Tag: Applying for jobs

  1. So tell me about yourself

    With an increase in employment levels and record numbers of people applying for jobs now is the perfect time to hone your interview skills.  In this, the first of our insight guides on interview tips, we’ll tell you how to answer the common question of ‘tell me about yourself’.

    Those fateful words come up in the majority of job interviews; they’re an opportunity for you to really get your personality across while showing you’re the right person for the job – so why do so many interviewees stumble at this question?

    Firstly, don’t panic when you hear these words. The interviewer isn’t looking for a way to trip you up, rather, this question is usually used to get the conversation going. It’s a chance for you to talk naturally without having to worry if you’re giving the right or wrong answer, and for the interviewer to jump in and delve deeper on relevant information.  This is your chance to make a great first impression – and one that leads to a job offer, so answering this question well can genuinely make or break your chances of success.

    Preparation is key

    Before the interview take the time to jot down a list of bullet points about yourself and your attributes. Think about your personality, and which of your experiences and skills (both in and outside of work) would benefit you in this job. Using bullets will help you to remember different key points that you can then expand on during the interview.  You’ll want to sound natural and talk spontaneously, rather than trying to memorise a script.  Follow our 3 stages below and make bullet points for each stage.

    Who you are

    Start with a succinct summary of your current role and an overview of your most relevant skills and experiences. Remember, your interviewer has read your CV so already knows your full employment history, they don’t need a longwinded account of your whole life.  Use this opportunity to grab their attention by summarising your key strengths in just a couple of minutes.

    Why you’re the right person for the job

    Next, briefly outline why you’re qualified for the job. Think about your key accomplishments that would suit this particular role, for example how long you have worked in the sector, particular experiences and achievements or successful projects you’ve been involved with. Be sure to tell them your accomplishments and competencies that are relevant for the role.

    Why you applied

    Wrap it up in a concise and confident way by letting the interviewer know how enthusiastic you are. Talk about why you’re there, eg because you’re looking for a new challenge and you want to step up your career. Ideally make it relevant for the job in hand and show you’ve researched the company.

    Once you’ve made the bullet points for each of the 3 sections above, practise speaking aloud at home until you have a pitch for yourself that sounds natural yet confident and reflects your personality.

  2. How to ask for feedback on your job application

    Woman holding hand up to ear to listen

    There’s no getting around the fact that rejection is tough in any aspect of your life. However, when it comes to job applications it’s important to use rejection as a learning opportunity that will set you up for future career success. Asking for feedback on your job application is the best place to start.

    When you receive a rejection letter or email don’t take it personally. You may be crushed, especially if you put your heart and soul into the application. But an emotional response will come across as unprofessional.

    Here are the things to do when asking for feedback on your job application:

    1. Reply in writing

    This will allow you to draft and then redraft your response to make it as measured and professional as it can be. It will also give the recruiter time to offer you considered feedback. A cold call could catch the recruiter unprepared and not in a position to give you the information that you need for future applications.

    2. Make it timely

    Don’t wait too long before getting in touch with the recruiter. They may have contact with lots of candidates and you want to pick their brain while you are still fresh in their memory.

    3. Ask for specific feedback

    ‘Can I have feedback’ is too broad a question. Ask whether there was anything you could improve in your written application, your interview technique or your skill set.

    4. Keep it upbeat

    Always thank the recruiter for their time and for considering you application. You may not feel on top of the world, but staying positive and polite is really important for two reasons:

    • there is always a chance the person who got the job doesn’t work out
    • there may be another suitable post at the company in the future.

    If your application was promising and you have continued to show interest in the company then there is a chance you could get a call for another interview.

    If you are looking for your next opportunity in the affordable housing sector then we can help. Ocean Edge is a specialist recruitment agency with offices in London and Southampton.

    Read more of our advice for candidates and get in touch with us to discuss our services.

  3. 5 things you must include in a supporting statement

    Man writing in note pad while sat at laptopA supporting statement is a golden opportunity to say why you are the ideal candidate for a role. You can also pack it with all the information recruiters need when deciding whether to take your application to the next stage. So what should you include in a supporting statement to tick all the right boxes?

    First, let’s be clear about what a supporting statement is. If you are thinking that it is similar to a covering letter you’d be right. However, in today’s job market you are more likely to be asked for a supporting statement as CVs and applications are often submitted online or by email rather than by post.

    A supporting statement can be added to the body of an email with your CV attached or copied and pasted into an online form. Either way, you need to make sure it meets some basic requirements.

    Essential tips for writing supporting statements

    It’s important that your supporting statement is tailored to the specific job and doesn’t just repeat what you have said in your well-written CV. Keep your paragraphs short and make sure the overall length is no more than one side of A4.

    Here’s the essential things to include in your supporting statement:

    1. An introduction

    Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and showcase your talent. Think about your career highlights and make sure they are mentioned high up.

    2. Your desire to work for them

    Use your supporting statement to explain exactly why you want to work for this particular organisation. What is it about them and this role that compelled you to apply?

    3. Your relevant skills

    Refer back to the requirements mentioned in the job advert or specification, and make sure you demonstrate how you match the skill set being sought. Give examples of your experience and the projects where you have excelled.

    4. Bullet points

    Make your supporting statement punchy by including bullet points to highlight key information. This will also make the page easier for recruiters to read and refer back to.

    5. Your name and contact details

    In case your supporting statement and CV get separated once printed make sure your basic details are on both documents.

    Help finding a new job

    If you are looking for new opportunities in the affordable housing sector then take a look at our services for candidates. Ocean Edge has nearly 20 years experience helping candidates find the perfect job.

    You might also find our blog posts on essential interview skills, job hunting etiquette and finding the perfect job opportunity helpful.

    To find out more about our recruitment consultancy services in London and Southampton get in contact: call 023 8000 1153 or email info@oceanedge.biz.

  4. What NOT to do when job hunting

    Woman with head in hands at computerJob hunting can be stressful. You feel pressure to present the best version of yourself, especially when you find that dream role. It can be easy to forget simple job hunting etiquette when you are swept up in the excitement.

    Here’s some of the things you should definitely not do when looking for new opportunities and our tips on how to perfect your job hunting etiquette.

    Don’t allow your social media to let you down

    Whatever social media platforms you use make sure you audit them. Ensure your profile image is inoffensive and, particularly on LinkedIn, professional. Check what parts of your profiles are publicly viewable and make sure they are up-to-date, informative and don’t let down your personal brand.

    Read more of our tips on perfecting your personal brand when searching for a new job.

    Don’t use an unprofessional email address

    When you are responding to job adverts or enquiring about opportunities it is essential that you use a professional looking email address. Gmail and other email service providers are fine. Just make sure the address looks authentic and cannot be mistaken for a spam account. 

    It’s also best not to use your current work email address unless you are applying for an internal position.

    Don’t forget to speak to your referees

    You will need to provide one or more reference from someone who will be contacted during the recruitment process. It’s common courtesy to let them know you are seeking new opportunities. This will give them the chance to prepare some thoughts about you and will put them in a better position to aid your application.

    The only time this isn’t the case is when the referee is your current employer. Make sure this is clear when you provide the reference so they can be contacted only after you have been offered a position.

    Don’t forget to do your research

    Whether you are writing a speculative enquiry or in response to an advertised vacancy, address your letter or email to a person, not a position.

    Find out the name of the head of HR or the department that you are interested in joining. An email headed ‘Dear Mrs Hunter’ will be better received than one starting ‘Dear HR Manager’.

    Researching an organisation you’d like to work for will also give you a head start in the application process and when you land an interview.

    If you are looking for more tips on how to ace an interview take a look at our job interview technique tips.

    Don’t arrive late

    Punctuality is crucial when you are attending a job interview. Don’t waste a recruiter’s time – it does not make a good impression in what might be your first face-to-face meeting.

    Don’t dress inappropriately

    Workwear varies dramatically these days, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution in an interview situation. Dress smartly but don’t be afraid to show some personal character. A bright scarf or tie could help to make you more memorable in a field of several candidates.

    Don’t swear

    Interviews are a time to be polite. Don’t make a bad impression by allowing your choice of words to show you up.

    Don’t be critical of previous employers

    Even if you have come to the end of your tether with your current employer, an interview is not the time to be critical of another organisation or individual. It doesn’t set a good tone and may raise questions about your motivation for applying for this job.

    You will come across as less committed to progressing your career if it sounds like you want to escape your current situation.

    Help finding a new job

    If you are looking for new opportunities then take a look at our services for candidates. Ocean Edge has nearly 20 years experience helping candidates find the perfect job in the affordable housing sector.

    You might also find our blog posts on CV writing and finding the perfect job helpful.

    To find out more about our recruitment consultancy services in London and Southampton get in contact: call 023 8000 1153 or email info@oceanedge.biz.

  5. How to build a strong personal brand

    Looking at social media on laptopWhen you are thinking of taking your career to the next level it’s essential to have a strong personal brand.

    Your personal brand is what you want people to think about you; whether they meet you for the first time at a networking event or stumble across your social media profiles online. How you brand yourself needs to be consistent and authentic.

    In a digital world this is more important than ever as employers use the internet to search for new staff and research potential candidates. You want them to get the best impression and a sense of who you are.

    If you are considering applying for a new job or have been turned down for a job and are unsure why, then it’s time to conduct a personal brand audit. Here’s how:

    Audit your social media profiles

    Most people now have at least one social media profile, maybe several. While you may not use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for work, you still need to be conscious of what you are posting there.

    Even if you set your social media profiles to private it can still be possible for some information to be seen, particularly your profile picture.

    Review what details are publicly available, adjust your privacy settings and make sure your profile picture is consistent with the personal brand you want to promote.

    Next, consider what you are posting on your social media. What impression would it give a potential employer? Even if your profile is private, it’s best to self-moderate the things you share.

    Optimise your LinkedIn profile

    LinkedIn is one of the most useful online tools you have as a job candidate. If you don’t already have a profile then now is the time to set one up.

    Spend some time making sure you perfect your LinkedIn profile. You need to include:

    • A professional profile picture.
    • A compelling headline about you – this should say what you actually do and specialise in; not just your job title. Share your industry and your skills.
    • Fill out the personal profile and skills sections. Don’t be shy, include everything people need to know about you. The more you write, the easier it will be for employers to find you when they search LinkedIn for people with particular talents.

    When you have created a strong personal brand on LinkedIn:

    • Connect with people you know.
    • Ask your contacts for endorsements.
    • Post to your timeline about the projects you are working on, news within your industry, and resources that you think would be useful to others. And engage with other people’s posts.
    • Find and join LinkedIn groups related to your industry and career interests. This may be where you connect with your next employer.

    Promote your expertise on a blog

    Blogging makes it possible for everyone to share their expertise online. Think about the skills and bank of advice you have built up during studies or in your career that others will find useful. Create a blog to share this and build a strong personal brand.

    If the thought of setting up your own website sounds complicated, don’t worry. LinkedIn allows you to post articles from your profile and Medium is an easy and free to use blogging platform.

    Finding a new job

    If you interested in building your personal brand because you are looking for new opportunities, then take a look at our services for candidates. Ocean Edge has nearly 20 years experience helping candidates find the perfect job in the affordable housing sector.

    You might also find our blog posts on CV writing, interview skills and finding the perfect job helpful.

    To find out more about our recruitment consultancy services in London and Southampton get in contact: call 023 8000 1153 or email info@oceanedge.biz.