Applying for jobs can be nerve-wracking. You want to present yourself in the best possible way without sounding like a braggart and you want to do what you can to get the job. How do you show yourself to be the best candidate without saying things like, “I’m amazing”?
The single best way to show a potential employer that you are the best applicant is to genuinely want the job and act accordingly. Sound excited for the position and be ready to show why you want it. Here are some ways to prepare yourself before the interview and look great both in person and on paper.
1. Focus on the employers’ needs, not yours.
When you sit down and talk with a potential employer about the available job, it’s important to show interest in the company and the job — not the benefits and salary you will get. Even if that’s what you’re most concerned about, it’s important to show you are interested in helping the company or organization succeed. Ask questions about the company and its goals. Look up the company online beforehand and understand the focus as well as the attributes you could bring to the role to help them succeed.
2. Be brief but informative.
Answer questions succinctly and thoroughly. Don’t expound for an hour on why you are the best person to operate the cash register. Answer questions, explain your answer if necessary and then move on. No one wants to hear how you met your boyfriend at your previous job but got in trouble for talking at the register and then had to quit because the manager was jealous and so on and so on. If the question is: “Are you comfortable operating a cash register?” Say, “Yes,” and move on.
3. Be flexible.
The last thing a potential employer wants to see is a job applicant with a long list of demands. This is not the time to say that you need to have every Tuesday afternoon off to take your mother to an appointment or how you need to be ready for your vacation in two weeks. If you want the job, show how much by being willing to show up early, work late and be flexible. If you demonstrate right from the beginning just how important you believe the job is and are willing to put yourself out there constantly, it is much more likely that your boss will approve if you do need a Tuesday afternoon off to take your mother to an appointment.
4. Be creative.
When you put your application together, treat it as part of the job for which you are applying. According to Colin Day, the founder and chief executive officer of iCIMS, Inc., a provider of talent acquisition software for growing businesses, you should look for keywords in the job description and use them in your application. Customize your application to each job for which you are applying.
5. Be sincere.
How much do you want this job? Really? Are you sure? Then say so. Go over the reasons you want this particular job in your head (or use note cards) ahead of time. Convince yourself. Convince a friend. Then go into the interview and convince the employer. Be active in your interview. Sound excited about the possibilities. Lean forward and ask questions about the potential for the position. If you want this job, go and get it.
6. Be honest — but not too honest.
Assess yourself before applying for a job. What are your strengths and weaknesses? According to Ryan Kohler, the CEO of ApplicantPRO, “I’d a hundred times rather hire someone who is honest about their shortcomings and how they plan to improve vs. some automaton who tries to tell me they’re ‘too much of a perfectionist’ or ‘care too much.’” Be honest about your weaknesses. Are you impatient? Say so. Are you sometimes too emotional? Be honest. However, if you were fired from your last job for talking to much, you might want to leave that out.
7. Clean up your profiles.
Social media is prevalent in society now and it’s in your best interest to clean up your accounts before applying for a job. Your employers will look you up. Have a photo of you and bong online? Or topless at spring break? Perhaps you want to delete that before you apply for that job as a bank manager.