Whilst cruising into London on the train last week, sipping at ma coffee and mulling at how unfair life was that I’d booked a train in advance and hadn’t realised it was one of the ahem, slightly shitter stopper trains, I had this post idea.
I realised that it might be nice to put together some tips on nailing your dream job. It’s something I’m not too shabby at, y’know?
I don’t know how to make it as a kick ass full-time blogger, but I DO know how to pull together a seriously bangin’ CV and how to be pretty swank and impressive at an interview.
Blowin’ my own trumpet and that. Soz.
I got a graduate entry job at a top fashion mag during a recession, and those bad boys basically don’t exist. I also wooed Jo Elvin via Twitter and bagged myself work experience at Glamour and I once interviewed for Digital Editor at Stylist and mate, I was SO BLOODY YOUNG AND I DON’T KNOW HOW I GOT THAT INTERVIEW IN THE FIRST PLACE.
So, without further ado, let’s get cracking.
1. YOUR CV
I used to have the same sort of CV I’m sure a lot of you have, some Times New Roman document a few pages long that showed off my waitressing skills and a load of other excess info no-one gives even the tiniest crap about. Soz, just being blunt and to the point.
My uni lecturer was like WHERE IS THE COLOUR (you what? You can put COLOUR on a CV?), and why have you used Word when you have access to InDesign?
Point being, your CV shouldn’t look like a dullsville legal document, it should be professional and yet still represent who you are. And it can be made on any fancy schamancy computer programme (or program?)you have access to.
Take off your date of birth, it’s insignificant, DO NOT attach a photo of yourself, and never go over more than one page. I’m serious about that one, it’s so uneccessary.
Put your name and contact details at the top, write 50 words about you and who you are and why you’re a cracking employee and what you like, then list your relevant employment.
If you’re applying for a marketing role, no-one cares that you spent a summer serving pints in your local village pub. Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
Finish off by reeling off a bit about your education (again, no-one needs to know that you got an A in GCSE history, a B in Art and a C in PE) and list some relevant skills – the computer programs you have knowledge of, whether you’re social media savvy, can use WordPress etc etc etc.
2. COVER LETTER
Or, more likely, the cover email.
If the email address you’re applying for a job to is a name, for example like sophiewood@blahblahblah, make sure you address it to Sophie, and if it’s a standard recruitment email then it’s fine to be a bit more vague with sir/madam.
Again, keep it short, sweet and to the point. Whoever is on the receiving end doesn’t have days to mull over your life story.
‘I’m writing to apply for the position of xxxxx.’ And then a few lines about why you’re bloody awesome. Name some of your career successes, big yourself up, boast a little bit.
You won an award at uni? SHOUT. You got published in a magazine. SHOUT. You helped your company grow a social media following by 100%. SHOUT. You launched something new that benefited your previous work place because blah blah blah. SHOUT.
You are ace.
Let them know you’re looking for a fresh challenge to build on everything you’ve already achieved and learnt. Be full of enthusiasm and excitement.
Whether it’s right or not, I’ve always tried to add a chatty slice of personality at the end of the email. ‘I also think I’d be perfect for the job because I have an insane knowledge of red carpet dresses, absolutely adore composing perfect Instagram shots and have a secret skill for finding Topshop look-a-likes in Primark’. >>> Obvs only relevant if you want a job at a high street fashion mag, lol.
Attach your CV, thank them for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing from them.
3. INTERVIEW APPEARANCE
You want to be comfortable, professional and yet look like you. I have a ‘lucky’ pair of bright pink Kate Spade kitten heels which are incredibly comfy and add a flash of colour to an otherwise smart, monochrome outfit.
Dress like an adult, especially if it’s your first job out of uni or you’re going for a role that you feel *might* be a bit of a leap up. Own it, you successful, clever, strong woman, YOU.
A well-fitting pair of cropped black trousers and a grey roll neck, or a smart black blazer and a knee-length dress in the summer. Team it with a trench coat or grown-up jacket, don’t spoil it with like a parka jacket more suited for a country walk and all-you-can-eat carvery.
Don’t go INSANE on all the colour – save that for the accessories. Keep it classic and profesh.
Make-up wise, play it cool too. Don’t choose your interview day to experiment with your Urban Decay palette for the first time and don’t wear a new bright lippy that makes you feel anxious because omg is it on my chin and is everyone laughing at me?
Be you, but be the polished version of you that your mum would want to show off to all her yoga mates.
4. ACTUAL INTERVIEW
I’m gonna leap right ahead here and say the most important thing above all else is eye contact. I used to get hideously told off by my dad and step mum for my eye contact skills during parents evening at school and it’s something that I’ve noticed myself struggling with again now I live like a hermit in my Etsy-decked out office cave without real-life human interaction.
Look your interviewer(s) in the eye, look like there is nothing more you want to do than hear their autobiography read aloud and omg such exciting interview questions. Nod like you’re really captivated and hooked on everything they’re saying and try your very best to hide your resting bitch face until your post-interview latte. BABE, YOU A SMILEY, WARM, FRIENDLY BRIDESMAID RIGHT NOW.
It’s always good to spend even 15 minutes doing research on the company or the role – talk about the things you like about the company and where you see it moving forward with the help of your skill set.
And always, ALWAYS have questions lined up at the end – avoiding pay and annual leave and all the things you secretly want to know above all else.
I like to throw in a ‘and what’s your favourite thing about working for the company?’ because BLOOMIN’ HECK after hours and days and a lifetime of interviewing other people, most interviewers love an opportunity to talk about themselves instead.
Ask if there’s opportunity for growth and promotion within the company. And, if you know who’s going to be interviewing you, shock them with some knowledge and research about their time at the company. ‘So you helped develop the blah blah blah after you’d been here for two years. I think that’s something that really stands out against your competitors and I’d love to hear more about it’.
Being clued up and paying honest compliments will legit get you anywhere.
Most of all, be confident and be you. What’s the worst that will happen? You won’t get the job and then oh no, another one will come up and everything will work out in the end. Take the pressure off yourself and you’ll find you come across lots lest nervous and awkward.
5. AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Send an email to your interviewer a few hours later or the next day after your interview and thank them for their time.
Keep it short and sweet and finish off with a sentence that cements the relationship between you that the interview itself would have started.
Something like ‘I checked out the new campaign/article/software that you mentioned and I totally get what you were saying because xxxxx’.
Remind them of who you are, keep yourself fresh in their mind and remember to always come across as interested and enthusiastic, like you’re forever willing to keep learning and improving from everyone around you because for real, that’s an incredible skill to have whether you’re starting from the bottom or becoming a manager.
GO GET EM TIGER.