I have recently decided to change career direction, and am thus starting over while studying in my newly-chosen field. What are the best ways to make myself stand out when applying for an entry-level position (such as receptionist)? As these positions often see a high volume of applicants, are there specific attributes which recruiters and employers look for (other than experience, which I have) that can make me stand out from the crowd? - Khumo
Thank you for your interesting question. As you mentioned, entry-level positions do see a very high volume of applicants, making it rather difficult to stand out. First and foremost, you need to have an attractive CV - it needs to be neat, formal and easy to read. One can never go wrong with a short motivational letter in opening your CV that is relevant to the role and company, rather than a generic letter that will immediately put the reader off.
Including a professional photograph of yourself is always effective, as it adds more of a personal touch, making the recruiter or employer notice that you would be a good fit for the organisation. Take charge of the situation and contact the person responsible for the role after you have sent your CV through to them - this will make them aware of your application as well as show them that you are driven and take initiative. Query whether or not the position is still vacant and ask what the process or way forward is in terms of interviewing for the role.
The ball is in your court once you have reached the interview stage. Make sure that you are formally dressed for the appointment and fully prepared assuring that you have all the necessary documentation that is required. Doing research on the company beforehand will always have a positive effect again, showing your edge and ambition.
Best of luck in your future endeavours!
Following up - when and how
Yesterday I attended an interview and the person that interviewed me told me that I was the 10th person they've interviewed for the role. How do I make sure they remember me after the interview, and hopefully consider me for the role? Thanks for your help. - Rudi
Thanks for your question. This is a major concern for anyone that goes for an interview, especially if you really love the role and company.
The best thing you can do is send a quick follow-up email to the person that interviewed you perhaps a day later, thanking them for their time in meeting with you and perhaps highlighting some of the best points of the interview. Did you discover you have something in common? Perhaps you have experience with a competitor that they really liked? Pinpoint any star points that happened in the interview. The main thing is to not come across as desperate but rather professional, humble and grateful. You could also volunteer to do a project in line with the role that would showcase your skills and experience. This will go a long way to help you stand out.
After about two weeks of not hearing anything (if this happens) you can give either the interviewer or your recruitment consultant a call to find out when they will be making a decision and reminding them that you're very interested in the role.
Hopefully by this time they would have made a decision and you would have stood out from the rest.
Best of luck!
Remember to always love what you do! Juliette
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Juliette Attwell is currently head of marketing and operations at Recruitgroup, a Level Three BEE contributor which was awarded the Best Recruitment Agency of the Year at the CareerJunction Awards in 2010 and 2012, as well as other industry honours. She holds a BCom in Industrial Psychology and Honours in Marketing Management. Juliette is also the resident "agony aunt" on the BizCareers Column.
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