Preparing for your next career step

Finding the next job is possibly one of the most important career decisions we make. We have compiled these tips to help you in this journey.

Start off with some self-reflection. Understand what makes you stand out from the pack and what makes you tick. What are the skills and qualities you bring to a job? What type of work cultures do you thrive in?

This should lead you to a better understanding of the type of companies and roles you should be aiming at.

Follow the target companies on Facebook and LinkedIn. Understand the values they project. Reach out to contacts (check out the company’s LinkedIn profile) you may have in these companies to get some first-hand experience.

Avoid companies that are continuously advertising the same role. It might be that a company is expanding, but many times it is a sign that not all is well. And check out the company’s online review on sites such as Glassdoor. While many of these reviews are either too negative or too positive, you will be able to draw your own conclusions.

If you’re still a student, lookout for internship opportunities with these companies. Consider reaching out even if they haven’t advertised any such opportunities.

Prepare a good cv. It does not need to be long. Base the cv on the narrative you wish to project; your career story. Make sure that the important keywords for the job you are applying for are there.

Also update your LinkedIn profile, and make sure that it is saying the same story, with aligned dates and all the important details. Make sure to turn off the broadcast settings in LinkedIn so that your frequent profile changes are not made known, especially to your current boss.

Your CV and (when requested) the covering letter need to be adapted to each job you are applying for. Do this by mirroring the key terms of the post. Show that you are the obvious choice for this position. Also consider jobs which may not be the perfect match to your skills if it’s a position you are interested in.

Preparing for the interview

Research the company by visiting their website, searching for latest news, Facebook and LinkedIn. Try and determine how your role fits within the picture. Look up the people who will be interviewing you on LinkedIn, to become a bit familiar.

Rehearse your career story. Prepare some of the answers you will probably be asked. Your strengths, weaknesses. What you can contribute to the company. Where you see yourself in 5 years’ time. Whether you are a team player. Don’t make it too obvious that you have prepared the answers before-hand.

Prepare any material you would need to get with you to the interview, such as a portfolio if this is required.

Dress up according to what is expected during the interview. A suit and tie might not always be required and for certain roles a casual smart look may look better. Whatever you wear, it should make you feel good about yourself.

Arrive a bit early to the interview, allowing some time for what could happen. Having to run to make it on time will not project a good representation of who you really are. Make sure you have the right address for the interview especially in the case of companies with multiple offices.

Be conscious about your posture during the interview. Lean forward to look interested. Avoid crossing your arms.

During the interview, never bad mouth your previous or current employers. It never goes down well. Be honest and fair about the reasons why you are considering moving.

Do ask questions, although some topics would best be covered in a second interview.

Good luck. Hope this helps.