5 simple steps to applying for that job

Author: Soulyn Marouf, Senior Consultant, Hays Middle East - Accounting & Finance

Whether you are a seasoned working professional or a graduate looking to kick-start your career, searching for a new job can be daunting. You may not know where to start and your CV writing and interviewing techniques may be little to non-existent. In my experience, the advice that most job seekers get from their friends and relatives is to apply for every job in the hope that you will get at least one interview. But how many of you actually did this while job hunting and got nowhere?

This ‘spray and pray’ approach is not recommended! Instead, here are my top five tips to increase your chances of getting a job:

1. Focus

Target your applications only to those jobs that are relevant to you. Reflect on your interests, skills and experience and shortlist roles of interest according to these. When you are browsing jobs, fully review the job specifications and only apply if these are in line with your experience, qualifications and salary expectations.

2. Research

Do your research on the type of organisation and industry you want to work in. The more specific you are, the easier and more targeted your job search will be – you will be able to discount irrelevant roles and really focus on the jobs that resonate with you.

3. Update your CV

Most professionals update their CV only as and when they are looking for work. However, I would strongly recommend that you do this on a regular basis. Having an always up to date CV ensures that you capture all key experience and achievements, and it means you are ‘job ready’ for whenever the next big opportunity may arise. We have a whole library of advice on CV writing but remember that it should be no longer than three pages (less for graduate and junior-level candidates), it should be the same easy-to-read font throughout (I would recommend Arial 10), avoid using images and graphics (this detracts from the relevant content), and always make sure you run a spelling and grammar check.

4. Follow up

Once you apply for a job, reach out to the organisation in the following days to check your application has been received. Also ask about their recruitment process – what it entails (i.e. phone interview? Assessment centre? Etc.) and how long the process will take.

5. Be prepared

Once you get selected for an interview, take plenty of time to prepare. It is a good idea to get professional help or failing that, a friend or relative who you can practice with and who will give you honest feedback. Make sure you go over some competency based questions in order to get more comfortable and fluent in answering them – know which examples and strengths you plan to highlight and check that your overall body language reflects a confident and professional you.

Good luck with your job search and remember, a small number of quality applications will be far more successful than a scattergun ‘apply to all’ approach.

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