Selling yourself in that job interview

For many job applicants, making a good impression and selling your self during a job interview is an overwhelming (and scary) experience; however, securing a great new job starts well before the interview day.

Howard Malyon, IT manager with Grace Removals Group, said if he wanted a position that stretched his technical management experience and was a significant step up the ladder, he would first look for a mentor.

Malyon believes he would improve his chances of attaining his 'dream' job if he had someone he could approach who understood the requirements of the position he was applying for, or had been in a similar position.

"[They would be able to] provide me with guidance on how to present myself at interviews, practice interview techniques and prepare a resume suitable to the position applied for."

Jonathon Morse, head of IT recruitment with TMP Worldwide, agrees that mentoring is a great experience, based on personal involvement.

He recommends taking the initiative and mentoring someone new within your department as a good way of gaining experience in managing people and improving people skills.

"Mentoring is good, because if you are trying to move into a management position, then your protege would be a good referee for your people and management skills."

Morse also recommends showing interest and becoming involved in the business management of your IT department or organisation as a way of climbing the corporate ladder.

"Say to the person that you report to that you are interested in learning more. Get involved in the planning process; ask if you can 'shadow' your boss. Ask to attend meetings."

Being involved in the running of your department in this way is a good way of demonstrating to a potential employer that you're keen and capable in meeting the challenges a new employer would expect you to deal with in a higher position.

Morse said experience of this sort is vital. "It is important to keep in mind that the interviewer may … want someone that has 15 years experience and may have a wishlist of 10 points. But it is also important to remember that if a candidate can put a tick in every box, then they are not going to be challenged in the job."

"However, if you can tick seven, eight or nine boxes, it is more likely you would remain excited in the job. This is a good way to sell yourself against someone who has more experience than you."

Malyon said it is also important to read up on the sort of challenges the employer would expect you to know about. "Reading material would include periodical articles and books on related subjects."

Morse added that research about the company and its goals for the short to medium term was imperative.

He said having an understanding of what projects the company is undertaking in the future, and being able to draw on your own experience and achievements, to show that you would add value to the projects is the best way to make you "1 or 2 per cent better than [other applicants].

"The single most important thing to consider and keep in mind is that the person interviewing you wants to have someone on board that will bring some sort of skill or value to the organisation. They are not interested in what school you went to."

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