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Secrets of effective job hunting

FIRSTLY, CONGRATS on getting to interview stage. Your application has stood out against countless others, now it's just about making that connection in person. Nerves may very much be coming into play here, which is natural - but by considering the below, you may be putting yourself ahead of the pack, by doing something a little bit different to other candidates:

TIP 1: Social Intelligence
Remember, interviews are all about getting to know you better, ultimately working out if you connect with the business and your potential new boss. Research by CareerBuilder.co.uk has shown that 53 percent of employers research candidates online - including on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. Why should they have all the fun? You should be doing the same thing but not in attempt to catch anyone out - but in an attempt to get to know more about your interviewer. Remember, your upcoming interview is your chance to make a potential connection with the interviewer, so if you have any common ground, maximise on it.

Here's what you do:

1. Make sure you get the name(s)of your interviewers when the company calls or emails to tell you the good news of your interview- this is essential.

2. Check out their profile online both business and personal. This intelligence may be useful. If you find out that they are a competitive horseback rider and this was one of your favourite hobbies when you were younger, you can mention that winning a medal at a competition is one of your proudest life moments is (for example). If they have a full Linked in profile, you can also find out how long they've been at their current company and where they worked previously and if you have any similarities here, use that information as a way of connecting.

3. This may be stating the obvious, but it's all about using this intelligence sensibly. If Facebook told you that they had a 'big night' over the weekend - it is not your place to ask how they're 'feeling' if they have 'recovered' - no matter how friendly you can make that sound. Save that banter for when you get the job (if it's that kind of work environment).

TIP 2: Show and tell

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a demonstration of your claims may be worth a million. Regardless of what position you are going for, you can prepare a top three list of the things you would be keen to explore if you were to be offered the position, this could be an implementation from scratch or an increase of what's already being done.

Remember - your mission is NOT to claim that you know better than current employees (that may irk your interviewer), but to highlight that you've done enough research to have a clear idea of what you can really bring to the table. You can create this in a one-page proposal form, including a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis if you really want to go to town on it - a move which will clearly indicate that you have the ability to do what you claim you can do.

In interviews, remember not to forget any relevant work experience you have had that can demonstrate the skills you need for the job you are going for.

TIP 3: Fool Yourself out of your nerves!

Still worried that your nerves mean that you may hinder the opportunity you have? Here's an item you must take to your interview, however, this one is for your eyes only. This may involve a bit of a treasure hunt at home, but for this tactic, you need to have found a physical item which never ceases to make you smile.

From a silly photo of you and some friends to a comic book you used to love as a child; or a birthday card with hilarious cover art to a Linked In recommendation that you're proud of – maybe even something like a print out of the ridiculous lyrics of a catchy song or an image of your favourite meal. Make this object the last thing you look at before being called into your interview. Chances are, you'll meet your interviewer wearing a very real, sparkly smile... ensuring you make a dazzling first impression.

In considering adopting these tactics, bear in mind that they are an enhancement, not substitute for traditional interview tips such as preparing questions to ask your interviewer (a must!) and being well presented... but they are designed to give you the edge by making you stand out in a positive way.

Good luck!

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