Getting the job YOU deserve

The following blog is made up of the best bits of editorial, articles and blogs that I’ve come across in my 38 years of working life, 30 of which I spent as my own boss at a very successful Creative Agency.

I thank all those that have inspired me to make (and write!) my own observations on these subjects. I now want to switch my focus to helping the next generation find the success that I did, and hopefully avoid a few of the pitfalls I didn’t!

Over the course of my career, I’ve been sent thousands of CVs. Whilst I looked at all of them, the vast majority received the “thanks but no thanks” reply.

However, just occasionally I would open one and think: “WOW. If I don’t interview this person then I’m missing out on a potentially GREAT employee.”

What characterised the CVs which were rejected is simple. Firstly, they looked the same. They said the same things. It’s a template, and it follows a standard formula. Why would I bother interviewing someone who sends me this kind of cover letter or CV? I wouldn’t, and these applications were always rejected.

What characterised the ‘WOW’ CVs? At least two or more of the following:

• The Cover Letter was clearly personalised to me and/or the company.

• It showed a good and sometimes detailed knowledge of the business and its position.

• The Cover Letter showed the personality and humility of the individual. This in itself demonstrates a good attitude, which is the ONE characteristic which I hire on.

• The CV usually demonstrated the standard information that you would expect but also had an ‘X Factor’, either in its presentation or the delivery of information.

Of course, a CV with two or more of these characteristics will only get you to that interview stage, the first rung of getting the job. But this is a vital step.

The Interview

Any honest interviewer would tell you this...

The first impression, which is made within the first thirty seconds or so, will determine the outcome of the interview. If this goes wrong, you’ll both be sat there for the next fifteen minutes wasting each other’s time.

However, if your first impression goes well, then the job is yours to lose. Personally, at this stage, I find that the CV disappears and the ‘real’ talk begins. I need to work out what makes that individual tick. I ask questions to myself including:

• Will they be a good ‘culture’ fit?
• Will they excel in the job that I’m interviewing them for?
• Is their attitude good?
• Can they be taught?

At the close of the interview, it’s time for the table to be turned. You can interview the interviewer, and ask the difficult questions which will serve to demonstrate your initiative. I never wanted ‘automatons’ or those who would just say “yes”. I wanted real people with thoughts of their own.

The SEVEN Golden Rules

• Explain why you want to work for them and how they were chosen by you.
Carefully craft your words, and show honesty and humility
Design your CV appropriately to the job. Be creative if it fits the job. 
Dress appropriately for the industry. 
• Be yourself.
• Prepare some GREAT questions to demonstrate your initiative.
SMILE and don’t be nervous. They invited you to the interview!

Finally, the ‘eighth’ Golden Rule, ensure that your social channels and LinkedIn pages appear as you would want them to should your potential employer look at them. They may well do - I always did!

SelfJonathan Leafe