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7 Ways To Be One Of The Best Job Applicants

7 Ways To Be One Of The Best Job Applicants

Applying for jobs can be nerve-wracking. You want to present yourself in the best possible way without sounding like a braggart and you want to do what you can to get the job. How do you show yourself to be the best candidate without saying things like, “I’m amazing”?

The single best way to show a potential employer that you are the best applicant is to genuinely want the job and act accordingly. Sound excited for the position and be ready to show why you want it. Here are some ways to prepare yourself before the interview and look great both in person and on paper.

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1. Focus on the employers’ needs, not yours.

When you sit down and talk with a potential employer about the available job, it’s important to show interest in the company and the job — not the benefits and salary you will get. Even if that’s what you’re most concerned about, it’s important to show you are interested in helping the company or organization succeed. Ask questions about the company and its goals. Look up the company online beforehand and understand the focus as well as the attributes you could bring to the role to help them succeed.

2. Be brief but informative.

Answer questions succinctly and thoroughly. Don’t expound for an hour on why you are the best person to operate the cash register. Answer questions, explain your answer if necessary and then move on. No one wants to hear how you met your boyfriend at your previous job but got in trouble for talking at the register and then had to quit because the manager was jealous and so on and so on. If the question is: “Are you comfortable operating a cash register?” Say, “Yes,” and move on.

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3. Be flexible.

The last thing a potential employer wants to see is a job applicant with a long list of demands. This is not the time to say that you need to have every Tuesday afternoon off to take your mother to an appointment or how you need to be ready for your vacation in two weeks. If you want the job, show how much by being willing to show up early, work late and be flexible. If you demonstrate right from the beginning just how important you believe the job is and are willing to put yourself out there constantly, it is much more likely that your boss will approve if you do need a Tuesday afternoon off to take your mother to an appointment.

4. Be creative.

When you put your application together, treat it as part of the job for which you are applying. According to Colin Day, the founder and chief executive officer of iCIMS, Inc., a provider of talent acquisition software for growing businesses, you should look for keywords in the job description and use them in your application. Customize your application to each job for which you are applying.

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5. Be sincere.

How much do you want this job? Really? Are you sure? Then say so. Go over the reasons you want this particular job in your head (or use note cards) ahead of time. Convince yourself. Convince a friend. Then go into the interview and convince the employer. Be active in your interview. Sound excited about the possibilities. Lean forward and ask questions about the potential for the position. If you want this job, go and get it.

6. Be honest — but not too honest.

Assess yourself before applying for a job. What are your strengths and weaknesses? According to Ryan Kohler, the CEO of ApplicantPRO, “I’d a hundred times rather hire someone who is honest about their shortcomings and how they plan to improve vs. some automaton who tries to tell me they’re ‘too much of a perfectionist’ or ‘care too much.'” Be honest about your weaknesses. Are you impatient? Say so. Are you sometimes too emotional? Be honest. However, if you were fired from your last job for talking to much, you might want to leave that out.

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7. Clean up your profiles.

Social media is prevalent in society now and it’s in your best interest to clean up your accounts before applying for a job. Your employers will look you up. Have a photo of you and bong online? Or topless at spring break? Perhaps you want to delete that before you apply for that job as a bank manager.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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