Making the Shortlist for Job Interviews

InterviewsA lot of factors are considered before an employer can call an individual for a job interview. Most of the time, preparing yourself well gets you the results you require. If you have had the time to fill out an application then you might as well do it much better and effectively sell yourself in order to be shortlisted and called for an interview.

Some of the pointers discussed below will show you what is expected of you and what you need to do to get the opportunity to be called for an interview if you put in the effort to sell yourself positively to your potential employer.

Job Description and Person Specification

Employers will hire the one who meets the requirements of their job description and personnel specification, so always do background research on the job you are applying for thoroughly as this will not only give you an idea of what will be expected of you, it will also enable you to put your skills and experience into perspective and in a comprehensive order.

When writing your CV or filling out forms for a job, read and pay attention to important details outlining some of the “essentials” and the “desirables” applicable to you, paying particular attention to and highlighting certain keywords that will enable you to “sell” what matches positively with your strengths.

For instance, if the job description states that the qualified person must be able to do management tasks, you have to be able to outline your management abilities and what makes you stand out from the crowd or what makes your work unique. Give reasons why you are the best person for the job and why you should be hired. In this instance an example may be, “Apart from managing the finances of my workplace within budgetary constraints and to meet current demands to ensure that my entire expenditure allocated for the year has been catered for, I am able to save enough money that can be rolled over to the coming year.” In this example, not only have you explained that you are good at managing the budget of the workplace, but that you also saved enough money for your company. Any employer would like to employ someone who knows how to make a profit.

You can then go to the next step by giving an example of how you did this with figures, providing credibility to your experience. For example, you may say “my budget for year 2010 was $101,000, my expenditure for that year was $70,000 and I saved $31,000 due to spending appropriately within budgetary constraints.”

Always remember that the ones who express themselves realistically on paper to the panel selecting for the interview get the jobs, so do not be afraid to “sing the praises of your achievements.” In this case, you have an added advantage over someone who just wrote, “I am able to manage the finances of my organization within budgetary constraints.”

Read Around the Job You are Applying For

Read similar topics on the subject matter of your interview as this gives you an in-depth understanding of the position and broadens your knowledge on the subject matter. It prepares you to answer questions effectively and prepares you for an interview.

Transferable Skills

Skills can be transferred to other jobs, so certain aspects of your current job can be transferred to the new position you are applying for. The employer will never know this unless you make note of it and describe how such skills can be used in this new work environment.

For example, you can say that you succeeded in managing a clothing line for five years and within that time, that clothing line soared in profits. In turn, managing a food chain will allow you to transfer aspects of managing finances within budgetary constraints and this will help you aim to turn the sales of the food chain into profits as well.

Package Yourself in Your CV or Job Proposal.

You are selling yourself so you need to polish your talents and skills when putting them on paper. Always remember that a lot of people want to be hired for that one job, so if you had the time to fill in an application pack you might as well do it well. Sell yourself excellently because the employer will hire only the best.

Putting important points first

Always write your best achievements from your first paragraph until paragraph five, then you can elaborate as you go further. “Catch” the interest of the employer reading your CV or job proposal.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

Please write constructively, minding your grammar, spelling and the content you put on paper. Get someone to proofread to ensure that most of what you have put down is legible and makes sense.

Write Down What You Think Will Be Asked at the Interview

After you have read around what your interview might entail, try and come up with some of the possible questions you think will be asked. Do not become too theoretical but utilize practical ways of problem solving. Always remember that employers like to hire people who will find real solutions to the challenges that come with the job and not the ones who will come and recite what they can do as if it is a textbook. Most employers can feel the textbook “chew and pour” interviewee, even on paper. This is where you stand a chance of effectively expressing your abilities, experience and skills.

These are some of the areas you need to look at when you are filling in an application pack for a job interview to enable you to be short listed and be called for an interview.

Guest Expert:

Lydia Anti is the CEO of Lydia Anti and Associates, specializing in coaching, mentorship and personal development. Anti attended the Ghana Institute of Journalism and is a member of the Ghana Journalist Association. After living in Walthamstow, United Kingdom, for much of her life, she now resides in Accra, Ghana. Learn more on her website at

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