Write yourself to the job interview

Career Adviser and owner of intojob.dk, Anne Marie Valentin, provides tips on how to approach job advertisements in order to enhance your chances of getting invited to the job interview.

05 February 2018

When looking for a job, it is important to be aware that a job advertisement is a wish list describing the ideal candidate. But the ideal candidate who can live up to all the wishes of the job advertisement is hard to find. And maybe the ideal candidate does not even exist.

Therefore, it might as well be you who gets the job, even if you can't meet all the requirements. You should therefore be aware not to discard yourself in advance if you do not meet all the requirements listed.

Job searching is storytelling

There are many ways to describe your experiences and wishes for a future workplace. It is your job as a job seeker to capture the interest of the recipient and look into what the company you wish to work at emphasizes.

In job searching, we talk about "skill" and "will". Your "skills" are your professional and personal skills, described clearly in your CV.

Your application must show your "will", e.g. how strong your will and motivation is to get the job.

Materials for your job search

To be considered for the dream job, you must prepare the following material:

  • A CV
  • An application

Your CV and application must be adjusted every time you search for a new job, in order for it to match a particular job and company’s requirements.

Your CV is your “declaration of goods” that tells your job history and educational background. It must be interesting, clear and readable. Please note that your CV is the material that the employer reads first.

Your application is your sales letter. The main purpose of the application is to explain your motivation and why you are the right candidate. In other words, the application is about the future.

Honesty in job search

Your task is to sell yourself the best way possible in order for you to get invited to a job interview. Therefore, you have to promote yourself without lying in your sales work.

In job advertisements there are typically listed a number of specific tasks or competencies that the company requests, for example, Excel experience. It can be a challenge to describe your level of experience without overselling - or underselling yourself.

Many candidates who do not have much experience with Excel will typically write that they have "little experience" or "not so much experience" with Excel. However, it is important that you do not undersell yourself. If you have some experience with Excel, write that you have "Excel experience". What you might consider as "little experience” may be termed "experience" or "much experience" by others. It depends on what and who you compare yourself to. Compared to super users, we are all "little experienced". Therefore, avoid scaling your own experience. Often, the most important factor is that you want to get better at Excel and have the courage to learn something new.

Remember that no employer expects you to know everything in advance, though it is often expected that as a new employee, you have the desire to learn.

Good advice for your job search

Here are some tips for you, before you apply for a specific job:

  • Make sure your application matches the job advertisement
  • Check the company's website before you start writing
  • Check out the industry and industry trends. There might be trends and development on the way that you can contribute positively to;
  • Investigate everything you can about the company and the job. Perhaps you know some of the employees, that you could get some relevant information from
  • If the job advertisement has noted a contact person, you can check out the person on LinkedIn and on the web in general. It is always good to know who you are writing to. Even though you might apply for a position with a large company, your application and CV will always be evaluated by someone;
  • Call and ask about the job before you apply. There is always something relevant to ask about.

The purpose of calling is not necessarily for them to remember you – it is great if they do. The purpose is that you get closer to the job and will be able to refer to the conversation in your application but it is also to clarify any doubts you may have regarding your candidacy. Maybe you have doubts about your profile matching the job or your skillset, though you really want the job. Instead of spending hours writing a CV and an application you can clarify it by calling. But remember to call the company before writing the application.

If you know that you are qualified and really want the job, you can, for example, call and ask about the priority in the work assignments or you can ask what they prioritise when choosing the right candidate. It will emphasize your interest in the job as well as make you stronger in a job interview situation.

These are just examples of what you can ask. The most important thing is that YOU know what THEY prioritise. That way you have a better chance of writing an application that can get you invited to a job interview.

Good luck with the job search!

Anne Marie Valentin
Career advisor and owner of intojob.dk

PS. If you want more advice from Anne Marie, you can sign up for her free e-guide (only in Danish) “Scor drømmejobbet” at www.intojob.dk