10 Creative Ways To Get Your Dream Job

Let me be clear. Creativity is not about being artistic, it’s about being inventive. If you can appropriately demonstrate relevant skills and motivation to a potential future employer in a creative way, then you are on track for getting your dream job.

If you video yourself singing the words to your cv in the shower to apply for a role at a solicitors firm then you have not mastered this skill. If you purchase ad space outside a media buying agency and use it to sell yourself to the directors, that’s more like it…

Here are some real examples we found that demonstrate employment seeking creativity.

1. Singapore-based student Chen Zhi Liang’s assignment set by his graphic design tutor was to create an infographic. Not only does it showcase important qualifications and skills, it’s also visually attractive without being overwhelming. Liang’s minimal approach is perfect for an overcrowded job market.

Chen Zhi Liang

2. Rob Jervi turned his cv into a box, and even learned how to make the chocolates inside as well (Oreo truffles, peanut butter cups, amaretto ganaches, etc). LFH called Jervis up an hour after receiving his chocolate-themed resume and offered him a paid internship, which led to a full time job.

Rob Jervis

3. This one is a bit risky, but it paid off because these two jobseekers knew their industry and audience. Andrew Grinter and Lee Spencer-Michaelse bought the personalised URLs of several creative directors of Australian advertising agencies. The duo then directed the directors to their URLs, where they had posted a ransom note, telling them to set up a meeting with them “or the site gets it”. Luckily it did the job and got them several interviews.

4. Lindsay Blackwell decided to try a creative approach in her application for social media director of the University of Michigan. She created a website with a video directed at Lisa Rudgers, the university’s vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives. As you might expect, it got her an interview.

Dear Lisa Rudgers

5. Slideshare allows users to share their presentations online and other users can comment and share. Ben Wong made a Slideshare presentation resume in hope of landing his dream job. The video has been viewed over 74,000 times!

6. Graeme Anthony uploaded his professional information to YouTube in the hope that it would attract interest from PR employers. Anthony’s interactive video application included a breakdown of his skills and timeline for potential employers. It showed his video-producing and editing knowledge as well as his ability to use online resources, and succeeded in landing him a job at Manc Frank.

7. Melissa wanted to showcase her sewing abilities to potential employers in the design industry, so decided to create this beautiful sewn cv during her final year at college. She wanted to represent her affection for sewing and including handmade elements in her design work for a more intimate feel. It was so successful that Melissa got the first job she applied for out of college and is now a product

designer at Etsy.

Melissa CV

8. French creative Victor Petit was struggling to get interviews for internships at communications agencies, so he decided to spice up his paper cv by including a QR code. One side of his application features a pretty standard cv design, but on the other side there is a close-up of Petit’s face, with a QR code over his mouth. Prospective employers scan the code, which then plays a YouTube video, featuring Petit’s mouth and transforming his paper application into a talking resumé.

9. We all Google ourselves regularly (and if you don’t you should). Alec Brownstein decided to take advantage of this by purchasing adverts to appear when specific people searched for creative directors’ names, or more importantly, when those directors Googled themselves. The ads led to Brownstein’s website with a message that simply read, “Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.” Brownstein now works at Y&R New York, and the ads only cost him $6.

10. When Phil Dubost was seeking employment as a Web Product Manager, he decided to feature himself as the product on his “Amaz-ing Resume,” a website which is modelled after an Amazon product page. Dubost really brings his CV to

life with little quirks such as the message to “order soon” as there is “only 1 left in stock” and an original list price of $999,999 which is scratched out, leaving prospective employers to come up with their own offer. The Independent reported that Dubost had received at least 100 emails from potential employers.

Phil Dubost

Now it’s your turn! Share with us in the comments below your own creative approaches to job search or career climbing.

It’s important to make sure that your job application stands out. Here at iwantmycareer.com we

have our own CV Design service and we can even create an Infographic CV for you! Some of our coaching services help you with your CV and selling yourself, and there is even the option to sign up for a free starter plan. Visit iwantmycareer.com/services/ to find out more.

The Secret To A Great Visual CV

Infographic Free Digital Photos

Image sourced from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Visual design is a great way to differentiate yourself from other job candidates and it helps you to communicate your personal brand. All of us (yes, even recruiters) respond to visual storytelling and images rarely fail to grab our attention.

Remember your cv is not just a formality, it’s an important marketing document designed to convince a recruiter to buy into you, give you an interview, and eventually offer you a job. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you get yourself in the “yes” pile with clever design.

Put Yourself Into Your CV

A creative cv that communicates your values, personality and potential allows recruiters see who you are before they meet you. Inject it with your personality in a way that tells a story and makes your experience stand out. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t

an advertising creative or a graphic designer. A well designed cv can highlight strengths such as marketing and branding expertise, writing skills, your presentation savvy, and/or

your knowledge of social media trends.

Promote Key Points

Pull out the sections of your cv you want recruiters to notice, and make them stand out. For example, if you have a great career history you could consider using a timeline to show it off. If you have some good testimonials, promote them as quotes. Consider using a headline drawing attention to your USPs. If you have any achievements based on statistics, there is a lot you can do to highlight these with design.

Don’t Exceed Your Limits

If design is not one of your strengths, do not attempt to do it yourself. A badly designed cv will do more harm than one without any visual design at all! Get someone to do it for you, as it’s worth the investment. Take a look at our own cv design service.

Know Your Industry

Are you applying for marketing or advertising roles? If so, you can afford to go all out. Are you applying for a role in engineering or childcare? If so, you may wish to calm it down a bit. The trick is to know what

you’re up against – b e original for the industry you are applying in, but don’t overdo it. A caravan might seem impressive amongst tents, but insignificant amongst castles.

Keep Multiple Versions

It’s good practice to have multiple versions of your cv anyway, but particularly if you are using a visual cv. Always keep a traditional cv as a backup, particularly if you are applying for jobs online. There is no harm in sending both as recruiters will appreciate you trying to make their lives easier.

Share Share Share

Once you have a creative visual cv, send it to everyone you know. It will no doubt be a novelty to many of your contacts, and they may even pass it on if they are really impressed. Use it as a conversation starter with new contacts and give copies to your friends and family.

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at iwantmycareer.com for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.

5 Interview Types You Must Know as a Candidate

Congratulations! You have been invited for an interview. The next thing you need to do is make sure you know which type of interview you will be having and prepare appropriately. Here are some of the most common types of interview, what to expect and how to prepare…

Panel Interview FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image sourced from FreeDigitalphotos.net

1. Traditional Unstructured

A traditional unstructured is not planned or prearranged, allowing for questions to develop during the course of the interview. This is the best method for allowing the interviewer and candidate to build a rapport and get to know each other due to its parallels with a normal conversation, so the interviewer will get a more natural and realistic sense of who you are. However it is one of the most difficult to prepare for, for the same reason!

.To excel in a traditional unstructured interview, you need to be confident and know your stuff. The questions will probably be based on your application and you may be asked to elaborate or explain certain sections of your cv. Although this type of interview may seem more casual, you must still maintain a professional demeanor.

Be careful not to provide information you would not have communicated if the interview was more structured. Read our recent article on how to prepare for the most common predictable interview questions.

2. Panel

A panel interview is conducted by more than one interviewer. Sometimes all members of the panel will quiz you together, or they may take it in turns to take the lead or one person may ask all the questions. The purpose of a panel interview is to get a more rounded view of each candidate and reduce bias.

You will probably find a panel interview quite exhausting because you are responding to and trying to impress more than one person, so be prepared for this. Always make eye contact with the person who asks you a question, but ensure that every member of the panel gets your equal attention. It does not always follow that the person asking the questions is the decision maker.

3. Competency Based

Competency Based Interviews (also referred to as CBI or Behaviour Interviews) are often used by recruiters working for Fortune 500 Companies. As the name indicates, this interview practice is used to assess candidate competencies – technical or behavioural – and predict future behaviour in the job role.

We recommend using the STAR Technique in Competency Based Interviews, which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. The trick is to include these fours aspects, one after the other into your answer when you describe a real situation from you past experience. In this way you will clearly communicate your level of competence to manage certain situations and your ability to produce results.

4. Video or Telephone

Video Interviews are commonly used to conduct interviews from a distance, and should be prepared for in the same way as a face to face interview. These are

becoming ever more popular, with automated interview services such as SONRU now available to recruiters. You should dress appropriately, make eye contact with the camera, check the monitor regularly to observe interviewer reactions, and remain professional if you experience delays or transmission interruptions.

Telephone Interviews are often used at the start of the interview process, to help the employer to decide who will be invited for a face to face meeting. They are particularly difficult simply because you aren’t able to pick up on or communicate facial expression or body language. However you can use this to your advantage, and have everything you need written up in front of you such as your cv, cue cards, prepared answers, etc. Obviously this only applies to telephone interviews and not video interviews!

5. Final Stage

If you are attending a Final Stage Interview, you can be fairly sure that you are top candidate for the job. However don’t assume that it’s in the bag. This will be the most gruelling and intense part of the process because the interviewer will be looking to eliminate any concerns they have about you. The interview will most likely be strategic and subjective, and you may be purposefully made to feel uncomfortable or pressured. This is normal, so keep calm and stick to your guns.

The best way to prepare for a final stage interview is to go over everything that has happened up to now. Predict what questions you will be asked and practice your answers. Where are the gaps in your knowledge or experience for this role? Be prepared to address these openly without being defensive about them. Why are you the best candidate for this position? Think about this honestly and remember to drive this message home. Finally, you will be expected to ask questions at this stage so make sure you have some prepared so that you aren’t caught off guard!

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at iwantmycareer.com for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.

How to give a STAR performance in a CB Interview

Star Free Digital Photos

Image sourced from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First of all let me explain what CBI means, since this is an abbreviation used by recruiters: CBI stands for “Competency Based Interviews” (also known as Behaviour Interviews). This is an interviewing methodology often used by recruiters working for Fortune 500 Companies. As the name indicates, this interview practice is used to assess candidate competencies and predict future behaviour in the job role.

I am sure that you have great competencies, but do you know how to communicate them? And do you know how to convince your interviewer that you have the right mix of “know-how” required for the job? Actually, there is a very simple technique to help you prepare for CBI and increase your level of confidence when sitting in an interview.

This technique is called: S T A R

“Tell me about a time when you had to face a particular conflict in your job; what was it that you had to achieve, how did you handle the conflict and how did you resolve the issue?”

Have you ever experienced a similar interview question? This is exactly the type of question that a recruiter would use to assess your ability to handle possible conflicts into the new role and this is what we call a “CBI question”.

Let me explain you how the S T A R technique will help you to prepare for such type of questions.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result

The trick is to include these fours aspects, one after the other into your answer when you describe a real situation from you past experience. In this way you will clearly communicate your level of competence to manage certain situations and your ability to produce results.

Use the table below to guide you on how to use the STAR technique:

The STAR Technique

This is actually a very good technique to prepare for all type of interviews and can also be used to answer situational/hypothetical questions such as: “What would you do if…..” You will come across much more confident and convincing if you use the STAR model to describe a concrete example, rather than using a hypothetical situation.

Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

  1. Identify 3 to 4 key competencies required for the role which you will find in the job description
  2. Think of a few examples from your experience when you used those competencies. Looking at the achievements listed on your CV should give you plenty of ideas. Take examples from different jobs. If you have limited professional experience, think of other areas where you developed competencies during your life (i.e. community work, family, etc).
  3. Write down two examples for each competence based on the S T A R model.

 

Let me give you an example:

The STAR Technique Example

I hope that you are now ready to give a STAR performance in your next interview!

Please don’t hesitate to leave your comments and/or questions below or to get in touch with us if you would like to be coached preparing for your future interviews.

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at iwantmycareer.com for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.

How to prepare for the most common predictable interview questions

Image sourced from freedigitalphotos.net

Image sourced from freedigitalphotos.net

You might not be the one asking the questions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be in control of your interview. In this article, we want to help you get clear about your message and create your interview ‘agenda’, as well as provide you with easy-to-follow answer formulas for those predictable interview questions…

Before we get into the nitty gritty of what you might be asked and how to answer, let’s first think about WHAT messages you want to get across. What are your USPs (unique selling points) and what skills and qualities can you offer this employer to help them get results? Getting clear about these areas will help you craft your interview “agenda”. To get this clear, make three lists and match up:

Your USPs and why you are different to other candidates

Take a few minutes to think about this one – for many of us who are modest, this can be hard. If you struggle with this, the best next thing is to ask your closest friends and family as they always see the best in us and are happy to remind of us it. You’re looking for something that is individual to you and you have real examples to demonstrate. An example could be: having a unique insight into cultures, languages, a talent such as organising awesome events or your perseverance to achieve anything you put your mind to. Last week, whilst training a group of EMBA’s, the group struggled to come up with their own but within a few minutes of asking each other for help, had more than 10 things to add to this part of their interview “agenda”.

Your special skills, matched to the job specification

Take a highlighter pen to your selected job advert and highlight the words or sentences that describe the core skills the role requires. This could be displayed under the job description or roles & responsibilities section or under the person requirements section. Then try to identify those skills or transferable competencies you have which strongly match what you have highlighted.

The results you could help the company achieve

An essential starting point: what results will you potentially bring to the organisation that would have a significant bottom-line benefit? Another way of approaching this question is: if you were to be hired today and were reviewed a year from now, what would be the most important measurements that would determine your performance? It is important to articulate this from the point of view of the organisation, not you. For example:

  • Expansion of client base by 20%
  • New processes with 10% cost-efficiencies
  • Enhance market share by 5%
  • Double sales revenue
  • Develop new programmes or system

The most important of these results is known as the ‘ultimate result’ and it is something to keep in mind as it can be woven tactically into answers in many ways to be more persuasive.

These answers outline your interview ‘agenda’ and you should use them them when crafting your answers to the predictable questions mentioned below.

 

Now that’s out of the way, here are some of the types of questions you can expect…

What is your greatest strength?

One of the most common questions is about what you will bring to the company. For example, what are your perceived strengths? This is a great opportunity to bring your special skills, USPs and results agenda to the table. Here’s an example of a great answer:

One of my greatest strengths is my meticulous nature. I understand that producing good quality research and flawless analysis is important for this role and you really need an organised person who has attention to detail. During my work experience and education I have developed strong planning skills. It has always benefited me to set goals and plan to achieve them – I normally use a project planning approach to do this. Similarly with my hobbies – amateur acting and singing – are things I put not 10 0 but 200 per cent into. In fact I recently played a role in fringe theatre and got an amazing mention in the local newspaper.

What are your weaknesses?

See where we’re going with this? Now let’s deal with that ominous question that everyone fears about weaknesses/failures/regrets. The bottom line is your answer should be a disguised strength – a success story of how you can overcome difficulties by understanding how you work best. So let’s take this answer:

To be honest … when I’m faced with multiple projects of equal priority, I used to sometimes let details fall through the cracks

Then turn it into a positive success story:

I was told at university I was a global thinker – seeing things from top down – general overview first, detail later. Because of this I have learned the hard way to become a list person. I write everything down with a due date and then review the list regularly to make sure things get done on time. It’s a tool that has enabled me to multi task and I have become more effective as a result.

What motivates and excites you?

This is another common one, closely related to ‘what’s most important to you in a job?’ and it will largely be related to the industry or sector you are applying to work in. Refer to the type of duties required for the role and the skills needed, and any research you have done on the company. Use emotive verbs and adjectives and avoid citing any benefits to you. Finish off with:

 

“…and that’s why I’m here today!”

Walk me though your CV…

When an interviewer asks you to walk them through your CV, they are not asking you to read it for them. This is a chance to tell them a story with your strengths, skills, learning experiences and potential interwoven. Start with the most important and focus on your achievements, decisions, what you’ve learned and wrap it all up with a description of what motivates you:

I’m an MBA grad from Business School Lausanne with an interest in business development. I’m from Brazil and very entrepreneurial. In fact I have been obsessed about making money since I was a kid. I used to buy sweets in bulk from the supermarket and then sell them individually at a higher price in the playground. I would pocket the money and save it until I had enough to repeat the exercise.

A decade later I was the founder of an investment club whose mission was to help a group of teenagers to understand the stock market and gain experience in portfolio management. It’s now time to realise my long term dream to join a large corporation like yours and join a sales team where these skills are well matched and can be put to use.

Describe a situation when…?

We’ve already covered a lot of ground in this article but I want to show you one last tactic. This is one to use for competency-based questions and it’s called STARD – Situation, Task, Actions, Results and Difference. When your interviewer asks you to describe a situation when…. they are asking you to talk them through real life examples of STARD. You might also be asked

to describe what you would do in a certain situation. This is a hypothetical question and can throw you off. For instance:

It’s 20 minutes before you present to a big client and your team have made a huge error in the presentation – what do you do?

Whether it’s a competency question or hypothetical, always share a real life example from your education, training or professional experience. The table below presents the different questions you might receive within the STARD formula – use them to help craft some examples using the STARD structure in advance. Pick out the competences or skills you think you might be interviewed around and then think of some examples which demonstrate these skills:

STARD Table

I hope you found this article useful and it has given you a better idea of what to expect in an interview. I’d love to share more examples with you but we’d need a book to be able to cover all of them. Here are the most common types of questions asked in interviews for your reference:

  • Information gathering/biographic
  • Competency based questions
  • Situational / hypothetical questions
  • Commercial awareness/knowledge questions
  • Technical questions
  • Pressure or “nasty” questions
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