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You Will Not Land A Job Without Getting This Right

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

These tips would have saved me 9 months if I used them when applying for my last job.


Job Application Advice
Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

There are numerous routes that you can take. There are just as many industries with many types of jobs. But, what is common is that all of them is that you will probably end up submitting your CV as part of an application to attend an interview for the role.


But, if you are anything like me, when asked for your CV, you need to search an old file on an old laptop for a CV you put together five years ago that is clearly out of date.


This isn’t going to cut it. We have some advice for you below that will help.

 

Your CV / Resume

According to Office Angels, “Your CV should be a living, breathing, growing document. And even if you don’t have any new roles or skills to add to it, you’ll more than likely need to adapt it to specific jobs, sectors and companies.


They say you should never judge a book by its cover: too bad nobody ever thought to extend the same teaching to CVs. All too often, worthy candidates find themselves at the bottom of the recycling bin because they fail to highlight the promise within.”


Focus on Skills

Rather than listing your work history in reverse chronological order, your CV style should focus on your skills that are relevant to the particular job or sector you are seeking employment. Employers are looking for specific skills and experience required for the role.


According to The Muse, “In a skills-based resume, you still include your employment—but you’ll stick it at the bottom of the page.


By eliminating the focus on your previous positions and titles, you’re able to highlight experiences and skills from all facets of your life and provide a more comprehensive view of your abilities.”


When should you use a skills-based resume?

A skills-based CV highlights skills above work experience. This is an important change of emphasis when applying for a role you have relevant skills for but may not have the specific job or industry experience they are requesting.


Some examples of when you might use a skills-based CV provided by Indeed.com include:

  • If you are changing your career and don’t yet have experience in the new job role

  • If you are changing industries and don’t have experience within the new industry

  • If you have recently finished school, college or university and don’t yet have relevant work experience

  • If you have gaps in your employment history that are longer than several months to a year

  • If your work experience consists of short term roles or internships only, rather than extended periods of employment in one position

  • If you have held several positions that are very similar

I work in the nuclear industry, where the demand for workers is high, with a need to recruit from outside the industry.


I see many resumes in the traditional work experience style that act more like a billboard to declare, “I’ve never worked in your industry before.”


A skills-based CV is a great way to focus on your relevant transferable skills and how you could apply these to the nuclear industry or any industry.


You will still have the opportunity to outline your work experience and career progression. It will just not be at the forefront of the hiring managers mind.


Your aim here is to focus on what you bring to the role rather than what you do not.


Think of it this way. What is the better dialogue in the hiring managers mind when reading your CV?


“I’m going to have to spend a lot of time with this person to train them up. They do have some good skills.”


or


“I can see how this person brings something new to our team and will help to drive innovation. Spending a little time training them up is going to be worth it.”


CV Template

To help put this into context, I have put together an outline CV template to help give you a starter of an outline from your skills-based CV.


Follow this link to find the template on my personal Google Drive.

Nuclear Job Applications
Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

Your Application

The application process is where you formally declare your interest in the role. There is much more you can do to complete the application form, attach your CV, and click send.


Networking

Two sayings jump out at me as I start to think about networking as a job-seeker; “your network equals your net worth” and “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.


They are so true. And, having been on the hiring side of the table on many occasions, I can say that this is not because the hiring manager is doing a favour for an old mate from school.


In my view, there is little that distinguishes one candidate from another. You often end the selection process by looking for something that makes the right candidate stand out from the crowd.


If there is familiarity, maybe this is the attribute that pushes them over the line.


Do not despair. You don’t need to be the CEO’s daughter to stand out from the crowd. In fact, with the increasing popularity of LinkedIn, it has never been easier.


I spend a lot of my time helping people from other industries find a job in nuclear. Often, to begin with, they have zero connections in the nuclear industry.


You will be surprised at what doors you can open and how willing people are to help. It can be as simple as providing an insightful comment on the post of a nuclear worker, following this up with a connection request and an introductory DM saying you are interested in working in nuclear.


I find that people love to help other people, especially those aspiring to follow in their footsteps. Please don’t underestimate this fact, and don’t be afraid to connect and reach out to the hiring manager directly and tell them that you are thinking about applying.


As I write this, nuclear employers everywhere are scratching their heads to find new ways to find good people to deliver their aspirations.


Covering Letter

When submitting your application, whether entered directly into the application system or as a supporting attachment with your CV, the letter of introduction accompanying your CV could be of even greater importance than your CV itself.


A covering letter allows you to add an extra dimension of personalisation to your application that is difficult to bring out in a CV. However, it may have the opposite effect if the letter is fraught with spelling mistakes and poor formatting.

Nuclear Covering Letter
Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

According to Office Angels, an impactful covering letter will contain:

  • An explanation of why you are sending your CV

  • Details of how you found out about the position, especially if that demonstrates an established interest in the company

  • Specific qualifications and skills that fulfil the most critical requirements in the job description

  • An answer to any questions specifically asked in the job advert

  • A demonstration of your desire to progress your career, as well as your general personality and positive attitude to work

  • An indication of how you intend to chase them to see if you were successful

The Interview

With a successful application, you will often be invited to attend one or more interviews to enable your prospective employers to decide the best candidate for them.


The interview’s success depends on the preparation you are willing to put in. This will come across strongly on the day and, although you are not in control of the end decision, there are certain things you can do to affect the result.


Below is a checklist based on some advice from experis to ensure that you are best prepared for your interview:

  1. Research the industry and company - you don’t need to know all the intricate details. Still, the overview of the company based on info on their website or a recent CEO press release and some industry news of the day will suffice.

  2. Clarify your “selling points” and the reasons you want the job - go back to your skills-based CV and focus on what you bring.

  3. Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations - if you have a gap in experience, don’t shy away from it. Have an answer that turns it into a positive.

  4. Prepare for common interview questions - you can find a set here.

  5. Line up your questions for the interviewer - often overlooked, you can find a set here.

  6. Practice, practice, practice - write down your answers to the above. Read them aloud again and again until you don’t need your notes.

  7. Close on a positive note - most interviews end with ‘is there anything else?’. Here is an excellent time to make a positive comment about your positivity surrounding the role.

Dress professionally

Dress appropriately for the role. You will not need to wear a suit for all interviews, but, if in doubt, wear professional attire. It is always better to be overprepared.


When considering what to wear for your interviews held over a video call, the same is to be. Dress as you would an in-person interview. Wear professional attire, including a skirt or pants and shoes, even though the interviewer will not see your legs.


Feeling professional will help you feel and act professionally, which will come across on the day.


The Follow-up

Some great advice from zety, the online resume builder, states that when “following up on a job application, you’re“ treading on very thin ice.

No matter how you cut it, you’re about to ask the hiring manager a rather annoying question: “When will you make up your mind?”

You don’t want to seem too pushy or impolite. But not following up might mean another candidate will fill your spot.

Luckily, there are some proven ways of following up on a job application. Play it right, and you’ll dramatically boost your chances of getting hired.”


The online timesheet provider, deputy, give some tips on how to follow up on a job application:


1. Write a follow-up email directly to the hiring manager

Suppose you managed to connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn as suggested above. In that case, it is a courtesy to send a quick follow-up email thanking them for their time, complimenting them on the professional process and stating your keenness for the role. Clarify your intention to keep in touch and refer to the application guidance.


2. Wait

It’s crucial to have patience in sensitive matters such as these. If you have not had any updates from your follow-up email, wait for a week or two, and then consider following up.


3. Use your connections.

Go through your business and professional contacts to see if you know anyone from the company.


4. Make a phone call.

I personally would not feel comfortable doing this. Still, I have come across some success from people directly calling the hiring manager for an update, especially for roles that require someone with initiative and drive.


5. Don’t get creepy.

Please do not overdo it. Persistence and Enthusiasm are great qualities, but they can often be considered pushy, desperate and even rude.


6. Keep job seeking.

Continue to look for a job until you have the job. There are too many factors in the hiring process to consider anything a foregone conclusion. Continue your job-seeking plan.


7. Practice restraint.

Hopefully, you get the point here. Concentrate your efforts on continuing your job-seeking plan, and do not be tempted to overdo the follow-up.


Summary

The job market is hot right now. This fact puts you in with a great chance of landing a new job.


However, with so much demand for workers, employers are cautious about making sure they make the right hire.


You must get the whole application process right.


Connecting to others in the industry, reaching out to the hiring manager, creating a skills-based CV, providing an introductory letter with your submission, prepping for and attending the interview and being mindful during the follow-up are all part of this process.


Follow the tips above, and you will be just fine.


 

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