When you’re looking for a new job – or even a first job – you’re all but certain to be inundated with tips and advice about how to perform in an interview. Some advice will concern how to dress and present yourself; some will teach you what questions to expect and how to answer them; others still will seek to depart from the beaten path and give you the interview tips you aren’t getting everywhere else. The point is, regarding the interview, you’re probably covered if you do your due diligence.
There’s less conversation, however, about how to set yourself up as an appealing candidate for employment beyond the interview. You may find tips about how to arrange your CV to impress, or find suggestions that you should follow up after a certain number of days, and so on. But these are fairly basic steps. Here, we’re looking at a few additional ways to grab the attention of an employer or hiring manager and make them consider you strongly.
1. Stay In Touch With Former Employers
This is easier said than done if you haven’t already made an effort to stay in touch. But keep in mind generally that whenever you’re seeking a new job, your prospective employer is at least relatively likely to ask permission to contact former employers. We’ve written in a past article about how to work smarter and impress your boss, and if you’ve followed some of those tips – to produce error-free work, take advantage of workplace tools, and so on – it’s likely that any current or former employer will be able to recommend you in honest and compelling fashion.
To be clear, we aren’t suggesting you contact a former employer out of the blue when applying for a new job, necessarily. It depends on the relationship. But as a more general, ongoing practice, try to build on impressing your employers by also staying connected, in one way or another. It will help to keep you fresh in said employer’s mind and increase the likelihood of a strong recommendation down the line.
2. Prepare For A Pre-Employment Test
It’s remarkable that for all of the aforementioned attention that is paid to the interview process, you seldom see advice for job seekers about how to prepare for pre-employment tests. These seem to be getting more common, however, and you’d do well to know what to expect and how to approach it.
The CoMeet blog provides a nice overview of pre-employment tests and what they entail, noting that they might consist of job aptitude assessments, personality and integrity tests, and in some cases even physical exams or I.Q. measurements. You’re unlikely to encounter all of these challenges when applying for a single opportunity, but as the same blog post notes from the employer perspective, the tests can help to narrow down shortlists and avoid wasting money on a bad fit. It’s for these reasons more employers seem to be using them, and it’s wise to prepare yourself accordingly.
3. Be Active On Social Media
In addition to viewing your CV and conducting a series of interviews and/or personal aptitude tests, employers today are all but guaranteed to observe any presence you may have on social media. Whether or not it’s wise in general to think of social media this way, it’s viewed as providing a glimpse into who someone really is, or how someone acts when not performing for an interview. So naturally, it’s in an employer’s interest to take a look.
One way to prepare for this is to simply mask your social media presence while looking for a job – perhaps by suspending accounts, tightening your security settings, or (as you may have seen if you have any friends who have applied to graduate school) slightly altering your name on social channels. However, a more proactive method of preparation is to be active – and appealing – on social media. Present yourself as a social presence who interacts easily and energetically, and avoid controversial or polarizing topics, and you’ll likely appear as the kind of person who can add a lot to a working environment.
4. Launch Your Own Website
In an article not too long ago, a Forbes contributor posed the argument that websites are the new CVs, and thus are needed by those seeking jobs. That may sound like a somewhat dramatic comparison, but in reality, there’s something to it. As said contributor points out, a lot of job applications now even have a space in which you can provide direction to your website.
This is not to say that your site should simply be another version of your CV. Nor does it mean it even has to be any form of a pitch for your skills and services. Frankly, it can be something as simple as a personal blog on which you share your thoughts – a public journal of sorts. Whatever the case though, owning and operating a website demonstrates a proactive nature, a modern approach, and some level of technological proficiency – as well as a glimpse into your personality. It’s better to have all of this than not.
As you surely know, the importance of these preparation steps can vary depending on the specific position you’re seeking, or a given employer’s way of doing things. Looking past the basics though – the interview and CV preparation – these steps can put you in a strong position to be the most appealing candidate you can be.