get the job you want: some tips and tricks

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After five months of job hunting in Edinburgh, I finally I have a job I like! I was recently hired to serve as the Promotions Coordinator for the Edinburgh University Student Association Course Reviewer, an online facility that allows student to assess and share their course experiences with other students (make sure to submit a review if you’re a student at Edinburgh!). Unfortunately, the position only lasts for about five weeks. However, considering the state of the economy, especially in Edinburgh, I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to gain new skills and experiences while promoting an important resource.

I have learned a lot about job hunting the past few months. I am by no means an expert, but I’d like to share share a few of things I’ve learned and actually done to help me get jobs. You may have already heard of them, but it doesn’t hurt to receive a refresher:

Google yourself. Search for your name on google before you start applying for jobs and make sure that everything associated with your name is something your prospective employer wouldn’t mind seeing. In other words, make sure to take off anything that might be embarrassing or offensive. Even if your facebook or myspace profile is set to private, just assume your potential employer will see it.

Practice makes perfect. A great way to prepare for an interview is by doing a mock interview. If you are a student or a recent alumnus of the University of Edinburgh, you can schedule a mock interview at the Careers Service. Also, try your friends and family. Or, if you’re short on mock interviewers, you can always do it in front of a mirror or a few stuffed animals. : ) Just prepare a list of potential questions, then think of the best examples and ways to answer them.

Go the extra mile. Constantly search for ways to make your application or interview stand out. For the Course Reviewer promotions interview, I created a promotions plan even though the Student Association didn’t require applicants to present one. I created a quick powerpoint of my promotion ideas, printed the slides, and made enough copies for all the interview panelists. The powerpoint only took about 20 minutes to make and helped me get the job.

Ask questions. Always ask questions at the end of the interview; this demonstrates you have done your homework and are truly interested in working for the company. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions before the interview. For example, if you want to know what format your interview will take, send the main contact person an email.

All the little things count. Always check grammar and spelling, and make sure your application is easy to find and read. For example, when you email your resume and cover letter to your potential employer, include your name in the titles (e.g. Melissa Andrada Cover Letter). That way your potential employer can easily find your documents when they download them onto their computers.

Say thank you. After your interview, send a thank you email or card to the person or people who interviewed you. If you have time, try to do both. Email will immediately let them you’re still interested, but a hand-written card will show that you really want the job.

Photo by Flickr user Falling Sky

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