26 career tips to help you land your dream job

Ready to start looking for a new job after a career break? Or desperate to escape the role you’re in and find work you’re truly passionate about?

To help you get your job hunt started, Emma Cleary from Flexibility Matters shares 26 valuable career tips – from writing your CV, to uncovering your skills and talents and acing your job interviews.

We hope you find them helpful.

Six CV tips

Standing out with a dazzling CV is crucial to landing that all important interview, so here are some of our top tips for getting it just right:

  1. Personalised gets picked – tailor your CV content to individual roles. Take the job requirements and match them to your skills and achievements from your most recent roles.
  2. Catch the eye – make sure your CV format fits the position you are going for. If it’s a creative role, for example, then how it looks is important. If it’s an editorial role – the written word is key
  3. Highlight transferable skills – this is especially important if you are making a career change. Highlight in the first page your relevant skills and experience drawn from your entire career history and make the connections explicit, so employers recognise them as transferable to the role.
  4. Nail it with the opening statement – think about the recruiter and what they would need to know immediately. A succinct opening statement, tailored to the specific role, could make all the difference, especially when CVs are scanned.
  5. Keep it short – the maximum length for a CV is two pages, so focus on making relevant your two most recent roles and pulling out transferable skills from previous roles into an overall competencies section.
  6. Edit and edit again – make sure there are no typos in your CV. As well as self-editing, get a friend to check through it too. Nothing screams sloppy worker than a spelling mistake on a CV.

Six tips to uncover your skills and talents

Understanding your skills and identifying your unique talents can be a key step in moving towards a career that agrees with your lifestyle. Here are some top tips to uncovering them:

  1. Do a hard skills audit – identify and make a list of your hard skills – what you have been trained in or learnt and then developed. Hard skills examples are; qualifications, programming languages, software competency, technical writing etc…
  2. Do a soft skills audit – make a list of your personal skills, that can sometimes be harder to quantify, but are crucial to how you will interact with your colleagues and clients. These could be; negotiating, project managing or people management.
  3. Identify your talents – we can often be unsure of what these are, but generally they are what we are simply naturally good at – things that you just do and don’t think about. Make a list – thinking back on things you did that left you energised or as a child you just simply loved.
  4. The sweet spot – this is whereyour skills, talents and what you love doing cross over. Identifying this spot and applying it to a job type could be a way to uncovering your bliss.
  5. Close the skills gaps – identify the skills that you don’t havethat separate you from those who are already working in the roles you are interested in. Close them by acquiring the relevant knowledge, experience and any qualifications you need.
  6. Transferable skills – highlight within your CV and applications those hard and soft skills that are also transferable – allowing you to match a wider range of roles and maybe some that you may not have considered before.

Seven tips for your cover letters

You could have the best CV in history but if it doesn’t get read it’s useless. Here’s how to compile a best in class cover letter that means your CV ends up in the ‘in-tray’ not the bin:

  1. Personalisation wins – find out the name of the person you are writing to, if possible, and think about what problem they might want to solve (their pain points). By presenting yourself, while reflecting on the business needs, you just may come across as their answer.
  2. Do your research – demonstrate that you are up to date and have done your homework on the company, perhaps citing challenges, impending regulations and recent trends in the sector relevant to the position.
  3. Write a dazzling opening paragraph – the perfect opening paragraph should contain who you are and why you are so excited to be applying for the role. It’s your opportunity to impress them with your personality and how much you know about their work.
  4. Tick-off the must-haves – follow the introduction by highlighting what you understand the role to be and how you match the job description must-haves.
  5. Keep it concise and clear – keep sentences short. Edit and edit again the next day with fresh eyes. Read it aloud and then get a friend to check it.
  6. Finish strong – the closing line is your last chance to underline your interest in the company and how you’d be a great fit for the position. It could be a personalised version of:“I’m excited by the opportunity and look forward to speaking to you about how I can contribute”
  7. Don’t send your CV without one -the cover letter is your chance to write about how committed you are to the role and the company. If its optional in an application or doesn’t ask for one, always provide one anyway.

Seven tips for your job interview

Often, the first rule to nailing an interview is to understand what a successful interview looks like. Here are some of our top tips to keep in mind:

  1. First impressions last – given that employers come to conclusions about a person in the first minute, first impressions are key. Be smart and punctual. Offer a confident hand-shake with lots of eye contact and be genuine.
  2. Do your homework – demonstrate that you have fully researched the company’s    background, current challenges and recent trends within the sector.
  3. Know your CV – your CV will generally structure the process. Knowing it inside out and preparing what your project and competency examples are that match the job spec is fundamental.
  4. Show your social side – building a rapport with the interviewer can be as important as matching the skills criteria and will demonstrate that you are pleasant to work with. It’s not just about smiling. Use your body language to display interest – nod in agreement, maintain eye contact and no slouching.
  5. Identify your expectations – knowing what you expect of the role and respectfully seeking the answers to ensure the company is a good fit for you too is important and demonstrates confidence.
  6. Be ready to ask questions – it’s important to have a few questions in mind to ask at the end of the interview. They can be about the company, the role, or the team. They will demonstrate your assertiveness and enthusiasm in being the right fit.
  7. A good follow up – it’s a nice touch and not something often remembered to follow up with a thank you email letting them know you are looking forward to hearing from them.

Need help to find a new job?

Check out these online courses from Talented Ladies Club:

Flexibility Matters helps candidates find flexible work in future-minded companies. They match the right person to the right job, and devise a collaborative, flexible working strategy that suits everyone.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechch