Real Advice for Getting a Job
Job interviews are difficult even when you have to do them in your native language. The idea of having to do a job interview in English takes this stress to another level. Additionally, the hiring process can be different than what you are used to in English-speaking countries like the USA, Canada or the UK.
To find out what employers are really thinking when they are hiring and to give you the best advice, I decided to call my friend Greg who has a lot of experience hiring people for his own business and has many job interview tips. He has hired dozens of English teachers for the private Skype lessons they provide at Online Language Academy.
In this article, you will learn the typical mistakes people make while applying, how to act during the interview and tips for feeling less nervous!
This is a long article so I have created some links that will help you find the information you are most interested in. Don’t forget to watch the video with Greg and Amy discussing our best job interview tips!
How to Get a Job Interview
You might be surprised to find out that you have been making several mistakes while applying for jobs that are causing you to have fewer interviews than you are expecting. These mistakes aren’t obvious until they are mentioned to you or if you think about the process from an employer’s perspective.
Job Application Tip #1 – Think like an Employer
Imagine that you are an employer. You are someone who is very busy all the time trying to run your business. When you realize that you need to hire someone new, it’s another task that you need to fit into your day. When you are reviewing applications… you don’t have a lot of time.
As a job applicant, what can you do to make sure that your resume stands out? What does your resume need to have to make sure that even the busiest business person pays attention to your job application?
Job Application Tip #2 – Resumes Aren’t Reviewed in Detail
Even though you have spent a lot of time carefully preparing your resume (or CV), it is very unlikely that the person receiving your resume is going to read every single detail. The problem is that most employers receive hundreds of resumes when they post an ad with a job opportunity.
At this stage, employers are looking for reasons to eliminate applications because they simply do not have time to review every application in detail. Spelling mistakes and resumes that look boring or hard to read are immediately eliminated, even if you are the perfect candidate for the job position.
Applying for Jobs Tip #3 – You Have to Stand Out
Now you can see why it is REALLY important that your resume and application stands out from the rest.
If you are applying by email, try to use the name of the person receiving the application and mention the most important details that you think will make you stand out.
For example, including a link to a short video you created specifically for the job application introducing yourself or providing a link to a personal website you created can make your application different than everyone else.
Job Application Tip #4 – Don’t Send a Plain Document
No one likes to read plain text documents that feel like they are crammed with too much information. It makes it difficult to scan for relevant information. A boring black and white text document is not something that is appealing to read and it is not competitive with a more visually appealing resume.
Be sure that you use nice headings that make it easy to read and find the information they are looking for and include some color to try to bring some life to your resume and make it more interesting.
Job Tip #5 – Digital Resumes Have Changed the Game
As technology continues to improve, it is also allowing people to create beautiful digital resumes. If you are sending your applications by email, a visually appealing digital resume will help to make sure that it is read from start to finish.
In the next few years, having a digital resume, a personal website and links to everything will be expected. For now, having a beautiful digital resume will help you to stand out.
Job Application Tip #6 – Your resume can show you care
When you put some extra effort into creating your resume and making sure that you have modified each resume for the specific job you are applying for, it will show the employer you really care about getting the job and you took the time to personalize it for that specific company.
Applying for a Job Tip #7 – Create a Personal Website
It might seem like a lot of work to create a website about you and your work experience, but there are some really nice advantages to doing this.
On your website, you can explain your experience using more detail than you can on a one or two-page resume. Additionally, you can add pictures and make it an interactive experience.
Applying for a Job Tip #8 – Create a Short Video about You
Creating a video is something you can do for free and it can really help to make you stand out and make a good first impression. Using your computer webcam or even a cell phone, you can create a short video introducing yourself and talking about some of your skills. 1 to 2 minutes is usually the perfect length.
Be sure to appear professional, show your personality, record in a quiet room and have good lighting so that the video looks and sounds good. If you are using a cell phone, be sure that someone else is recording you and that the camera is still. A shaky video will not appear professional.
Getting an Interview Tip #9 – Pay Attention to the Application Requirements
Each employer will ask you to submit certain information when applying for a job. If they ask you to submit a cover letter, send a voicemail or an email… be sure to do everything they have asked.
If you don’t send all the information that they have asked you to send, it shows them that you cannot follow instructions and you will definitely not be called for an interview. Remember, they are looking for reasons to eliminate applicants wherever they can.
Job Application Tip #10 – How to Make an Impression Before the Interview
Surprise the employer by creating a video for the specific job position that you apply for to introduce yourself and greet them. You should mention a bit about the company, the job position and the one or two points that show you are a good candidate.
An employer will see that you took the time to create a video just for them. It shows you are serious about the job and willing to go beyond what is expected.
This is a great way to make a good first impression and they can see who you are. This detail alone can help you to get a job interview. You can’t make the same impression with a resume or a text document as you can with a personalized video.
Job Application Tip # 11 – Personalize Your Resume to Each Company
Most resumes start with an objective or a statement about their purpose for submitting the application. This is the first thing the employer will read. It is important that you change this short statement for the specific job you are applying for and to include the company name.
If you do not modify this statement, it will appear as if you are applying to many different companies and that you are too lazy to update it for the specific job you are applying for.
Job Application Advice # 12 – Don’t send an Empty Email
Take the time to write a short greeting when you send an email with your attached resume. You can explain a few important points, provide links to your personal website or the short video you recorded and mention the attached resume too.
Job Application Advice #13 – Don’t Bulk Send Emails
There is nothing worse than receiving a job application email that has been sent to your company and… you can see the exact same email application was sent to 20 other companies!
This shows the employer that you don’t care who you work for. You are simply sending out as many job applications as you can. You have no interest in working specifically for them.
Top Advice and Job Interview Tips
You have finally been called in for a job interview thanks to all those awesome strategies you used during the application process. Now, you can be better prepared to perform well in the interview by practicing and thinking about these job interview tips by knowing exactly what the employer is thinking.
Job Interview Tip #14 – Show Your Personality
Employers want to see your personality to help them decide if they think you will be a good fit with their other employees and the job position that you are being hired for.
I know it can be hard to ‘be yourself’ when you are nervous in a job interview, but it is important to let your personality show. If you are behaving in a different way than you normally do, the employer might feel like you are hiding something or that they cannot determine if you will be the right person for the job.
Online Job Interview Tip #15: Always Appear Professional
Treat an interview that you have online (through Skype for example) the same way that you would treat an interview in person.
Dress nicely, style your hair and choose a professional looking background that looks clean and tidy. Make sure that you use a microphone or headset to ensure you will be heard clearly, test your microphone and headphones before the call too.
Online Job Interview Tip #16 – Remove Distractions
Someone walking around in the background of your video is unprofessional and distracting. Be sure to tell other people to stay out of the room during your interview.
If you have pets be sure to put them in another room so they do not cause any interruptions either.
Job Interview Advice #17 – Be prepared and Organized
Think about everything that you might need to have during your interview and have it ready to access.
For example, if you need to drive to an interview, make sure you have gas in the car and change for the parking meter. If your interview is online, you should plug in your laptop and have your microphone and headphones ready to use.
Tips for Your Interview #18 – Questions that Reveal More than you Think
Employers choose their questions carefully to see the reactions and answer of the interview candidate. There can be hundreds of different responses to one question.
You might hear a simple question in a job interview that seems too easy to answer. Try to consider why they are asking you the question. They might be giving you an opportunity to explain more about yourself or to talk about your experience.
Job Interview Questions #19 – The Most Important Questions
The first question and the last question are the most important questions in the interview. The first question allows you to make a good first impression. The last question will be what the interviewer will remember the most.
Job Interview Question Tip #20 – Research the Company
Most interviewers will ask you: What you know about this company?
Do some research before the interview and make sure that you know some specific information and what makes them special. If it is a small company, it can be helpful to know about the person that is doing the interview as well especially if it is the owner.
If you do not know any details about the company it will show that you have not taken the time to look at their website, learn about their company and that you are not very interested in this particular job.
On the contrary, if took the time to research the website, their social media sites and some recent blog posts, it shows you care.
Interview Questions Tip #21 – Do you have any questions?
This is another sneaky question that can seem simple. This is actually an opportunity for you to ask a question that can allow you to explain something special that you can offer or contribute to the company.
For example, if you have had experience with social media marketing but you are applying for a sales position, you can ask them if they are using social media to attract new leads. Once they finish answering your question, you can tell a story about how you helped a previous employer to increase sales through the work you did.
Interview Questions Tip #22 – What type of person are they looking for?
At the end of the interview you might hear, “Do you have any questions?”
You can respond with, “What type of person are you hoping to hire for this position?”
The employer will describe the qualities and skills they are looking for and you can verify you are the candidate they are looking for based on their answer.
Job Interview Advice #23 – You want to work for THEM specifically
Try to make the employer feel like you are interested in working for them specifically, not just anybody that will hire you. Give this impression on your resume, the personalized video you create and also during the interview.
Job Interview Tip #24 – Send a Thank You Email
Taking the time to send a ‘thank you’ email will really show that you have good manners and you appreciated the time and the opportunity to meet with the interviewer.
How to Be Less Nervous in Your Interview
This section will give you some advice to help you prepare for your job interview in English to feel less nervous when the interview happens.
Job Interview Tip #25 – The First question
You will feel the most nervous within the first 2 or 3 minutes of the job interview. Luckily, the first questions that you have to answer are very predictable and you can practice answering them ahead of time. By the time you are finished answering the first question, you will already be starting to feel more relaxed.
Job Interview Question Tip #26 – Tell me about yourself
The first two questions that you are likely to hear are:
- Tell me a little bit about yourself
- What do you know about our company
Be sure to practice how you are going to explain this to the employer several times so that it is easy for you to say even if you are nervous. By the time you are finished answering these questions, you will feel less nervous.
Job Interview Advice #27 – Review your resume
It is important to know exactly what is on your resume so that you are ready to answer any questions related to it. Take a few minutes to review your resume in detail.
Job Interview Tip #28 – Practice Explaining Your Experience
Resumes only have a small amount of detail related to your past job experience. You should expect to be asked about certain job positions and the type of experience you have.
Practice explaining each item of your resume in more detail so that you can expand on your experience confidently during the real interview.
Job Interview Advice #29 – Connecting Your Past Experience
Before the interview, think about how each item that you have listed on your resume can be related or helpful to the position you are applying for.
Everything that you have done has taught you something or given you some sort of experience. Think of some stories that help connect that experience as a skill that could be helpful to this job. Practice saying this answer out loud or try this speaking practice technique.
When you tell stories you will feel more relaxed and it will allow you to make a personal connection with the person doing the interview.
Interview Questions Advice #30 – End Every Answer Positively
Be sure to end each of your answers on a positive note. Using your past experience as an asset to keep the answer positive.
Practicing for Your Interview in English
There are some really great ways to practice answering questions for your job interview to really help you feel more confident during the real thing. The first one is my favorite tip!
Interview Preparation Tip #31: Who Makes You Uncomfortable?
When you are in a job interview, it is uncomfortable and stressful. To replicate this uncomfortable feeling, it can help to practice job interview questions with someone that you think will make you feel uncomfortable.
For example, practice some interview questions with a roommate or a neighbor that you don’t know very well.
By the time you have your real interview, you will already have experience practicing your answers in a situation that was much worse!
Interview Preparation Advice #32: Private Lessons to Practice Interviews
There are many English teachers that can help you to prepare for your interview and help you to practice answering job interview questions. The teachers at Online Language Academy are experts in helping you to provide better answers in your job interview and give you the confidence you need to answer the most common questions.
Interview Preparation Tip # 33: Different Accents or Ways of Speaking
Each person has a different way of speaking and you will have no idea what type of accent they speak with. It can be very helpful to practice speaking with native speakers that have different accents. Additionally, each person will speak in a different way.
Summary for this Job Interview Advice
These tips really are some of the best advice to help you stand out from the rest of the applicants and to be called for an interview.
As you can see, applying for the job is almost more important than the actual job interview. If you don’t apply for the job correctly, you won’t be called for any interviews!
Don’t be afraid to use technology as a tool to make you look better than the rest and to personalize your job application to really be something special that can’t be ignored by any employer.
Share this article with someone you know that is looking for a job. The advice here is helpful for ESL job applicants but also native speakers.
Leave us a comment below if you found this helpful 🙂