When you don’t get the job – you can still take some positives from the experience.
One job I applied for – I was excited about it and so it follows – I really wanted it. Not just because it sounded like a great job, but because I felt my experience to date had culminated in being ready for a job of this nature.
The cover letter was key to the application and was tailored to the industry, the company and the role and what I had to offer. If you really want a chance at being shortlisted, then start your cover letter from scratch and do your research on the industry. A key sentence in your first paragraph should show insight and understanding into the current state of the industry. Your next sentence should place the company in that industry and show that you understand the company.
Next was addressing the core criteria. I invested a lot of time and care in the written application making sure to properly address the criteria the employer requested. Your answers should demonstrate how your experience matches the criteria by describing a situation, the action you took and the result of the action you took.
Finally, your CV should be up to date and have some recent achievements from your current role. You should read your CV and consider how you might tailor the wording to match the job you are applying for. Not verbatim but if there are key phrases in the position description, make sure to pepper those phrases inside your CV in strategic places.
I had two trusted colleagues individually proofread the written application and then I incorporated their feedback. Getting an objective view on your writing and how you have crafted your responses is something you should always do. It made the application stronger.
Getting shortlisted for an interview is tough, and doing these things gives you the best chance at being shortlisted for an interview. Success! I was invited to interview. The key things you should do when preparing for an interview;
- Prepare – do your research on the company and make sure you understand the role
- Prepare – know yourself and your own experiences intimately – you should have multiple examples in your head ready to go that you can apply to the questions at interview.
- Note: The questions will most likely have to do with the core criteria on the position description
- Prepare – know yourself well enough that you are clear what skills you have to offer
- Remember – be confident without arrogance
Success! I was notified after the interview that I would be reference checked. It is at this point that it is hard to maintain equilibrium. You know that nothing is for certain, you understand that an employer can reference more than one candidate to assist them to decide. Be calm you tell yourself – don’t get too excited as you might be disappointed.
But I really wanted this job. And so, I did get excited.
And then I was told that I didn’t get the job. I maintained my composure throughout the phone call, and professionally thanked them for considering me. I hung up – and blinked back the tears. My mind went through every part of the interview thinking of how I could have done better – and I knew I could not have given any more of myself than I had during that 40-45 minutes. After feeling sorry for myself that day with my self-esteem taking a hit – I resolved the following day to turn this into something positive.
- Remember your own worth and know that not getting a job does not decrease your value – you are still good enough!
The first thing I had to work on was my self-esteem. If you’re still reading this, you’ll know that job hunting is hard. Harder if you don’t have one already. Knock backs make it difficult whether you miss out on a job interview or, whether like me you get so close but still don’t get it. I had to consciously work against the inner voice that kept telling me – oh, maybe I didn’t get this job because I wasn’t good enough. Now that is illogical and completely untrue.
Worse, I was fixing my self-esteem to something outside of me. All of us should have self-worth – for no other reason than ‘we exist’. Okay so that notion is a bit ‘out there’ but if your self-esteem is connected to external factors, it makes for a difficult and frustrating life. So, I steadied the ship and reminded myself that my self-worth is not and was never dependent upon getting this job!
Keep a job interview file that you can refer to whenever you have a job interviewYes, I have a document that helps me prepare for job interviews. Now, I don’t apply for a lot of jobs – I am one of the lucky people who (so far) already has a pretty secure job. But this ‘job interview’ file contains;
- A large number of work experiences that I have had under headings such as;
- Time management
- Staff performance management
- Meeting deadlines
- Making strategic decisions
- And so forth
Every time I have an experience at work where I practiced or developed a new skill, or had an achievement, I add it to this document. This makes preparing for interviews so much easier.
- As much as you can remember – write down the questions you were asked at the interview, and your answers and add to your job interview file
As well after an interview – I return to this document and write down as much as I can remember about the questions I was asked and which examples I used. This ‘job interview’ file therefore becomes a library of questions and answers that I can use for future job interviews. Believe me, your ‘future self’ will thank you.