW – A first impression is the only thing you have to work with; so make sure it is good!
Ask their names and try to remember them!
Shake their hands (while smiling)
Always hang/fold up your coat – Don’t lump it on the back of your chair and let it fall on floor. Someone who takes care of their own belongings presents a mature attitude.
One last thing- speak in standard English (While not sounding like a robot -you’ve got to be friendly) BUT don’t use slang;
“I’m like, well-good at stacking shelves.”
- DON’T Nervous laugh or Fidget.
Try your best to look as if you are in control of the interview – obviously if they make a joke- laugh -but don’t laugh at everything they say, or everything you say; It’s hard when you’re nervous BUT you don’t want to show it and look weak- they sniff out weakness!
Also try to ‘urm’ as little as possible.
If you’re prone to fidgeting – don’t – knit your hands together and place them on a table.
DON’T- play with your hair.
- SMILE!- BE POSITIVE – REALLY POSITIVE- REALLY REALLY POSITIVE. + + + +
They don’t want someone miserable working for them. Everyone’s nervous at the interview, but try to give the impression that you’re a cheery person – PIN UP THAT SMILE – show them that even at the end of really long hard shift, after a drunkard has thrown up on you and two members of staff have gone home ill – you’ll still look like Stephanie from Lazy Town (if you haven’t seen it – she’s uber happy!)
ALSO NEVER SLATE YOUR LAST OR CURRENT JOB. – positiveness remember!
They will ask; Why did you leave your last employment?
It may be because they were A-holes to work for, they didn’t pay you properly, your boss was Gordon Ramsay and you couldn’t take being degraded and humiliated – DON’T say this – ALWAYS be nice about previous employment. If you’re not it will give the impression that you’re unprofessional and once done with them you’ll slag them off too!
So to answer the question say something like:
I fancied a change.
I thought my skills would be put to better use here.
Their wasn’t any promotional opportunities
I moved and needed a job closer to my new house
Don’t look as if you’re afraid of them, especially if you’re going for a customer facing role. They will presume someone who is nervous won’t make sales and won’t be up to the job. However sometimes ‘be yourself’ is not the best advice;
Make jokes, relax a little, but always be aware of what you’re saying and why
– Avoid arrogance, and waffling, don’t waffle, never waffle, if you’ve said it – stop.
- DON’T be TOO polite.
You don’t want to come off as desperate. Ask questions and sound interested, BUT, don’t give the impression that you will (quoting Blondie’s Call Me) ‘do anything, any-how, anytime any place, any way’ to get the job. It makes you sound inexperienced and like you’ve never had a job before. You want to get the right balance between motivated and keen, without scaring them.
- THEY ASK YOU QUESTIONS – YOU’VE GOT TO SOUND GOOD -LIE – well don’t actually lie, but kinda lie – unless you’re really good at it.
The truth can be that you’ve had absolutely no work experience EVER. But that doesn’t matter, they make their mind up solely on that thirty minute to one hour interview. So just tell them what they want to hear, if they ask you “Have you ever worked in a shop before?” and you used to hand out leaflets when seven years old, say: “Yes! I used to work for Joe’s Corner Shop as an advertising assistant.”
If they say, “how do you find working as a team?” and 70% of the time you find people’s presence highly irritating and wish there was a plague that caused silence without death, Say,
“Though I am a very independent worker, I also work very well as part of a team. I think it is important to listen and understand exactly what your colleges are doing. If everyone pulls together not only can you be more efficient. It makes the work place a much more pleasant environment.”
– if you’re feeling plucky add an example,
“My work colleges at my last job always said that I took instruction well and at the end of a long shift I was always motivating other’s.”
“I organized the staff parties as I think it is important to have a sense of community.”
– and then if you’re feeling really jammy make up an awesome staff party and say exactly what you did to organize it.
- SAY THE KEY WORDS!
Make sure you bring them up at the interview:
YOU NEED TO BE sociable, yet able to work alone.
Flexible, yet know all the company rules.
Good under stress.
Quick- yet efficient.
Good on a til
BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT! – DON’T LIST THEM LIKE THE ABOVE ^– this is next to meaningless.
I am reliable….I turned up every day when I worked as a paper-boy, even when it snowed and no-one else managed to make it to work; I got up at 4.30am and dug myself through the streets to make the 9.00 am start!
- YOU’RE SWEATING AND STUTTERING. – breath. If you can’t think of a good answer………………………….. take your time.
It is better to take slightly longer, than say the first stupid thing that comes into your head. Especially for competency based interviews (which we’ll move on to) It is the answer they’re assessing, not the speed you say it. ALSO they sometimes have really long phrased questions;
“Can you give an example, in a work-based setting, of a time when there was a challenging situation and you personally resolved it; It could be a time where you took initiative of a team, or you were left by yourself for a period of time. Please detail exactly what it was and what was the outcome?”
Sometimes by the time they’ve finished you can’t really remember what they said, or what all the criteria for answer – It’s understandable you’re under pressure – Just ask them to repeat it; It gives you more time to think AND it’s far better to ask them to repeat it than to look like you weren’t listening and answer a completely different question.
- WATCH OUT FOR: competency based Questions.
These are questions where they assess your ability to judge a situation and respond to it, by using situations in the past that you have already responded to. Sometimes they ask a completely random question that you can’t prepare for HOWEVER their is a few that tend to crop up
PREPARE ANSWERS FOR THE QUESTIONS BELLOW!!
What is your greatest asset?
Can you think of Five words that describe you best? – make sure you give some examples and the five words are relevant assets!
Can you think of five words a colleague would describe you as? – make sure they are five different assets to the ones you gave for yourself.
What is your greatest weakness? – Make sure you have a good answer for this one!! – an answer that makes you look as if the weakness is actually a plus. Takes some thought, but have it ready.
What is the worst customer service you’ve ever given?- Make sure that this has a happy ending and that you learned from your mistake, also make sure your mistake is minor!
What is the best customer service you have ever received?
What is the best customer service you have ever given? – make sure it is brilliant.
Can you give an example of when you went out of your way to give exceptional customer service?
Have you ever noticed that something could have been done more efficiently in a workplace?
OK…. HAVE YOU PREPARED ANSWERS?
If you are asked an unexpected question try not to look stumped. You can make up a scenario, as long as it’s a good/believable one. Just make sure you answer fully; there is a technique for this…….
- STAR TECHNIQUE
They want good, full examples for the above questions – In-fact when you receive feedback for jobs you didn’t get it is often because you failed one of the competency based questions – even if the rest of the interview went smoothly.
THEY ARE IMPORTANT.
The best way to do well is to understand what they’re looking for and give them all the information they need:
Situation or Task: explain the situation so they first understand what is happening. (try and make it the most relevant to said job)
Action: What was the initiative, how did you go forth and complete the task?
Result: why was what you did appropriate? What did the customer say? Did your manager approve? If not, what would you do next time?
- A FEW LAST THINGS. -They WILL DEFINITELY ask you – “have you got any questions”
This is almost a fact SO, make an impression; even if the interview has been long and arduous. Make it look as if you have a genuine interest in working for them and ask around least two relevant questions.
How long is a regular shift?
How many staff work at one time?
and of course,
when will I hear back about the job?
Then get out of there!!!! (try not to look like you’re in a hurry, collect your stuff up – you don’t want to leave something and have to go back.)
- DON’T FORGET……. A final statement!
Just before you leave and question everything you’ve just done and said…
SAY: It was nice to meet you, hope to hear from you soon. (if it feels appropriate go for the hand-shake)
Try not to forget to do this. It just wraps things up nicely and makes the interviewer think, ”
“What a nice person, I’d like a nice person working for me”
ONE FINAL LAST THING.
When you get home, think about what you believe didn’t go well; Make a mental note of what to improve. If you don’t get the job try and get feed back – AND THEN TAKE IT ON BOARD.
There will be more interviews – Just try and make sure the next one is always better than the last