Welcome to Day 3 of 30 Days of Q&A. Today I am going to be answering the question that I have got around landing a job interview.

How do I actually land that job interview? 

Before I jump in, I just want to introduce myself for those of you that don’t know me. My name is Janine Esbrand and I am the founder of LightBOX Coaching where I help women to build a career that they love whilst raising a family.

If you haven’t already watched Day 1 and 2, I would suggest that you go and check out those videos – but today we are going to talk about how to land that interview.

When you are going through a job search process, you really want to make sure you are setting everything out in terms of your CV and cover letter in a way that is going to put you in the best light. But how do you do that?

The number one thing that you need to do in order for you to stand out is to realise that it is NOT about you.

Even though you are applying for the job, even though you want to be selling your skills, you want to be demonstrating how you are suitable – but the organisation is what you really need to be thinking about and what they are looking for and what their goals are. These are what you really need to focus on

The reason why you need to do that is because the person who is reviewing your CV or cover letter is seeing whether you are the person to help solve their problem. If they are hiring, that means that either somebody has left the company and they are replacing them or that they are expanding their team.

As they are reading through your CV and cover letter, in the back of their minds, they are thinking ‘is this person going to build to help us to achieve our business goals?‘. When you are preparing your CV and cover letter, you need to make sure that you are doing it in a way that makes it easy for them to say yes to that question.

You don’t want to make it all about you when you are putting it together. You don’t want it to just seem as though you are listing out all of your accomplishments. Because that doesn’t make it easy for them to know how you are the right person for them. What you want to be doing is looking at the job specification and everything that they have listed in there and thinking about:

  • why they have it written in there;
  • what is it that they really are looking for;
  • what do they want in a candidate.

Then, looking at your experience and thinking about all that you have to offer, you want to be detailing these in your CV and cover letter that are going to speak to the things that they are looking for. You can do this line by line before you even start typing anything in terms of your CV and cover letter.

Just go through the job spec and line by line think about what I could use in terms of my experience to demonstrate that I have what they are looking for. Do that first. Spend some time thinking about examples, previous experiences and tangible results. It is one thing to say, “Okay, I am good at project management,” and it is another thing to say, “I worked in a project where we were able to achieve xyz result. We were able to reduce loses or you were able to achieve a certain amount of profit.” You want to be able to put in tangible results. You are going to show what you have done, and you want to show how that has made a difference to the company. Because you want the person reading it to say, “Oh, wow! They have saved them money, so they could do it for me. They managed this year’s project, so they could do it for me.”

Make your CV less of the lists and more of this is why I did it and this is the result that I got.

That is going to make a massive difference as to how you stand out. Because the reality is whoever is looking at your CV is not going to be looking at it for long. They are going to scan through it. They are going to spend maybe five to ten seconds looking at it quickly to see whether or not it is worth their time to dig deeper.

If you are not grabbing their attention straightway, you are not going to be the candidate that they are calling for interview.

You want to make sure that you are grabbing their attention and the way you are going the grab their attention is by pinpointing and highlighting those things that they are looking for. You get those clues from the job specification.

It is a different approach if you are just used to sitting down and writing your CV. Take this approach because it is going to mean the time and effort that you are spending is going to yield much better results. This is part of the reason why you will hear people say, “Okay, am I supposed to do a different CV and cover letter for every job that I am applying for?

Well, yes, you are in a sense that you might be applying for a group of jobs that are very similar. So, you might only need to tweak your document here and there. But ultimately, you are looking at every job that you are applying for and you are making sure you are demonstrating through your CV and cover letter how you meet what they are looking for and how you can be the person whose going to add value to their organisation and whose going to be able to go in and get it done really quickly, get it down running and be an asset to their team. Because ultimately, they want to hire somebody who is going to fit in all their team while going to get the work done.

So, those are my tips for you in terms of landing an interview.

You want to be that person showing them upfront in your CV and cover letter that you have the skills that they are looking for and get the clues around that from the job spec.

If you want to go step further, you can do more research around the company. Social media makes it really easy now for you to find out information that would not otherwise be available like so in the company website.

Spend some time to look on social media. If you are applying for a company, you can check out their Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, and just see the types of things that they are posting. Because those can be good indicators to maybe some of their upcoming projects that they are working on or maybe the direction the company is going in.

If you can find some areas where you have previous experience, then you want to highlight that in your CV and cover letter because that is an area of focus for the company. That is kind of bonus. That is the way you can dig deeper and spend more time. I would absolutely advise you to do that. It is not hard to do but it could be a massive difference between you and another candidate if you have spent the time to do that additional research.

Do come and join me in my private Facebook group, Careers Beyond Motherhood community, where we can continue this conversation. If you have any questions about this topic, you can connect with some other like-minded awesome Mums who are committed to growing and building their careers beyond motherhood.

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