5 ways to improve your chances of getting an interview

5 Ways to Improve your Chances of Getting Interviews

 6th Jun 2016

5 Ways to Improve your Chances of Getting Interviews

Companies interviewing candidates are looking for people that stand out from the crowd, not just by their skills and experience, but also how they conduct themselves through the job search and interview process. It’s the small things that count and sometimes it’s the obvious that’s overlooked. Here are five simple ways to improve your chances of getting interviews


1.       Make sure your CV is well formatted

Make it easy to read. On average you have about 20 seconds to capture their attention. If you don’t hook them within that time they’re unlikely to read any further. Showcase your achievements, skills, personality and ambitions in the beginning of your CV so that at a glance companies can see your strengths.

A good format is to have a strong personal statement, followed by three key achievements and then three key skills. Keep sentences short and to the point, avoiding the use of flowery language. Write it in a way that demonstrates the benefit to the company rather than have it read “I can…. I did….. I am…….” Companies aren’t really interested in how wonderful you are unless it reflects in terms of what you can do for them.

Be really clear on your skills and experience. If applying for a specific position, highlight skills that align with what the company is looking for in a candidate, but remember to be honest. Your CV will quickly land in the junk pile if you’re found to be guilty of embellishment.


2.       Give companies examples of your 3 greatest business achievements

This is an opportunity to really show companies how hiring you will benefit them. Companies are always asking the question: What’s in it for us? Choose achievements that are significant, either due to the complexity of the tasks involved, or because of the amount of revenue you generated or money you saved the company. This will make you stand out against other candidates.

For example a key achievement would be: Successfully managed a social media marketing campaign that achieved 5000 new followers and increased sales revenue by X amount. Or: Implemented X system that reduced operational time by X hours and saved X amount in operational costs over a period of 2 years.


3.       Make sure you give MONTHS and years of employment

It may seem like an unimportant detail, but you don’t want your CV to raise questions before you have an opportunity to answer them. If you are vague, it sends up a red flag and companies will wonder what you are hiding by not giving detailed information. You never want to create an element of doubt.

Statistics show that as many as 70% of people lie on their CV’s. Rather be honest, even if you do have period where you weren’t working. People understand if you were retrenched, had a child and gave up working for a while, or took a sabbatical to travel or take time out for yourself.


4.       Write a covering letter explaining what attracts you to the company and role

Take the time to research the position and the company. This shows that you have chosen to apply based on what you’ve learned about them, rather than just blindly clicking on the APPLY button online. A covering letter is an opportunity to sell yourself and show why the company should choose you. Give them a good reason.

Tell them why you are interested in the company and why you would do well in the position. Remember the “I” rule. Write it in terms of benefits to the company rather than it being about you. Where applicable, if your attention was caught by the company vision, for example, explain why and how it aligns with your own personal goals and ambitions. To stand out from all the other CV’s you want to show them that it’s about more than just getting another job to pay the bills.  


5.       Follow up your application within 36 hours by phone

Most people are so nervous of getting rejected that they never follow up after submitting an application. It might take some courage, but when you make the effort to follow up, it shows the hirer that you are serious about the role. It is also an opportunity for you to start building rapport with your potential interviewer.

Statistics show that candidates who follow up are 50% more likely to get a positive result. It could be something as small as shifting your CV to the top of the pile. The point is, when you do something that the majority of your competitors aren’t doing, then you are far more likely to succeed. Making that phone call will make you far more memorable to the person sifting through the applications and can give you more confidence when you do get that interview. 



70% - I feel the odd one out! Interested on thoughts on how a contractors CV should compare to that of someone looking for a permanent position. An example is your comment on gaps in employment. As a contractor I earn more than enough to take long breaks when i want, and frequently take the entire summer off. My CV reflects this as its not in chronological employment history order but merely project/skills focused. As for followup, I usually do it there and then within minutes of submitting or I ring first and ask some questions and if sounds good then send the CV.
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2016 17:14 by Phil Spilsbury
Excellent advice, about the follow-up. It's something that I am sure you should do but automatically think too many people do it and therefore everybody is contacting the company or recruiter, thinking they may get irritated by the constant enquiries. Great feedback on this!
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2016 13:35 by Pamela Terry

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