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There have already been loads of blogs like this on the Internet. But still, you can find people who do basic mistakes when applying for a job. You can use this as instructions for how to find a job in any company because the issues I am going to talk about are perceived similarly by most of employers.
Getting to an interview means a 50 % success
It is not even necessary to say that the basis of a well-run company is formed by a team with high qualities. This is the reason why I pay a lot of attention to who I invite to interviews and even more to who I hire. I don’t like wasting time (especially mine), which means that every minute I spare can be used for something more important.
Again, I had to but laugh and cry at the same time when I was browsing through the CVs of people applying for a job in our company.
Personality means more than skills
I am rather new in this field but during my business career I have already done more than 100 personal interviews. I am constantly improving my psychological (and sometimes also magic) skills of revealing human personality and potential.
Firstly, I care about who you are as a person and secondly about what you can do. These two issues are closely connected and they influence each other. I always say that if you have a character “of quality”, it is just a question of time when you acquire the skills needed for your job. However, it doesn’t mean you are supposed to know nothing, on the contrary!
It is hard to define what the character “of quality” really means. Nevertheless, I believe there is a certain set of qualities which are needed:
- discipline: Accomplish what you have promised – not only because of the expectations of others but for yourself. We need people who are able to get rid of their bad habits and who have strong will to continue with their work (in brief, you have to be consistent).
- honesty: Tell us frankly what you think. Even if you know that we will not like it – even during the interview.
- motivation: Be motivated, so that you improve your skills without praise or pressure from the part of others. You have to find ways how to improve yourself on your own.
- courage: Don’t be afraid to work hard and sweat a little bit. Be a fighter and show more than is expected from you.
Yes, I know. It all sounds like clichés and dreams but I always try to find at least one of these qualities in people, even though it may be good for nothing. But let’s talk about individual mistakes because I am starting to philosophize.
No lies, no lies and no lies!
If you lie, me or anybody else will find it out, sooner or later. I like my company and I hate people who do harm to us because thus, they destroy what me and other skillful company members have been creating together for years. I am always willing to share people’s lies with my colleagues from other companies and if you are the one who lies, do not expect my positive references anymore. Slovakia is a small country and therefore, I always say that only a few people can risk like this.
To admit your shortcomings is more than to say the contrary
Many people are not able to evaluate their skills. We have great programmers and graphic designers in our company but even the best of them do not consider themselves to be experts at everything. If you say that, you must have tangible evidence because once I hear something I start to search for evidence immediately. If I do not find anything, I have doubts.
Do not send me only your CV...
... but also your portfolio (at least). It is rather easy a task for programmers and graphic designers as they can show their work online. However, fantasy has no limits: lawyers can also present their skills: by showing their best contracts or by describing briefly the issues they solved. If you do not have your portfolio yet, it is high time to do it or at least to distinguish yourself from others somehow. Do a job for someone for free and try to do your best. If you don’t want to invest in your future, why should I believe that you are willing to invest in a company, which is not even yours (even though it should be in the future)?
Changing your job does not change your life
When industrial workers, soldiers, security guards, officers or cooks are applying for the post of programmer, I am desperate (unless they surprise me). Work can change your life. However, if you do not change the way you think, it will be just a short-time solution. Nobody can help you build better future for you than yourself. Everything starts from you. Everybody has the Internet today: you can find there all the information you need.
Title is OK – but what about work experience?
A University degree might be considered to be a certain standard of quality. But even at the best schools you can find incompetent people. If you don’t develop the knowledge universities provide students with, you can have 5 titles behind and after your name - but it will be useless. Of course, there will always be companies requiring only people with titles. But it would be too risky to count on this - the world is changing quickly.
Don’t say that you know everything (even if it were true). Focus on what you are best at. I know, it is very tempting to put million skills into your CV but this is not how it works. I know very well how much effort is needed to be good at one thing, not even at 10 things. So either you want to tell me that you are not really good at anything or that you know just a little bit of everything.
Provide us with relevant information
Don’t put irrelevant information to your CV, I do not have time for that. I am not even interested in whether you worked as a waiter or in the McDonald’s, unless you were a successful manager. When you are applying for the post of graphic designer, I really don’t care whether you worked as a postman.
When adding a photo, add a good one!
I have already received so many funny photos that me and my colleagues always look forward to seeing what else will appear. A good photo is the right step as it shows your representativeness. It is very human when I am reading about someone while being able to imagine that person. On the other hand, if the photo is bad, I will think you did not put much effort in choosing it and you just put there the first one you found.
Don’t get upset like a small child
When we do not hire you, don’t worry! If you are patient and willing to work hard, there is no reason why you could not send us an e-mail in a half year or in a year, asking us to examine you again. There were a few people who put negative comments on profesia or facebook. However, when I asked them why, they did not response or (in better case) dismissed their evaluation. We are really trying to create an agreeable atmosphere for people in our company. And if we do not hire someone, I always explain why, so that the person has a feedback. However, if you get angry like a small child, there might not be a second chance.
I know that to do all this requires a lot of effort and it might not ensure you success for 100 % because life is just not fair. But on the other hand, we invest in the selecting process, which means that you should also invest in yourself. We devote approximately 10 hours of net work to prepare a good advertisement. How much time do you invest in preparation of your presentation?
P.S. Just a few more tips in conclusion
- don’t put too many works in your portfolio, ideally 2 or 3 best ones from each type
- when inserting references, state also the year so that we can see your progress
- do not send your portfolio as a link in the motivation letter (because sometimes I do not even look at it)
- do not send the files in the formats which are not generally accessible
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