Job application

How to sell your skills for a job application and prepare for an interview


“Before a candidate can sell their skills, they have to know what they are,” said Tammy Harman, specialist career coach at Evenbreak, a job search site accessible to people with disabilities.

According to Evenbreak, to identify your strengths, start by asking yourself three questions:

  • What skills do I have?
  • How will an employer assess them?
  • How can I prove that I have them?

“Sit down and make a list of all the jobs you did and all the activities you did there. Cut it down further and reflect on the skills you used, ”Harman said. This will help you discover the transferable attributes.

You can also identify your strengths by asking for feedback or taking a skills quiz.

“Skills aren’t just about the workplace, they can come from any aspect of your life. Harman added, such as “soft” skills like dealing with people in a professional setting.

The experience can range from paid employment, work or part-time experience, to volunteer activities or hobbies like coaching a sports team.

You may have learned skills through a disability. You might have examples of ways around obstacles that are creative or succeed despite obstacles that show your determination.

Working with a career coach or a trusted friend can help you gain confidence if you’ve been through a tough time or been having a tough time with an employer.

What’s the best way to market my skills?

Let’s talk about CVs and cover letters. A good CV is readable, structured and adapted to the sector and the job for which you are applying.

“It’s important to include powerful words that showcase your most valuable skills and demonstrate what you’ve accomplished,” said Carol Hobbs, Senior Branch Manager at Adecco UK, a recruiting company.

A tip for a readable CV? Action verbs. “Rather than asserting that you have strong communication skills, use verbs like ‘written’, ‘published’, ‘edited’ or ‘influenced’, and rather than writing that you have always achieved your target goals, try “achieved,” “achieved,” said Karen Young, director of recruiting firm Hays.

The cover letter is an opportunity to tell a story about your motivations and your suitability for the job.

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“Your cover letter is a great way to showcase your soft skills, which you can rely on more if you’re invited for an interview,” Hobbs said.

She added, “For all technical accomplishments, be sure to include how your soft skills have helped you. For example, if you introduced a new process to your old business, explain how communication and resilience were key to making it successful.

CV and cover letter aren’t the only ways to market your skills. The professional social networking site LinkedIn “allows you to showcase your experience and accomplishments, join relevant groups, and share and post your ideas,” Young said.

How can I stay on top of the job search?

You’ll likely be applying for multiple jobs simultaneously, so it’s important to keep track.

“Set up alerts to notify you of suitable jobs to apply for and keep a log of all the applications you have completed,” Hobbs said. “This will help you decide on the most appropriate time to follow up with the companies that interest you and will also give you clear visibility into your overall job search. “

It is worth keeping an eye out for job postings like Indeed, Totaljobs or The Big Issue’s own job platform.

“Collect all the jobs that interest you, then prioritize your applications based on the ones that interest you most,” Young said. Or consider working with a recruiter, “who will help you by understanding what to expect from your next job”.

How to prepare for a job interview?

Ok, so you’ve been offered an interview. And now?

First, search for the company online. This will help you feel ready to answer questions about why you want to join their team.

Plan ahead. If you are having an in-person interview, you may want to test the trip the day before to be sure of the schedules. If you need disability adjustments, it is important to request them in advance. If your interview is from a distance, make sure your camera and microphone are working.

“Know your work and your life inside out,” Harman said. Think of a few success stories from your experience that are not to be missed.

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Harman said it can be helpful to have someone give you a mock job interview. There are resources on questions you might be asked. “The questions may not match exactly, but it will help you express yourself well,” he said.

Get a good night’s sleep ahead of time to keep your brain working at peak performance.

“When you get to the interview, if you can, sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and shoulders back, as this opens up the chest and makes it easier to breathe,” Harman said.

He added, “If you breathe more clearly, your brain will work better, and you won’t stumble or rush over your answers either. “

Remember, make a good impression, smile and be friendly. They may be your future colleagues.

“Believe in yourself because that’s only half the challenge,” Harman added. “It’s easier to convince someone else that you can do it if you know you can do it. “

What’s the best way to follow up after an interview?

A good idea is to send employers a note thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest.

“If you’ve interviewed an employer directly, the best practice is to send them a follow-up email thanking them for their time, either the day or the day after your interview. Take this opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position, ”said Young.

She added, “You might even explain that after meeting them and learning more about the opportunity, you are even more excited than before and how excited you are to hear from them.”

After two weeks, you can send another follow-up email, Hobbs said, but it’s important to allow interviewers enough time and space during the decision-making process.

I got the offer! Now how do I negotiate a salary offer?

Many employers will have a salary range when hiring for new positions, so it’s always worth emphasizing your skills if you feel you deserve a higher salary.

“Before embarking on the interview process, familiarize yourself with the current salaries for the position you are applying for. Once you’re ready, be ready to openly and professionally discuss what you think is worthwhile, ”Young said. “You can justify this with examples of your expertise and past success in roles, such as meeting sales goals, growing and managing budgets. “

Don’t make your salary pitch too early, she added. Wait until you know you’re up for the role.

“It’s really important here to have examples of your accomplishments and how they have benefited the business,” Hobbs said. “You are more likely to have your salary request granted if you can show that the work you have done has helped the organization in some way. “

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