So, you’re thinking about making a move and taking on a new challenge in your career. Exciting times! (But possibly quite nerve-racking too.)
The search for your next position will take courage, tenacity… and a willingness to be completely honest with yourself.
Yep! The unconventional step in job applications that works wonders is actually honesty. Why not give it a try with the following questions?
Do I want to leave my job… or am I just sick of my boss?
You may have heard the saying, ‘people join an organisation and leave a boss’.
But before you decide to leave your current role based on a bad relationship with your boss, it’s worth asking – would you like to continue in your existing role if it wasn’t for your boss?
If the answer is yes, then before you hand in your resignation letter, consider alternatives such as transferring to a different department or having an honest conversation with your boss about the issues on your mind.
Are you looking for similarities, not just differences in future roles?
All too often job seekers focus on changing what they don’t like about their current role and forget to mirror what they do like.
Identify the aspects of your job that really work for you – and don’t assume these come in every workplace!
Actively seeking out roles that include these positive elements as well as the key criteria you’re looking to change gives you a much greater chance of job satisfaction once you move.
Do your future employer’s values align with your own?
‘Cultural fit’ is a term that’s being thrown around a lot at the moment – but how much does it matter?
Business research from Harvard and Stanford found that employees who shared core values with their colleagues were more successful in their roles – so it’s worth taking the time to do your research and consider whether the position would be a good fit for the long-term.
If something doesn’t sit right, don’t be afraid to ask questions – because job applications are as much about finding the right fit for you as they are for the organisation.
A clash between the values underpinning organisational norms and procedures and workers’ own values is a cause of ‘ethical stress’, as shown in research out of Sweden.
So for a successful placement, go for the roles in companies whose values align with your own: and be prepared to articulate this.
When it comes to your application and interview, understanding how you will fit into the culture of your new workplace will elevate you above other candidates. It shows you’re not just meeting the brief, but are a like-minded team player who’s already on the same page before you begin.
Have you taken the time to customise your application?
Yes, customising your application is time consuming and takes a lot more effort than handing in the same generic resume and cover letter to every role you apply for.
But if you’re serious about wanting to fill that role, it’s well worth the effort – here’s why.
HR staff who process applications often go through and “score” how well candidates have submitted against a set of criteria. Adding up each application’s total score is a useful way for them to maintain objectivity when working out who the frontrunners are to interview.
So for your application to stand up against this process, make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to give you points.
That means really spelling out how you meet the position requirements. Go through the posting meticulously and address each requirement. Use the language of the job description, because many recruiters use software (or even good old Ctrl/Command + F!) is used to quickly screen for matches.
It’s better to be perceived as thorough rather than complacent – and doing this will show a sense of dedication which employers value.
How would your application read to the recruiter?
Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes for each job you apply for.
If you were them, what would stand out as you look through a pile of resumes?
What would catch your eye on an application?
What might put you off?
Stepping into the recruiter’s shoes to practice empathy can help you identify ways to frame your application and interview answers in ways that best please the recruiter.
What do the recruiters actually want to know?
Remember that you’re preparing for a job, not just an interview.
It might sound obvious, but it can be easy to become so wrapped up in pre-interview jitters (very normal!) that you end up more focused on presenting as a good interviewee rather than a desirable employee.
For example, if the position you’re applying for requires strong interpersonal communication, make sure to show off your skills as a team player by asking questions and practicing active listening.
If the position will involve overcoming challenges, think about your previous work experience and how you’ve responded to tricky situations. What do they show about your work ethic?
And remember through the whole process, whether it’s the application, cover letter, or interview, to weave in plenty of key words and phrases from the position description and company values.
Show them how great a fit you’ll be – good luck!
Have these questions been valuable for your preparation? Contact us today to start a conversation about how you can put your best self forward when applying for that exciting next career move.
We’d love to hear from you.