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Focus your mind – and get the job

By Becky Postlethwaite on 02.12.15 in Your Job Search

When we say focus your mind, we are not going all 'Zen' on you. What we want to do via this post, is get you thinking about your career as well as giving you pointers on interview prep that will help you land your next role. In short, see this as a potted guide to the recruitment process. 

When you've made the decision to start looking for a new job, it is essential that you do focus your mind and think clearly about the way ahead. Take time to ponder what your ideal role looks like - it might be that there are certain aspects of your current job that you love and would like to continue doing. What are you passionate about? It is pointless working in the health sector when all you can think about is fashion. Take a long look at your current role and note down your frustrations. What would you change in an ideal world? 

Furthermore, a look into why you want to leave your current role is prudent. You need to be brutally honest with yourself. Draw up a list of the positives and negatives - very old school - but a proven formula to help order your thoughts. Most importantly, you need to be realistic about your salary expectations and set yourself achievable goals. A massive salary usually comes with long hours and tons of responsibility - not so great if you are a shrinking violet who wants an easy life. 

As part of your post mortem, it is vital that you identify your skills. Consider where your strengths and weaknesses lie and be straight with yourself about what you do well. It could be that your skills are lacking in a certain area - if this is the case, it might be worth investing in some training before you apply for a new job. It is always a good idea to talk to others and ask for their opinion and feedback. Once you have that, you can analyse their response and incorporate it into your list. 

Consider your career to date and where your skills have been tested - you can even draw from your experiences at school. Not only will you be asked for concrete examples of this during an interview, they will help you shape and define your next career move. 

Here at Direct Recruitment, we believe that your CV is the most important document you will ever write. Like any effective marketing communication, it needs to give your audience reasons to want you. We think it is a good idea to concentrate on your achievements and use examples to demonstrate your successes. If you switch between permanent and contract, then the focus should be more on the longer-term roles, so try and reflect that when you are writing. It is a good idea to include where you made the most impact as well as highlighting what you bring to the table that makes you the stand out candidate. 

Preparing for an interview is absolutely vital - so make the effort! You need to find out as much as you can about the company and its position in the marketplace and how it has developed over the past few years. Trade press serves most sectors, so do a search and make use of any info that comes up - there will be plenty. Key is to know their website inside out and consider how your skills and experience fits with the job. Interviewers expect candidates to come prepared, so make sure you have a few questions up your sleeve - but don't talk about salaries, benefits and holidays yet - this will come later. Perhaps ask them about career development and whether they invest in training. You could even ask them what the company's long-term marketing objectives are. 

When you arrive for the interview, remember that first impressions are crucial. Make sure you dress appropriately - smarter is always better. Be on time - nothing screams slacker more than being late for an interview. Be polite to everyone - receptionists are often asked for their opinion, so charm them as much as you would the CEO. However, if you are ill, call in good time and cancel. It is better to reschedule when you know you will perform at your best. 

Once you are in the chair, be confident, smile, and use a firm handshake. If the interviewer enters the room after you, make sure you stand up to greet them. Finally, don't talk over your interviewer, don't swear and for the love of God don't be negative about your current employer, even if you loathe and detest them. 

Here endeth the lesson. Good Luck!