CPD 23 Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

Identifying your strengths, capitalising on your interests
Unsurprisingly, one of my biggest passions revolves around books and reading.  (It might seem silly to mention this, but I went to library school with several people who were not at all interested in books, and I’ve worked in public libraries alongside members of staff who never read, which always seemed a little bizarre to me.)  At work, I like being part of a team, working with library users and dealing with enquiries (especially when they involve some digging around and use of detective-style search skills to find what you are looking for).  I’m flexible, friendly and I try to think of others.  Outside of work, I enjoy visiting new places, baking, watching live music, theatre, eating out, films, spending time with my family, friends and pets and having a go at anything creative (at the minute I’m dabbling in millinery).  Through participating in CPD 23, I’ve found myself enjoying the process of writing blog posts, and this is something I would like to do more of.
Despite the fact that I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked for a copy of my CV, I do keep it up to date, if only so that I have all the information that I need in one place when transfering it into application forms (and I dread to think how many hours of my life have been wasted on that activity!)
Application/Interview Tips
Over the years I seem to have had lots of experience of job applications.  I’ve got to the stage where I have a tried and tested method for the application forms. This involves going through the list of essential and desired criteria and writing a section one each on to clearly illustrate my skills or experience in that area, giving at least one example.  This seems to work for me and taking a methodical approach can help when filling in those intimidatingly long application forms we’ve all experienced.  (Why is it you always find a perfect job you want to apply for hours before the closing deadline?)
With interviews, I also try and prepare examples to use, as it’s important to illustrate what you’re talking about with specific details and to think about how you personally contributed to tasks.  I try to anticipate the questions that might be asked by researching the organisation and going through the job description. I think of plenty of examples in advance so I’m not desperately trying to think of a scenario to talk about when I’m put on the spot in the interview.  (Despite this, there have been many times when I’ve walked out of an interview and instantly thought of a perfect example I should have used!)  I don’t find it easy to talk about myself, so being prepared helps.  I’ve had my fair share of challenging interviews (being interviewed by a panel of children springs to mind!) but, my final tip would be to try and be confident in interviews.  If you’ve got as far as getting an interview then the panel already think you are capable of doing the job.  It’s also important to remember that the interview panel, however intimidating they might appear, should want you to do well and to be able to answer the questions; they’re not there to try and catch you out.

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