How to be the Better Candidate

By Dominic Chapman / December 01, 2017

How to be the Better Candidate

With competition rising for job roles in all disciplines, we believed it would only be right to help our StemX family discover our insider tips to being the better candidate. Being the better candidate gives you that edge which could be the make or break when it comes to securing a job. If it’s between two, we want it to be you.

To be the better candidate, it’s important to ensure the role suits you.

If you’re unenthusiastic, it will be spotted a mile off. If you’re not too keen on the role you’re applying for, consider whether you really need that specific role or whether there is something else that would be more appropriately suited to you. There is very little point trying for a job you evidently don’t want, as it will be fairly obvious to the employer, making it unlikely for them to offer it to you anyway. We feel that enjoying your job is an essential part of happiness and self-growth, and in most cases, people will apply for jobs that interest and engage them. Despite this, we understand that sometimes jobs are needed to fill a time period, to gain additional experience or to even give you those few extra pennies. In this case, and if you’ve come to the conclusion that the job application is something you want to pursue, ensuring you at least come across as enthusiastic will help you secure it. It’s all about making the best of a situation and taking what you can from an opportunity.

No experience is a bad experience.

This section is more directed to the younger of our StemX family. Following on from the above, sometimes we will have to go for jobs that don’t particularly excite us, and in this case, we take the experience from it to build on our skills and our CV’s. Gaining as much experience as possible is something that should be drilled into you since the age of 15, back in the school days where ‘work experience’ was mandatory. No matter what experience you do, whether you felt it was good or not, it will help you attain vital lessons that you can take forward with you on your career journey. Many companies are against taking people on if they have no proven experience, therefore, if you get as much work under your belt, be it paid or unpaid, you’re less likely to ever face this critique.

The employer will want to find the right employee, just as much as you want to find the right job.

To stand a better chance of being the better candidate, you need to really know what the job entails. Do your research into every role before going into the application process. This includes research about the company, too. Being successful for a job application is a two-way deal – the employer will need to want you as much as you want them. Make sure you get a real understanding of the kind of job it is and the certain skills you will need to be the best person for it. Extract this research and put it across in the application and to the employer.

When writing job applications, each individual one should be tailored to the job you’re applying for. An employer is much more likely to consider you if you have shown the initiative to read the advertisement and the requirements and demonstrated them in your application. In most cases, the job advertisement will give a brief summary of the company and a substantial outline of the role. The better advertisements will even have a list of what you’ll be doing in the role and the areas you’ll be expected to cover. In addition to this, they might describe the kind of person that they’re looking for, as well as the desired skills and qualifications the ideal candidate will possess. Read this, and try to address everything you possibly can in your application, be it through your CV or cover letter.

This is where having plenty of experience comes into hand. It’s all very well saying you have had experience doing something, but if it’s not evident in your application, they’re just words. To be the better candidate, you need to provide written examples of the skills you are stating you have. A good way of covering everything is by reading through the advertisement and creating a checklist of everything they ask for, from qualifications to having X-years experience. With this checklist to hand, you can go through your CV and ensure everything required has been mentioned. If you are addressing more personal skills, such as teamwork or listening skills, these can be put into your cover letter.

Put yourself in the right mindset.

This takes us on to the importance of being in the right mindset to achieve the job you’re after. Being in the right mindset means having a strong sense of ambition – as clich? as it sounds, you’ve got to be in it to win it. Be passionate and strong-minded about the job, because enthusiasm and confidence are easy to recognise.

Combine these tips, and you should be, or at least be able to put yourself forward as the better candidate. That dream job is one step closer.