Graduating soon? Our top tips for successful job applications and interviews

Author: Nyssa Starr, ECA WA Human Resources Manager

So the time has finally come. You’ve successfully passed your Capstone assessment, everything is up to date, and you’re just waiting on that final piece of paper to arrive confirming you have completed your apprenticeship and are now a fully-fledged electrician – congratulations!

Some of you may have been lucky enough to be offered a job with your Host Employer, and some of you may be asking yourself, what now? How do I prepare to apply for a new job? How do I prepare for an interview?

The first step is to write a good cover letter and resume.

How do I write a good cover letter?

A cover letter acts as a short introduction to your resume, tailored to the job you are applying for, and should be no longer than 1 page. When writing a cover letter, you should:

How do I write a good resume?

A resume (sometimes called a CV) is a document that lists your work experience, skills, education and key achievements. Keep your resume short (no more than 2 or 3 pages), to the point and easy to read. Avoid spelling mistakes, using fonts which are small and hard to read, long and cluttered paragraphs, poor formatting or distracting graphics. Remember, the recruiter will be looking at multiple resumes, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they need.

Microsoft Word has simple, easy to use cover letter and resume templates available which are a good starting point.

What should I include in my resume?

What shouldn’t I include in my resume?

Don’t include details in your resume such as your age, marital status, religion, full home address – these are irrelevant to whether you will be good at the job.

Should I tailor my resume for each job?

Yes. Just one of the reasons you should do this is because some companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to scan your resume. What does this mean? Basically, your resume is scanned by a bot which picks up keywords from the job posting and matches them to your resume before it is sent to a human to read. If your resume doesn’t contain the keywords the bot is looking for, chances are it won’t make it past the bot. That’s why you should change your cover letter and resume for each job you apply for, making sure you include the keywords from the job posting.

So, you’ve made it through to the most important part, the interview. What now?

How do I prepare for an interview?

In order to make a great first impression and keep that up throughout the whole interview, preparation is key. There are a number of simple things you can do to prepare for an interview, which include:

What types of questions might I get asked?

The simplest types of questions you will get asked at an interview are questions about your work experience and skills. These should be easy questions for you to answer because you will do these things on a daily basis. Stick to what is relevant to the job you are interviewing for.

Other types of questions you may get asked are situational or behavioural questions. These types of questions will start with words such as “tell me about a time when…” or “give me an example of…” An easy way to answer these questions is to use what is called the STAR method. There are plenty of examples of these types of questions and answers available on the Internet if you want to get some ideas.

Should I follow up after the interview?

If you haven’t heard back from the employer within the timeframe they gave you, there is no harm in following up with a quick email or phone call to see if a decision has been made.

So there you have it, a few small tips for applying and interviewing for a job.

Goodluck with your job search.

Published on: Thursday, 22 April 2021