How to excel in your job interview? 8 interview tips that will help you get hired

*Image source: http://careerfunda.info/5-real-ways-build-confidence-right-interview/

Once you’ve perfected the art of writing a great CV and cover letter, the next step is to know how to excel in your job interview. This is your final opportunity to showcase your skills and experience to the interviewer, and to convince them that you are the best candidate for the job. How can you improve your interview performance, and land the job of your dreams? Here are some tips to guide you along this road:

Before the interview

1) Do your research on the recruiting organisation

Read the job posting thoroughly, and be familiar with the key responsibilities and tasks required of you. Do not stop there; look at the website of the organisation, their social media pages, and read through some of their publications. Ask around in your network for more information on their work. Once you have a better idea of the needs, vision and culture of the recruiting organisation, you will be able to frame your experiences in a way that best suits the organisation.

2) Be familiar with everything on your CV, and keep up to date with developments in your field

Highlight key items in your CV which showcase that you’re a perfect fit for the job. Think about how you can match the skills and experiences on your CV to the requirements listed in the job posting. Beyond your CV, make sure that you’re well-informed on important developments in your field. Not only will this impress your interviewer, you’ll also avoid being caught off-guard in case you’re asked about a current issue.

3) Practice answers to typical job interview questions

Review typical job interview questions, and think about what your answers would be. This will help you be more articulate and at-ease during the actual interview. Some common questions from interviewers include: Why do you want to work with us? Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years? Have you faced a difficult situation at work, and how did you resolve it?

On the day of the interview

4) Get ready ahead of time, and be mindful of the dress code

Part of getting ready also includes dressing appropriately for the position. Plan to arrive at the interview location early, in case you encounter any last-minute emergencies. Being on time for your job interview is not only crucial for demonstrating your professionalism, but it will also put you in the right frame of mind for success. You want to be relaxed and composed, not flustered, when you start the interview.

5) Interact and communicate positively with your interviewer

Always be polite and respectful, but do not be afraid to show your personality and to engage your interviewer in conversation. The key is to be friendly, but not overly familiar. Also, watch your body language – non-verbal cues are just as important as what you say. Remember, at the end of the day, your interviewer is not only looking for a candidate who meets all the technical requirements, but also someone who they would like to work with.

6) Listen carefully during the interview, and be concise and confident

If in doubt, it’s fine to clarify a question, or to take a short pause to formulate your answer. Try to be as concise as possible. One trick to structure your responses in an effective way is to follow the STAR technique. Lastly, be confident in your achievements and do not undersell yourself, but be careful not to come across as arrogant or unwilling to accept feedback.

7) Ask insightful questions

At the end of the interview, it’s likely that the interviewer will give you the opportunity to ask them questions. This is another chance for you to showcase your interest, and to find out if the organisation is a good fit for you. For instance, you could ask: How would you describe a typical day in this position? What are the key tasks that the successful candidate is expected to accomplish within the first 30 days/6 months/year? Asking knowledgeable questions will give the interviewer a great final impression of you.

After the interview

8) Follow-up with a thank you note

The final but critical step in the interviewing process is to send your interviewer a follow-up email to thank them for meeting with you. Apart from expressing your appreciation, this email can also be a way for you to reiterate why you should be selected for the position. Send the email within 24 hours, while your interview is still fresh in the interviewer’s mind.

 

*For more on job hunting, read: Perfect your resume: 5 tips on how to write a good CV and 5 simple steps for writing a great cover letter.

5 Simple Steps for Writing a Great Cover Letter

*Image source: https://www.seek.co.nz/career-advice/weve-got-cover-letters-covered

A cover letter is often the most important and memorable part of a job application. While your CV provides a broad picture of your skills and experiences, it is the cover letter that allows you to target the job and the recruiting organisation in a specific and personal way. How can you write a great cover letter that will grab the interest of the employer? Here are 5 steps to follow while writing a cover letter:

1) Personalise your Cover Letter

If you’re applying for several positions, take time to tailor your cover letter to each position. Using the same generic cover letter is not impactful and signals a lack of interest. In the same light, avoid using impersonal terms like “To Whom It May Concern” when addressing the cover letter. Try to find the name of the hiring manager; and if your search doesn’t turn up results, you could use the greeting “Dear Hiring Manager”.

2) Don’t Restate your Resume and Highlight only Relevant Experiences

Do not just summarise everything – the employer can already see this information on your CV. Instead, use your cover letter as a chance to expand on the experiences which are most relevant to the position. For instance, pick 2-3 accomplishments and go into further detail about them. The cover letter is exactly the space for giving employers a deeper, more personal look at who you are.

3) Keep your Cover Letter Short and Specific

Aim to be as concise as possible – the cover letter should not exceed one page. Pay attention to how you write; instead of describing yourself using vague, overused expressions such as a “team-player” or “results-driven”, prove to the employer that you are these things through specific examples. A phrase like “I spearheaded a marketing campaign which increased the client base of XYZ company by 15%” will convey a far greater impact.

4) Target the Employer’s Needs

Remember, the cover letter should not just point out your accomplishments. Instead, keep the focus of the cover letter on the recruiting organisation, and how you can help them meet their needs. Do some research on the organisation to get a better idea of their current goals and challenges – this will allow you to be more specific in explaining the added value that you can bring to the position. It will also show the organisation that you’re genuinely interested in their work.

5) End the Cover Letter with a Call to Action

Your closing statement should be strong, confident and enthusiastic. Reiterate your interest and your suitability for the position, suggest an interview, and state when you will follow-up with them. Consider a phrase like: “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my skills and experience will be beneficial to your organization’s success”.

 

*For more on job hunting, read: Perfect your resume: 5 tips on how to write a good CV and How to excel in your job interview? 8 interview tips that will help you get hired.

Perfect your resume: 5 tips on how to write a good CV

*Image source: https://khamsat.com/designing/829116

Whether you’ve got years of experience under your belt, or are newly joining the workforce, your chance of landing an interview is much more likely to happen if you have a killer resume to show off your education, skills and experience. So, before building your CV, try to have a clear mind, know your assets and where you stand in the market, evaluate yourself using the feedback you receive from people, and tailor your CV accordingly. Here are tips to keep in mind when building a strong CV:

1) Keep your CV clear, concise and simple

On average, recruiters take an 8 second glance at a CV.  They do not have time to figure out a messy CV.

Make sure your format is easy to read and guides the reader smoothly. Use short sentences, bold/italic headings and bullet points to organise your CV. Don’t be afraid of white space; this makes a CV appealing to the eye, and hence, will possibly give it a greater chance of being examined for longer than the average “8 seconds”.

Note: The upper middle area of the first page of your CV is where eyes usually fall at first, so try to have your most valuable experiences there. Overall, your CV shouldn’t be longer than 2 pages.

2) Prove that you want the offered job position

Recruiters aren’t usually too fond of the “one size fits all” CV. Take the time to customise your CV for the role you’re applying for specifically. It will be an obvious effort that will be appreciated. For candidates with a long list of experiences or qualifications, mention only those relevant to the position you’re applying for, and leave out those that aren’t.

3) Know how to use your words  

Positive words such as “achieved”, “developed” and “maintained” add significant value to your experience, as opposed to words like “did” or “made”. Use strong keywords to complement your experience and to highlight your skills as your phrasing has an impact on your CV’s value.

4) Market your experiences according to the position

Some job positions may require a certain character or personality. Try to portray yourself in the relevant way when you apply for these roles. This is true for example, of roles in sales and marketing, which often require outgoing individuals with strong communication and people skills. You can make use of the hobbies/interests section to demonstrate that you possess these traits.

5) Make sure that your CV is error-free

Employers pay considerable attention to mistakes in your CV. Demonstrate that you care enough to have read over your CV before sending it. This will also remind you to include new experiences or skills that you’ve gained, but forgot to add.

 

Now that you’ve built your confidence and have gotten the basics down, give your CV a go. Start looking for jobs that would be of interest to you. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile so you can be updated on open positions in your field and connect with potential employers. Don’t be afraid to get rejected, because the opportunity of your lifetime will come.

 

*For more on job hunting, read: 5 simple steps for writing a great cover letter and How to excel in your job interview? 8 interview tips that will help you get hired.

Workshop on ‘Clear and Persuasive Communication: Speechwriting, Presentation, Advocacy and Policy Influencing’

On 27 April 2017, Lebanon Support conducted our first open workshop as part of the Civil Society Incubator programme, entitled ‘Clear and Persuasive Communication: Speechwriting, Presentation, Advocacy and Policy Influencing’. The workshop addressed how to prepare, structure and style writing for effective and memorable communication, and was delivered by Thomas Hart in our Beirut office.

The Importance of Protecting your Online Identity: 5 Tips to get started

Guest writer: Layal Khatib*

Security is a very important factor in every individual’s life. We secure our houses, finances, jewelry, cars, and other assets we find valuable, through setting up various defense techniques to counter potential robberies. Technology has taken over our daily activities, and has created additional assets that are now considered as valuable as owning a car or house. This includes digital data like emails, photos, banking accounts, etc. Similar to our physical assets, we have the responsibility of protecting our digital data (and which includes emails, bank details, photos, etc.) against potential security threats, identified in the online-world as cyber threats and crimes.

Securing your online presence does not necessarily require technical knowledge. Below are 5 tips to help you:

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Finding the Right Mix between “Too Broad” and “Too Restricting”: 5 tips to guide you to the road of developing a good strategy

Guest Writer: Ghinwa Mikdashi*

One of the biggest pitfalls civil society actors fall into is drafting a strategy that targets others before it targets them internally. Developed well, a strategy serves as your guiding star; your chaperon to ensure that you fulfill your aim towards yourself first, and towards your stakeholders second. Here are some tips that can help guide you in developing a proper strategy:

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