You may have all the technical expertise, you may have all the required knowledge but being able to project the same to the potential employers and market yourself, is an art.
Many a times it happens that two colleagues with similar caliber and experience apply for the same position. One gets selected and the other one doesn’t. Why? The difference is created by what reaches the employer: your Cover Letter, your CV and Yourself at the interview table. You are an unknown person to the employer, the only thing they will know about you is what you tell them or what your CV says.
In order to make your tranisition shift smoothly from college campus to corporate office, this section will provide you with a few tips. Rest assured that our Chartered Accountants are on top of the line when it comes to their domain knowledge, but to be able to cut through the clutter and project your knowledge to the potential employers may require some additional effort.
Projecting & marketing yourself to the potential Employer is an art.
This career page has been designed to provide clear, complete and concise tips on how to write a winning cover letter & CV and prepare for an interview which will increase the likelihood of getting the job you want.
How to Write a Cover Letter?
Every cover letter should:
- Focus and be modified according to the position
- State why you are excited about the job
- Illuminate how you can add competitive advantage
- Express your interest in the opening
- Suggest steps for contact and communication
Always Proof Read:
Spelling and grammar mistakes can get candidate out of the screening process.
Make sure your resume and cover letter are prepared with the same font type and size
A smart cover letter can open the door to manifold employment opportunities. It serves as a powerful companion to a well written resume.
A cover letter is a one page document that you send with your resume when applying for a job. It is meant to:
- Introduce yourself to the hiring manager
- Argue why you’d be a good fit for the job
- Fill in spots your resume cannot explain
Try to Use Industry Keywords:
- The knowledge of the keywords indicates that candidate is well versed with the sector.
- It helps recruiters to search you easily in the database.
What is a Resume for?
A resume is a brief, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions.
Although it alone will not get you a job, a good resume is an important step towards obtaining an interview. Tailor your resume to the type of position you are seeking. This does not mean that all of your work history must relate directly, but your resume should reflect the kind of skills the employer would value. Now let’s begin with the resume writing process. Be factual, concise and clear. You don’t need to go into details about every accomplishment in your resume.
A resume should be:
- Specific rather than general
- Written to express not impress
- Articulate rather than “flowery”
- Fact-based (quantify and qualify)
- Written for people who scan quickly
Key resume mistakes:
- Spelling and grammar errors
- Missing email and phone information
- Using passive language instead of “action” words
- Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim
- Too long
Do’s and Don’ts of Resume:
- Be consistent in format and content
- Make it easy to read and follow, balancing white space
- Use consistent spacing, underlining, italics, bold, and capitalization for emphasis
- List headings (such as Experience) in order of importance
- Within headings, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
- Be sure that your formatting will translate properly if converted to a .pdf
- Use a narrative style
- Use slang or colloquialism
How to Give a Great Interview:
After cover letters, resumes and job applications, you will be receiving calls for interviews. Successful interview is based on preparation.
Preparation for the interview:
Preparation will help you to be calm and confident during the interview.
- Research very carefully the career area for which you are applying
- Remind yourself why you are interested in this career, and this employer
- Re-read your application form as if you were the interviewer. Try and anticipate the questions they will ask.
- Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer
- Plan how you will get to the interview. Leave plenty of time in case of traffic jams or delay.
- Dress neatly and smartly
Research the employer:
Here are some things you may be able to find out from the employers web site.
- What is the size of the organization?
- How long has it been in business?
- What are its products and/or services?
- What sort of reputation or public image does it have?
- Who are its main competitors?
- What is the organizational structure like?
- What are its future plans and prospects?
- What is the organizational culture?
- What types of training, development and appraisal are offered?
Remember the nonverbal message can speak louder than the verbal message. You are judged by your appearance, posture, smile and expressions.
Always Show Enthusiasm:
- Show some energy and breathe life into the interview experience.
- Don’t underestimate the value of a smile.
- Handshake: Your handshake should be firm and your hand should be dry and warm.
- Posture: Stand and sit erect. A slouching posture looks tired and uncaring.
- Eye Contact: Look the interviewer in the eye. Avoid constantly looking around the room because that conveys nervousness or a lack of confidence.
- Don’t Fidget: There is nothing worse than people playing with their hair, clicking pen tops, tapping feet or unconsciously touching parts of the body.
- It’s OK to pause briefly. A short gap to gather your thoughts shows thoughtfulness, assertiveness and self-confidence.
- Be polite, but don’t be afraid to enter into a discussion. Some interviewers will deliberately challenge your replies in order to stimulate this kind of discussion.
How to handle questions: Typical questions at traditional interviews
Questions about yourself: your background and your future ambitions:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why did you choose to do CA?
- Explaining gaps on your application form – e.g. year out; unemployment; travel
- How would the experiences you describe be useful in this company?
- What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? (This is quite a common question: read the employer company to get an idea of the normal pace of career development. Be ambitious but realistic)
- Tell me about your vacation work/extra-curricular/sporting activities
Questions about your knowledge of the employer, or career area:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why have you chosen to apply for this job function?
- Who do you think are, or will be, our main competitors?
- What do you think makes you suitable for this job?
- What do you see as the main threats or opportunities facing the company?
These are questions which can normally be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.
Prepare by following keys to successful interviews:
- Develop rapport with the interviewer with a firm hand shake and confident eye contact
- Explain yourself in three or five points
- All answers should be in positive tone even if the question is negative
- Be polite and clear
- Dressing should be formal and it’s better to be overdressed than under, wear attire which fits, is clean and pressed. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum.
- Body language should be confident. Poor body posture can be a distraction and can result in rejection.
After Interview Guidelines:
- Send a thank you email to each person you met during the interview.
- Sending thank you email has no drawbacks
- Best case, it will enhance your impression, position you better and ahead of other candidates.