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Job Applications Got you Down? Tips and Tricks to Apply for That Role With Confidence

Job Applications Got you Down? Tips and Tricks to Apply for That Role With Confidence

As we all know, applying for jobs is not a very exciting process. It is extremely tedious, stressful, and decreases our daily energy and confidence. It can be mentally and physically draining to not hear back from an employer or feel worthless after reading the requirements.

I can say I’ve been in this boat many times and still am, but I want you to take a deep breath in and release a new you. Today starts the era of a new confident job applicant.

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A few wise people have told me that in order to be successful, you must go above and beyond your comfort zone; those wise people are mom and dad. Yes, my parents are always the ones keeping me motivated when I can’t seem to motivate myself. We all need to hear someone tell us, “you are better than what you are settling for, you can do wonders with your talents, etc, etc.”

So the question is, why are we not pushing ourselves more? When we first type in a job webpage, we initially find ourselves scrolling for hours, looking for something that sounds a bit more on our “level” and also doesn’t seem so intimidating.

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I’ll admit I would skim a very long explanation of the job and requirements, later telling myself I do not qualify. Wait, I do not qualify? Where did I get this idea from? Mom and dad were just telling me to go out of my comfort zone, and that novel was supposed to be my first step.

I later went back to that job description and decided to thoroughly read through every single detail. Once I did this, I still had minor doubts, but I felt that the worst thing that could happen is I don’t get a reply. I won’t know if someone on the other side of the computer is laughing at me thinking how someone with such “low” qualifications could possibly think they are worthy.

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The problem is we overthink. We are scared of putting ourselves out there with the fear of being turned down. This, however, is not a healthy approach. It is important to do whatever it takes to get that energy and motivation back. If it takes blasting 80s rock to get you motivated, do it. if it takes running a half marathon and coming home all energized and ready to apply, do it. if it takes eating a whole pint of ice cream and getting an energy fix, do that too (cookie dough is always a good option). Do whatever it is that gets you feeling confident.

We are all different and all have different ways of raising our energy and confidence. You don’t have to look to others and try to be like them. Of course sympathizing and discussing helps, but be yourself on this journey. Get out of your comfort zone and do something good for yourself.

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The reason I put “level” and “low” in quotations is because we are not unexperienced and we are certainly not on the lowest level. We always have to remind ourselves of our accomplishments, of how far we have come. If you need someone to tell you, then ask them to reassure you, but this is something you have to do for yourself.

Here are a few daily steps in opening your confidence each and every day, as well as some steps to applying with more confidence.

Daily confidence boosters:

  1. Wake up with an intention. Tell yourself “today I will…” (e.g. apply for the best jobs).
  2. Get that pot of coffee, cup of tea, or glass of juice — whatever your preference.
  3. Set up a comfortable space for yourself where you can sit, relax, and apply for jobs
  4. Set aside social media, phones, remotes, and/or any other distractions that can interfere with applying.
  5. Give yourself a little pep talk and encourage yourself.
  6. Have your resume and all other documents properly saved so you can easily find them.
  7. Have a notebook and pen or your online notepad open so you can jot down any names, numbers, emails, etc. that are important to your applications.
  8. Take a breather. Give yourself some time between each application to stretch, eat, drink, go for a walk, etc.
  9. Always set a goal. Tell yourself you will apply for 10 jobs today and do it. Don’t slack. Pretend you are reporting your daily log to someone and need to be accurate in order to receive a gold star for the day.
  10. Last but not least, relax. Don’t get worked up and mess up. Take it easy, do everything slowly, and be attentive to details. This should be a calm process that makes you feel good once you are done.

Well, there they are: 10 steps to boosting confidence and applying like a pro. Don’t forget that you are special, unique, and awesome in your own way. Now, go out there and show the world what it’s missing.

Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

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Nicollete Izakovic

Candidate of International Relations

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Published on January 28, 2020

How to Ace an Interview: Nailing the 10 Most Tricky Questions

How to Ace an Interview: Nailing the 10 Most Tricky Questions

As someone who has been in recruiting for over 10 years I can tell you the interview is vitally important to getting that new job you really want. During the interview process, there will most likely be at least 2 interviews, a phone interview and an in person interview. Both are important.

Companies can of course have different interviewing processes but in general, there is at least one phone interview, also known as a phone screen, and a live, in-person interview. The in-person interview can be with one person or it might be with a variety of people. While they are both important, the live interview is typically the one that will make or break you as a candidate for the position you are interviewing for.

Many of the interview questions we will review here will more likely come up during the live interview. But it’s a good idea to be prepared for them on the phone interview as well.

To illustrate how important the live interview is, I’ll tell you about my search that happened a year ago. I’d decided it was time to move on from the role I’d been in for a little over 6 years. As I started researching and looking for a new opportunity, I began down the path with 2 companies. With the one I landed with, I’d had 3 separate phone screens, each one an hour long. They must have thought they went well because I was asked to fly to the city where the corporate office is at and do an in-person interview. — with 8 people.

Yeah, it was a long day. The good news is I rocked the interviews across the board. I flew home that evening and the following day, I received a call with the job offer. That was less than 24 hours after I’d had the in person interview. This is how important the live interview is.

So how to ace an interview? We can dive right in to helping you nail the 10 most tricky interview questions:

1. What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

This is a personal favorite of mine. The primary reason for this question is not to actually find out what your biggest weakness is. Unless of course, you say something like “showing up to work on a regular basis,” then it’s probably going to get you kicked out of consideration for the role.

The main reason for someone asking you this question is to see if you are self-aware. That is if you know your weaknesses and are smart enough to account for them.

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The smart play here is to answer in a modest way. You want to be able to show that your biggest weakness actually has an upside. For instance, I usually say that mine is impatience. Which is true, I like to get things done. But what I ensure what I point out is that even though I am impatient, it’s because I like to crank and get a lot of work done.

2. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Interestingly enough, a lot of people don’t have an answer to this question. It’s designed to find out if you’ve actually done research on the company and if you are excited about this position.

When I ask this question, many people have told me something like “because it looks like a good opportunity”. I mean, can you be any more generic?

The key to answering this is to show you’ve done research on the company and that you are enthusiastic about the actual position. Companies want people that are excited to work there, not just someone that shows up for a paycheck.

3. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Employers are asking you this question to see if you have somewhat of a plan for your career. It doesn’t have to be completely mapped out in a step by step manner but, a general overall plan is good to see. It means you are goal oriented and are working towards something.

Don’t worry about answering in a way that states you are planning on sticking with the company until you retire. Rather, focus more on how it’s important to you to continue to learn and get better and better at what you do. Companies like to hire self-motivated people.

4. Tell Me About a Time You Messed Up

Or tell me about a time something didn’t work out the way you planned. Similar in concept. The key here is to show that you take accountability for your actions and how you react to things going wrong.

Companies like to see that you are willing to accept responsibility for the things you oversee and own up when you are wrong. People that always find a way to blame their missteps on other people or circumstances typically don’t make good team mates.

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The other component here is things don’t always go as planned, how good are you at adapting and thinking on your feet.

5. Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Job?

This may seem like a place to launch into all the things you don’t like about your current job. Or to talk about what a terrible person your boss is. Don’t do it. That’s the path you do not want to go down. And that’s really what this question tends to prod out of many people.

If I am interviewing you and ask this question and you tell me all the ways your boss doesn’t appreciate you and your company has terrible leadership, I’m thinking what you’re going to be saying about me in a year when you are interviewing somewhere else.

Make sure you are framing your answer in a way that doesn’t shed bad light on your current or most recent employer. You want to focus on things like you’ve enjoyed working for the company but your growth options are limited there so you are exploring outside opportunities.

6. How Would Your Current Manager Describe You?

This question gives you the opportunity to show off your strengths and what your boss appreciates about what you bring to the table. You want to focus on the positive traits that your boss likes and how it helps you in your role.

What you do not want to do is sprinkle in the things your boss doesn’t think as highly of. Don’t say something like my boss would describe me as a focused worker, at least on the days I make it into the office.

7. Tell Me About a Time You Overcame an Obstacle

Another one of my favorite questions. Interviewers ask this question to see if you are able to deal with roadblocks.

Things don’t always go smoothly, so having people on the team who are able to solve problems has huge upside.

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Being able to overcome obstacles is a great trait to have. Make sure you have a few stories about how something didn’t go as planned that caused a challenge and how you were involved in solving the problem. It’s a way of turning a bad situation into a good one.

8. Why Should We Hire You?

If you are at the point of a live interview, you should be highly interested in the position.

By this point, you should have a pretty clear picture of what the role is and how your skills and experience will help you succeed. The reason this question is being asked is to see if you are the right candidate for this role.

This gives you a great opportunity to tell your interviewer how your expertise will positively impact the role. Right now, you are in the spotlight to clearly show that your experience is the perfect fit for the position and why. Shine on!

9. What’s Your Greatest Achievement?

Employers tend to ask this question to gain an understanding of what your big wins were. What are the really impactful things that have happened during your career and how you were the reason why they happened.

This is another great opportunity for you to toot your own horn. What you want to be conscious of is how you tell the story about your biggest achievement. You want to make sure you say why it was such a big achievement.

If possible, it’s always good to include your team as part of the big win. Employers love to hire people who can make things happen but, it’s also important they understand the importance of team work.

10. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

You might be asking yourself why this is a tricky question. Honestly, it’s not a tricky question if you are prepared for it.

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What the interviewer is looking for here is how interested and excited you are for the position. You’d be surprised at how many people answer this question with a blank stare or have no questions prepared.

Again, if you are at a live interview, you should be highly interested in a position and the company. You will convey how interested you are in the opportunity with some well thought out questions to ask.

You don’t want to just ask one question like “How often is payday”? Have at least 4 to 5 questions prepared but don’t overwhelm your interviewer with dozens and dozens of questions. Show that you’ve given some serious thought to this position by coming prepared with solid questions to ask.

The Bottom Line

There you go, insight to nailing the 10 most tricky questions during the interview process. There are, of course, many other questions you might get asked during the interview process but, these tend to be the ones that trip most people up.

Remember to take your time and thoroughly prepare for the interview. You don’t have to memorize your answers or anything but having a good idea of how you’d answer these questions will help you ace the next interview.

Here’s to being career advancement ready!

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Featured photo credit: Romain V via unsplash.com

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