When we start applying for a new job or position we often encounter at least three ‘E’ words – Education, Experience and Enthusiasm.
When we consider the criteria of this fabulous new job, do we sort of fudge our educational qualifications …”The job requires strong organisational qualities and a great deal of business knowledge … weeelll – I got a BA; that should count!”
Don’t laugh… I have heard similar tales of woe from people!! We need to be realistic about our education and what it has prepared us to do.
And not all questions about our education may be obviously related to the position. Often the question is asked “What was your favourite subject at school?” – So what was it? And why did we like it? – And probably more important – why is the interviewer asking this question?
The job criteria may not call for a formal qualification, but the interviewer may be looking for aptitude in the subject. So while you may not need to demonstrate a BSc – an interest in science may be a factor in singling you out from the crowd.
So look at what the job entails, and consider what subjects you studied at school that may indicate your personal interest. People looking at jobs handling money; calculating measurements or estimating capacity and who demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for maths will have an edge over applicants who declare they loathed maths at school.
So too, your previous experience. What have you done in previous jobs that can help you shine in this? Highlight those areas of your previous employment which can add value to your application. “I see that the job requires some knowledge of working with teams, – at my last job I led a number of teams who successfully completed planning projects well within the time frame.”
Consider the criteria in detail and list activities you have been engaged in that give you knowledge and experience. Not everything needs be related to previous employment – and if this is your first job there will be none to rely on! But what about other activities – have you been engaged in the Scouting or Guiding movement? Being a Patrol Leader for instance has given you some idea of team work, and the problems in getting people to work together.
Membership of a choir; being the secretary of a Chess Club, organising fund raising for the Orchid Society – all these things expose you to experiences that may be useful to highlight. For instance if the job requires some understanding of basic financial transactions you could be on a winner with “As the Treasurer of my local Toastmasters Club, I had to manage and pay accounts, and produce a profit and loss report on a regular basis.”
And finally Enthusiasm – your interviewer will expect that you show some interest in, and enthusiasm for the position you are applying for. So how to demonstrate that, without behaving like a gushing superstar!
Show your interest by researching the company and the exact position before you arrive at the interview. If you demonstrate that you know a little more information than available in the advert and application form, you will show that you have taken time and interest to find out.
Make sure that you have some relevant questions to ask – such as “What ongoing training is available to maintain current qualifications?” or “What opportunities are there to advance in my career?”
Either of these will indicate that you are interested in a long term career, rather than a short term job.
So remember the three E’s for your interview – your Education, Experience and don’t forget to bring your Enthusiasm.
Michele @ Trischel