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Land your ideal job, one small step at a time

When faced with the realism of the current recruitment market conditions, it is tempting to hide your head under the covers and pray for divine intervention. With graduate unemployment levels on a par with school leavers, it makes grim reading for those taking their first step onto the creative career ladder, but those who succeed, do so despite the challenges.

Following the TeamGB Olympic performance, something that has stuck with me and many a blogger/tweeter/social commentator is David Brailsford’s secret to success, the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’, how small improvements in a number of different aspects of what we do can have a huge impact to the overall performance. This relies heavily on people’s willingness to change, to critique and take direction alongside their individual ambition.

Fundamentally David brought it back to the basics. It was small changes to each core activity that gave the team the winning edge.

With this in mind, there are some small changes that can be made to your basic application and interview process that will set you apart.

The Top 10

1. Plan

Only fishermen succeed by casting their net wide. Know your strengths, identify your passion, give yourself the edge, target the right companies – your passion will shine through.

2. Their social media

Understand the tone, ethos, history, direction of the business and the person by checking out their website, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

3. Your social media

Blog, post and tweet. Those who are serious about their chosen path get online.

4. Cover letter

Read the job description, highlight your most relevant work and experience in the first few lines, keep it succinct and relevant.

5. CV/Résumé

Don’t underestimate the importance of your CV. Whilst content is key, the layout, spelling, punctuation and grammar highlights your attention to detail and ability to present.

6. Portfolio

Online and offline, this is a window to how seriously you take your craft.

7. Preparation

Practice presenting your folio, understand not just what you did but why you did it.

8. Interview

Back to basics. Research. Turn up on time. Reflect the dress code. Read their press. Ask questions.

9. Breathe

Keep in mind that the person interviewing you wants you to succeed also, they want to find the hidden gem, the person that will enable their business to move forward.

10. Present yourself

Businesses only succeed if they meet a client’s expectations. Think always, did we succeed in this brief? Did it increase revenue, uptake, etc. Be ready to highlight success stories and justify decisions.

There is much more, but if you can adopt one new practice within the top 10, however small, you are taking small strides to achieving your goal. Imagine what impact it would have if you adopted all the small changes…!

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