Earning your college degree opens doors to a number of career choices, but it takes surprising effort to step through those doors. Those with masters degrees may have an easier path. No one expects to be handed a job, but many don’t expect challenging interview questions and online assessments either. Graduates must carefully prepare for their job search. They must know who they are, what they want and the proper steps to succeed. The following tips will help you maximise your potential for landing your dream job.

Get your CV together

Know who you are and be expected to share that information with potential employers. This is where the curriculum vitae (CV) is important. Employers request a CV from every applicant, which means they’ve seen one from every person who’s received an interview. Your CV must stand out to them.

There are a number of templates from which you can work, but as that’s the route many will take, it is worth the extra time and effort to start from scratch. Begin with the job description for each job you are applying. What important points and key terms stand out to you? These are items you’ll want to include in your CV. Along with your personal details and references, you will list your educational background, your work experience and any relevant skills that aren’t work-related. With each of these sections, include achievements and responsibilities wording them specifically to fit with the information gleaned from the job description.

Be sure to keep it between two and three pages; use reverse chronological order as well as action verbs when describing your education and work history; and search for CV examples to help you perfect your formatting. With an all-inclusive, custom curriculum vitae, you’re ready to prepare for your interview.

More on CVs at Why Your CV is Boring and Ineffective.

Get your applicant collateral together

Your CV already holds a wealth of knowledge, but you will be asked to expand on the information you provide. Write out a list of examples describing times you’ve led a team of others, solved a problem or handled unexpected obstacles. Add to that list any instances you are particularly proud of explaining what happened, how you were involved and the outcome. Now memorize this list, and you will be equipped to answer any of the questions that typically catch interviewees off guard.

Get suited and booted

Knowing what to wear is equally as important as knowing what to say. Dress as though you already have the job. Is a suit required, or is it a business casual environment? Never wear denim trousers or t-shirts. In fact, if it’s a casual workplace that has no dress code, the interviewee should still dress professionally. There is only one time this rule can be disobeyed: if the interviewer specifically tells you to dress a certain way, listen to them.

More on how to dress at Professionalism in the Workplace: Myth, Mystery or Must?

Get in the right frame of mind

Your choice of clothing won’t matter if you do not have the right attitude. Being negative, arrogant or outwardly terrified will be detrimental to your job search. Instead, keep it simple: be friendly and be confident. Remembering you manners, using eye contact, sitting up straight and speaking clearly and thoughtfully will guarantee you your best possible interview.

Get ready for interviewing

Many employers are using pre-screening online assessments to filter through applications even quicker. These tests examine your skills and ethics, and while answering honestly is the easiest way to pass, many applicants find them to be intimidating. The fact is, by following the tips above; you’re already prepared for the test. You need to know the company, and you need to know yourself. By completing a custom CV preparing for your interview, you’ve already got these answers.

Familiarize yourself with additional information about the company that could be quiz-worthy, read each question carefully and take your time answering. Finally, take practice tests beforehand. Online assessments are available from a number of sites for your benefit. Practice tests will familiarise you with the structure as well as providing sample questions.

More on interviews at 17 Ways to Interview Like a Pro.

Get ready for success!

Writing a custom curriculum vitae, preparing for your interview, dressing the part and practicing sample pre-screening tests will guarantee you a successful interview and a higher probability of landing the job. Earning the degree was your first step. Now making it count is your second.

More on this topic at How To Apply for Your First Graduate Job.

About Jörgen Sundberg

CEO of Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.

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