I’ve had a fair bit of experience now with regards to job applications and interviews (she says somewhat mournfully), so apologies if this post rambles on!
One of the very hardest parts of job applications for me is indeed that very feeling of boasting. I find it difficult to get my head around the sort of ‘I’m really good because…’ type aspect of this part of the process. I’m just not terribly good at giving myself praise! The best piece of advice I was ever given for overcoming this distasteful state was given to me by my marvellous sister and has really helped me gain a different perspective. I shall now pass this pearl of wisdom on in the hope of aiding others who feel as I do. Her sage advice goes as follows… pretend you are writing about someone else! Works very well with me! I imagine I am simply describing someone who has the experience and skills that I have (spooky that)…I look from the outside in, as it were! It helps me to back-off and evaluate things properly without the feeling of blowing my own trumpet. Simple but effective!
I am nothing if not meticulous with the whole job application/ interview process- I go through the job description and person spec. with a fine toothed comb- I like to print this out and scribble notes all over it, linking in my experiences and identifying skills and strengths that I think I possess that will be of benefit and keying it into the description. As for interviews I am the epitome of ‘always be prepared’, I research the roles and institutions, think carefully about the job and try to pre-empt likely questions.
I’ve been fortunate so far to have been chosen to interview for a few positions, but alas despite my preparedness I have not yet squared the circle and gained the all-important (and much longed for) job. I always make a point of asking for feedback as to why I was unsuccessful in that particular instance and then endeavour to work on the issues raised (although they have only ever been minor points, which in itself can be quite frustrating). I have to say though that the most difficult piece of feedback I ever received was to be told that actually I was over qualified for the traineeship. This was hard simply because I didn’t (and still don’t) know exactly what to do with this ‘advice’. I feel that I would benefit hugely from a trainee position; it would give me a chance to capitalise on all that I have learned so far, extend my skills even further and give me invaluable professional experience in readiness for my next step. So I have endeavoured to get voluntary experience and qualifications which I thought would really improve my chances of gaining such a role, but then to be told that in effect I may have rather over egged the pudding was a bit of a kick in the teeth to say the least! What am I to do? I find myself in an uncomfortable catch-22 position. I can’t rescind my experience (I wouldn’t want to) but I’m left in an awkward no man’s land- too ‘qualified’ (supposedly and certainly not in my view) for a traineeship but if I applied for more professional roles I imagine I would be told I lack enough experience. It’s a bit of a pickle! I know what I want to do and how I think I can get there but I’m afraid I won’t be given the chance and that, sadly, is really disheartening especially when you are as passionate as I am. I have found ‘the love of my working life’ (I want to be a librarian), but alas at the moment it is unrequited!
Changing tack a bit now, I shall attempt to answer the questions posed at the beginning of the cpd23 post:
Q: What do you like to do?
A: Crafts (sorry not strictly work related, but it did give me pause for thought thinking about the transferable skills I can glean from this).
Q: Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? What was it about?
A: In ‘crafty’ terms, I’ve just learned how to do pick-ups on my inkle loom (here’s a bit about inkle weaving if anyone is interested), which means I can create pretty designs in my weaving and thereby extend my repertoire!
Q: What skills do you need to do the things you like?
- Attention to detail
- Ability to follow instructions
- Ability to learn from mistakes/problem solving
- Self-motivation/ perseverance (blimey crafts are really rather good for self-development!)
Q: What do you dislike?
A: Goat’s cheese, but that’s beyond the point! Rudeness though is a big one…but I always try to counter this with politeness!