When it comes to gaining the best industry insights into employment opportunities, interview tips as well as recruitment processes, VERTO are specialists at helping you get that edge over the competition. VERTO is an award winning, not-for-profit organisation who assist businesses and individuals with apprenticeships, employment as well as training. They are dedicated to positively impacting the lives of individuals and communities, providing exemplary services for over 35 years within NSW, ACT and Victoria.
This week we were delighted to be joined by Natalie Jenkins, Targeted Services and SCP Manager at VERTO who took us through how to prepare an application, the interview process as well as presenting yourself at interview stage.
Natalie stressed the importance of having a good cover letter so that you can create a really strong, positive first impression with your potential employer. Undertaking some research into the company so that you understand their services, vision and attitudes are key to ensuring that they align to yours and that this can be reflected in your application. She also noted that it is really important that the letter is short, sharp and targeted so that who ever is reading it will be encouraged to read further.
She then went on to talk about the importance of addressing the position criteria with enough detail to confirm that you can deliver on each of these requirements, and how you have demonstrated in the past the skills, knowledge and experience in delivering these requirements.
Natalie also recommended the following:
- Include contact details – ensure they’re at the top of the page and include name, address, phone number, mobile number and email
- Include a resume that is easy to read and packed with facts that employers will want to know in relation to the job you’re going for
- Keep the layout simple, ensuring the font is readable (11pt), using a bold font for heading and ensure that consistency is used throughout
- Don’t feel like you have to include your birth date unless you feel it would be of advantage to you.
No one loves the pressure of an interview, but it is a fantastic opportunity to meet your employer face to face so that each of you can gauge whether it’s the right position for you. In Natalie’s experience, she encourages interviewees to review the Company’s vision, mission and goals prior to the interview and to deeply think about how these match with your own. In the interview, it means that you care about the position you are going for in researching, but have personalised it through providing an example of how you are drawn to the job and the company itself. She also stresses that it’s important that you display a real passion for the job – tell them how the role is a great fit for you and why you love the company.
Natalie also addressed handling questions whereby you are requested to give an example. This is where preparation will help you – go through the key selection criteria again and ensure you have examples under your belt for the interview. Ensure you go into enough detail to answer the question satisfactorily:
- Can you tell me a little about yourself? Give a concise, compelling statement that shows you’re the right fit for the job? Think about 2-3 accomplishments and experiences and how that prior experience has positioned you perfectly for the role you are going for.
- How did you hear about the position? Stand out and show your passion for the company when they ask this! Feel free to name drop if you heard about the position through a friend or professional contact, why you were excited about it. If you heard about it through an event or article, share this bur reaffirm your interest in gaining the role.
- Why should we hire you? Be accurate and targeted in your response through sharing your true strengths. If the position calls for people skills, talk about your skills and strengths in this area, and how you’ve demonstrated it at your previous workplaces.
- Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced and how you dealt with it? Utilise the STAR method (https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-the-star-interview-response-technique-2061629) to answer how you came to a resolution or compromise
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Be honest and specific about your future goals, ensure your immediate goal of getting the position is combined in your answer.
- Why are you leaving your current job? Frame things in a positive light in answering this one – you’re eager to take on new opportunities, how this role is a better fit for you than your former or current position. If you were let go, simply state this, it’s perfectly fine.
- Do you have any questions for us? This is the perfect opportunity to ensure this role is right for you. What are their future strategies for growth? What progression opportunities can they provide in the future? When are they aiming to make a decision on the successful candidate?
Another vital ingredient of a good interview is good personal presentation. Natalie confirmed how you present at an interview can often tell the employer a lot about you. Even if the position is casual in nature, she recommended opting for professional look/attire at the interview. In trades, opting for neat and appropriate dress is probably best!
Preparing a stellar resume is a little daunting, but it’s the perfect way to summarise your strengths up front with your prospective employer. Key strengths are a quick snapshot of the unique set of skills, abilities and qualities you can offer. As a guide, Natalie recommended only 4-6 dot points within your Career Profile section. She also noted that it is good to be specific about your skills in this area.
The next resume area Natalie tackled was the Career Objective. She pointed out that this area needed to outline your future aspirations, but be balanced in nature so your employer can see what you bring to the role you’ve applied for.
In addition, Natalie stated that your resume was the one tool that you could outline your talents, skills and character strengths:
- Talents – the qualities you are born with and improved upon through purposeful actions
- Skills – learnt abilities developed over time in order to carry out certain activities
- Character strengths – virtues you develop and use by choice (kindness, fairness, curiosity, honesty, etc).
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