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5 Tips to step up when applying to your dream job!

You cannot believe it. The few lines you have just read may change your life forever. You have been through THE job description of your dream. Every single word of it describes with frightening precision what you have always been dreaming about. You cannot wait to click on "apply now." Your CV is ready to be sent, your hands are shaking, and your vision is blurry. You are a click away...from making a HUGE mistake! So hold on, relax, and take a deep breath. Sending your CV can wait. First, we have some work to do.

First tip - It is urgent NOT to rush into it!

I know, you are amazingly excited. You have been waiting for this opportunity for a while, maybe for years. But if you do not want to ruin it, you need to step back a minute and think. The job will still be there in an hour or so. Being excited is great, but it also often leads to making mistakes; Or, even worse, it may lead to missing opportunities, such as finding another way than just applying, or to following the rest of the crowd and allowing your CV to become anonymous among hundreds of others. You need options! So don't rush into it,think!

Second tip - Use your imagination.

So you want this job badly, right? You are sure about that; it would fulfil your life goal and allow you to wake up at 6:30 am every morning with a big smile on your face. Great. Knowing what you want is already a big achievement. You have completed "step 1" of "how to be happy in your professional life." But you are far from being done, and the real work starts now. You are obviously not the only person dreaming about getting this role. Considering how attractive it is, you are probably not even the best qualified person who will apply. You think you are? Sorry to disappoint you, but it is pretty unlikely. There is always someone with better experience, better academic background, a better network, a better this or a better that. But something can help you in your quest: your imagination. Whatever job you are applying for, your imagination is one of your best allies. You are not an imaginative person? No excuses, there are countless examples on youtube or google of amazing ideas that helped people to step up in applying to a job. Be original in your approach, and I can assure you that you will be noticed. Pimp your CV or your motivation letter according to the industry or the role you are applying for. Contact the hiring manager in such a way that he/she will remember you. Anything you can think of that may help you to avoid being just one more guy on the waiting list.

Third tip - Avoid taking the highway.

This one is very similar to the previous tip but a bit more specific. When you apply for a job, most of the time you have to send your CV through a website or via an external recruiter. Your application will follow the natural process of selection, and, if you are qualified enough AND lucky, you may have a chance to meet with the hiring manager. Recruiters, internal or external, usually spend in average of 30 seconds on your CV. They may be tired or in a bad mood when they read it. In certain cases, they may not even be qualified enough to understand it. This is a bet you don't want to take. So how do we avoid taking the highway of the recruitment process that could cost you the job of your dream? First, identify the hiring manager. In complex organisations, it is not always easy to point the finger at the right person, though. Amazon has hundreds of Logistic Directors, SAP has thousands of Product Managers, and Facebook has a legion of VP Sales. Navigating into this network may be a nightmare, but Linkedin and other professional social media may help you. Once you think you have identified the right person, look at your common connections. You may have a friend or an acquaintance who knows him/her and can ask for a smooth introduction. You don't know anyone who knows him/her? Send a personalised invitation using tip 2. Insist on something that happened in the industry or a promotion he/she got recently or an article he/she wrote to get his/her attention. Initially, do not mention the job you want to apply for. He/She may be receptive, and accept to meet for coffee and casual conversation. Now that the introduction has been made, you are in the best shape to position yourself and avoid the traffic of the classic recruitment process.

Fourth tip - Do your homework and get ready for the big day.

You did it! You got your interview. You are one step closer to the jackpot, but don't get too excited yet. You are in the race but only halfway to the finish line. Now you will have a chance to defend your application in a face to face meeting, and you’d better be ready. Preparation is the key for success, and you certainly have to go one step further than your competitors. Tip 2 is still your friend; imagination will help in every step of your preparation, so keep it in mind. Other than that, we can identify 4 steps to be followed for ideal preparation.

1. Basic interview preparation. Interviewing is a sport; training and repetition are required, and, as my ex-boss use to say, there is no shortcut to hard work. To perform well, you need to make sure you know the basic components of a classic interview: how to introduce yourself, how to present yourself, how to shake a hand, how to handle your body language, how to manage your eye contact, how to answer basic and more complex questions, and how to react should your interlocutor put you in a difficult spot.

2. Know your interlocutor. As in tip 3, getting to know your interlocutor is crucial. The way you will connect is maybe more important than the quality of your answers. So do your research and put on Sherlock Holmes’ most beautiful hat. Everything is allowed: Google Search, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, other social networks, University alumni, etc. Thanks to technology, it's never been as easy to gather information. Small disclaimer, though, we are not spying here, nor turning into some kind of perverse voyeur! Be respectful in your approach and look for information that can help you in your interview preparation. Also, avoid using information that is too personal during an interview, since it can be taken very badly by the hiring manager or the recruiter. Know the limits and don't breach them.

3. Know your enemy.If you need to know your interlocutor, you also need to know who is competing with you. I know, you will tell me that it is impossible, and that, unless you decide to hack the database of the company that you are applying for (please don't do that), you won't be able to do so. Still, even if you do not have access to the exact profile of your evil opponent, you may be able to draw a robot portrait. You may have some skills that some others won't have, and the other way around, so try to insist on your strengths and to make the interviewer understand that, even if you do not have this or that in your repertory, you are still the best pick. Find strong justification and give concrete examples. You have what it takes for this job, so show it.

4. Know yourself.This one is maybe the most important of all. Self-awareness is probably THE skill when it comes to interviewing. You need to tell a story, your story; so know it well, know it by heart, know everything there is to know about yourself and be confident in your approach. No, you are not perfect, yes you are probably missing some skills of the perfect candidate, but knowing it and how to use it to your advantage is crucial. Be aware of your strength, but even more so of your weakness. Keep it under control and pay extra attention to your weak spots during an interview. Last but not least, do not try to be someone else. You are not, and, unless you are a professional secret agent, you won't be credible. At some point it will play against you. So respect who you are and show the best part of it!

Fifth tip - Relax, this is just a job!

I know, you have the impression that you are betting your whole life on this. But relax. Putting this amount of pressure on your shoulders will probably lead only to a negative outcome. And to make things clear, this is just a job. As meaningful as it is for you, keep that in mind. Whatever should happen, the most important thing is to make sure that you won't have any regret. So do your best, make sure you did everything you can, and, in the end, just be proud of what you have achieved. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It never means you did anything wrong. Interviewing can be frustrating and self-damaging. If you fail to get the job of your dream, have a look at this, and I am sure that you will feel better on the spot. a look on this, I am sure you will feel better on the spot.

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