Finding a new job takes more than just talent

Every job spec lists the minimum requirements for the role

Fri, June 20th, 08:15


We have all gone through the list of skills and experience required for a new job and ticked boxes in our heads. After you’ve gone from ‘got that’, to ‘done that’, or ‘used that system before’ you usually arrive at ‘I’m perfect for this job’. This is exactly what a recruiter or hiring manager wants you to think. We want candidates with those characteristics to apply.

When perfect isn’t perfect

However, not every candidate can get the job. There have to be a few left over, even candidates who thought they were perfect for the role. The problem is that having the perfect CV for a role and being the perfect candidate are two different things.

There are many requirements that you can’t list on a job spec. Most of these are the same for every job. Employers want to hire people who are enthusiastic, dedicated and charismatic. They want to hire people they like and people who they think will be successful. You could be that person, but you have to demonstrate it. You can’t expect to walk into a role simply because your experience matches the job spec.

Let them know why you’re a good fit

Your biggest opportunity to demonstrate these characteristics is at the interview, but it’s not your first opportunity. You can demonstrate enthusiasm by getting in touch with contacts within the business, doing your research or asking questions before you send an application. The more proactive you are in trying to secure the role, the more enthusiastic and dedicated you appear.

You can also highlight your dedication on your application. When you list your previous successes make sure to outline any special lengths you had to go to or what challenges you had to overcome. Employers are only interested in what you have done well so make sure that when looking for your successes they also get a sense of your character.

When you do come to the interview, make sure you approach it in a positive frame of mind. Charisma may be something that comes naturally to some and not to others but you can make yourself as likeable as possible. Smile, make eye contact and be positive in everything you say at an interview. Make sure the interviewer or panel understands how much you want the job. Let them see that you are perfect in person as well as on paper.

Most importantly, don’t be too disheartened if you don’t get a job that you thought you were perfect for. Even when you feel like the job spec is describing you personally, there may be five other candidates who feel the same way. All you can do is make sure that you demonstrate the characteristics the employer can’t list on a job spec, as well as the ones they can.

Looking for that perfect role? Find it on our Jobs Board.

Graham Burns

The Irish Times