By Tobi Adenola

Today, stories of unemployed graduates, have a common theme, usually around job applications and interviews – from a lot of people applying to get a particular job to being interviewed and getting no response. However, it is not all white and black, as there are some grey areas in-between these as job positions might not be proportional to the number of applicants. Hence, there will be competition for jobs; thus, the need to be innovative and strategic while job hunting.

According to Interview Success Formula, the average number of candidates who proceed to apply for any particular job stands at 118. From these numbers, only 20 per cent of these candidates get an interview.

In light of this, below are some crucial steps to consider while searching for a job.

Know the job you want

Knowing the job you want is a significant step in your job search. You cannot apply for a job that does not match your skillsets and expect a response. For example, a fresh graduate of Theatre Arts might find it challenging to land a job as Head of Internal Audit in a bank.

Write a winning resume

If you’re job hunting, it is imperative to have a great resume. It is to a job seeker what a weapon is to a war soldier. It is a summary of who you are and should be error-free. It should contain information such as your full name, email address, phone number, LinkedIn URL address, a personal statement, education, qualifications/training, core skills, work experience, awards, personal achievements, etc. The following points are handy if you want to craft a concise resume:

  • Focus on what you have achieved
  • Describe what you’re bringing on board
  • Use specific keywords as used in the job postings/job description
  • List relevant experience and skills valued by employers
  • Tailor your resume to suit the role you’re interested in
  • Check for spelling and punctuation errors

Write a winning cover letter

You need a cover letter because it is a fantastic way of introducing yourself to prospective employers by stating your abilities/interests and how you can help the organization achieve its goals. Just like your resume, your cover letter should also be devoid of errors, should be tailored to the organization you want to join, and specific keywords should be used as well. Do not repeat your resume. The following tips will help you while writing a cover letter:

  • Consider the accepted standard in terms of font and font size. It is essential to stick to what already works.
  • Cut the formality—no need for an excessive greeting. Just go straight to the point.
  • Be sure to emphasize points you’ve highlighted in your resume. List your unique selling points.
  • Be brief. Write persuasively and concisely.
  • Tell a convincing story, explaining why you’re the best fit for the role, what attracted you to the company, what skills you’re bringing to the table.
  • State relevant and specific examples from your previous experiences and describe how these examples made the teams in which you worked with stand out.

It is beneficial to attach a cover letter with your resume.

Applying for jobs

Now that you have a nicely written resume and cover letter. It is time for the application process. Today, one could apply for a job in-person, offline, online – via email, or social media.

Preparing for interviews

Before the interview, it is necessary to do background research on the organization. You can do this by visiting the company’s website or social media pages to read about how they operate and their goals. It is also essential to come up with a list of questions for the interviewer to answer during the interview. Also, you don’t want any question(s) to take you by surprise during the interview; this is why you should have studied common questions and responses that relate to your field. Adequate preparation enhances your calmness and preparedness for the interview.

Here are some key points on how you can answer interview questions:

  • Keep your answers brief and not longer than two minutes.
  • Highlight your achievements, especially the ones you are proud of, and deliver it in a cohesive statement.
  • Say one or two things that make you stand out from other applicants. Highlight your interest and how it will be useful to your employer.
  • Communicate with confidence
  • Learn to start with necessary information like where you’re from and how your experiences have helped shape your career choices and decisions.
  • Give an insight into your educational background, the course you studied in the higher institution, and how this relates to your career goals. Do not assume they know or have read your resume.
  • Dress for the occasion – try not to be excessive and be aware of the red flags. Ensure you arrive for the interview 10-15 mins ahead of time.
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