What can you do to maximise your chances of getting a good job?
Have an excellent cv. Many of the cvs I receive are ok in content, but poor in style, while some stylish ones have poor content! Here's a basic one to use if you don't have one.
The key is to briefly describe your experience and strengths, but do so without typos and spelling mistakes. If you'd like a free appraisal of whether your cv is up to the task or not, send us a copy here and we'll let you know!
Don't include a whole lot of personal aspirations, or cover your school sporting achievements - unless they are records, or otherwise outstanding. First XV or Netball Firsts or a Black Belt, definitely.
Once your cv is in good condition, you need to apply for jobs you can do, and preferably close to home - employers recognise that most employees don't want to be commuting for hours a day and that short-term employment often results, and that's something no employer wants to see.
Try to ring first if a phone contact is listed - although if the contact is adamant that they don't want to know, don't be pushy. Confidence is good, arrogance is awful.
If you include a cover letter - and I think it's always a good idea to do so - make sure it is short and to the point:
"I am applying for .................
I have x years of experience in this field and am looking for a long-term opportunity in your area.
Thank you for considering my application."
To a recruiter or employer, that is easy, to the point and shows confidence in your skills - you haven't grovelled or sold yourself up, and it means the attached cv will be opened.
I advise yet again, Be Creative!
If you have a job in mind which you think you can do, but haven't ever done, by all means, apply for it! In those cases, it's really important that you have a brief cover letter including your reasons for the desire for that job.
Amend the above to include:
"I have a good understanding of the processes of a .................. and feel that my existing skills in lathework/needlepoint/croquet/................. will easily transfer to this kind of job."
If you're good enough to proceed to interview stage, then you must make sure you present and sound good enough to get the job, and there are some simple rules to make your interview more likely to succeed.
Be on time! Being late for the interview is unforgivable. I don't care if you got stuck in traffic or the bus was late, a smart candidate will be on time by leaving early and waiting for the time of interview. Turning up for your interview five minutes early is ideal. If you're too early, have a cuppa while you wait - nowhere in the city is more than 200m from a cafe.
Maintain eye contact! People like to feel you're honest and easy to talk to.
Don't smoke beforehand! Being a smoker probably won't stop you being hired, but reeking of smoke will. So will having fags in your shirt pocket.
Have a bloody haircut! And even more so if the job is one where machinery's in use.
Wear nice [and clean] clothes! Even if you're going for a job as a dustie, you're probably not going to get interviewed on the back of the truck, and pissing off the office lady by dropping shit all over her carpet isn't likely to get you hired - think about things beforehand.
Don't appear desperate! A desperate candidate is a bad candidate.
Get rid of things sticking through your face! Nobody's going to not hire you because your face isn't pierced by random pieces of metal, but plenty of employers won't hire you if you turn up to your interview looking like an advertisement for barbed wire. These things often are no problem in a work situation, but it isn't a way of creating a good impression. I always suggest candidates even remove earrings at interviews.
Think about what you're going to say and how you're going to answer questions! There's no easy rule here, unfortunately - many employers use the interview process to disqualify rather than qualify candidates, so what you say is crucial. There are too many things in this to be covered briefly, but slagging off past employers and workmates, and any reference to personal issues are strictly no-go areas.
Be confident! Confident that you can do a good job, be a valuable employee and worth your wages. Cockiness isn't confidence.