The job application process in a nutshell

14 Nov 2021
Over the past few months, we have shared tips with you to help you find your ideal job and to increase your chances of success in the different phases of your job application.

These are the topics we covered to help you find & get your dream job:

In this article, we will summarize the most important tips of the past few weeks.

Stop dreaming and find your dream job. Now!

Many people don’t like their job. Many of us would prefer to do something else. But what would that be? Have you already thought about this? What does your ideal job look like?

There are several ways to define your ideal job. In our article How to define your dream job in 3 easy steps you could read how you can find your ideal job by answering 3 questions:

  • What do you want from your job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What does the market need?

If you answer these questions, if you prioritize your answers and if you then search for the point where your answers have overlap or show similarities, you will probably have a clear enough picture to start your application process with a clear goal in mind.

For more information on this strategy to identify your ideal job, please read the article How to define your dream job in 3 easy steps.

filling in linkedin profileProper written communication is a must

In our article 21 1/2 Tips for written communication during the application process, we briefly discussed how you can optimize your resume, motivation letter, emails and online identity for a successful application process. We discussed, among other things, that:

  1. You should always be honest about your knowledge and experience.
  2. You may want to customize your resume to every single job description.
  3. You should try to be complete and concise! Nobody likes to read long resumes.
  4. Everybody is unique. So avoid writing generic motivation letters.
  5. A job interview is not about you, but about the added value you bring to the table.
  6. Internet and social media are for public use. Keep an eye on your image and privacy!

For more information on these and other tips to further improve your written communication skills, please refer to our article about written communication during the application process.

3 Questions to rule them all

In our article 3 Questions to prepare for your interview we discussed how you can prepare for your job interview by answering some simple questions:

  • Where do you want me to start?
  • Who are they, what do they do and where do they want to go?
  • Who is sitting on the other side of the table?

You can hardly overestimate the importance of good preparation for your interview. In your preparation, concentrate mainly on the needs of the company and how you can be an added value in meeting those needs.

Again, a job interview is not about you but about finding the most suitable candidate for a particular job! Don’t emphasize on how good you are, but how you well you fit for this specific job! For more tips, please read our tips to prepare for your job interview.

Feeling ready for a job interview?

There is more to it than meets the ear!

The majority of our communication takes place via our body language. During your job interview, nonverbal communication is therefore just as important as verbal communication.

In our article 10 Tips for verbal and nonverbal communication during your job interview, we concentrated on a number of tips for good verbal and nonverbal communication during your job interview. We discussed, among other things, the importance of:

  • keep eyecontact during job interviewthe first eye contact and the first handshake
  • physical care and appropriate clothing
  • a confident attitude
  • a pleasant volume, intonation and rhythm in your voice
  • a positive attitude
  • brief and complete answers

We also focused on the fact that you probably know more about your future job than the recruiter does. And that this does not imply that you have to explain everything in detail. The recruiter will never be the only person deciding about your application. A content expert will also be involved. So wait patiently for the substantive questions and try not to be the all-knowing professor.

Help the recruiter so he or she can help you!

Even after your job interview, you can further optimize your chances of success. In our article First aid after a job interview, we focused on the fact that the recruiter will become an ally after the job interview. At that point, the evaluation has usually already taken place. If you are considered suitable for the job then the recruiter will do everything to support your candidacy.

Optimize your chances by making the job of the recruiter as simple as possible. Make it easy for him or her to help you. A few tips to survive and thrive after a job interview:

  1. Make sure you always communicate quickly and accurately.
  2. Good advice is often mistaken for negative feedback. Embrace good advice!
  3. Dare to ask questions if you get insufficient feedback.
  4. Apply like you mean it! Continue to follow the company.
  5. Stay optimistic! Learn, improve and continue.

Applications are intense experiences. There are often many emotions involved. This may have an amplifying effect but it can also pull you into a downward spiral of doubt. Make sure you learn from every experience. Then you will only get stronger!

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Application tips

Tips to complete your LinkedIn profile and get noticed!

08 Nov 2021
Earlier we shared 5 tips to increase your success on LinkedIn. We discussed, among other things, the importance of a complete LinkedIn profile. According to Linkedin, a 100% complete LinkedIn profile makes you 40(!) times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.

In this article we share 8 tips to complete your LinkedIn profile and to optimize your online visibility and findability. Having a LinkedIn profile is just the beginning. Having a complete profile is your gateway to success. So let’s get started!

Why you should complete your LinkedIn profile

There are 3 good reasons to complete your LinkedIn profile:

1. Completing your LinkedIn profile is very rewarding

Having a 100% complete profile makes you 40(!) times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. And since only 50.5% of all LinkedIn profiles are complete, you can beat half the competition by following the tips below!

2. Completing your LinkedIn profile helps you outside of LinkedIn too

Just like LinkedIn, online search engines such as Google prefer 100% complete LinkedIn profiles and rank them higher as a result. So completing your profile will improve your online visibility and findability outside LinkedIn too!

3. Completing your LinkedIn profile is easy

LinkedIn has a guided ‘Improve your Profile tool’ that walks you through all the steps to complete and improve your profile. The process couldn’t be easier. But before you head over to LinkedIn, please consider the tips below!

linkedin profile strengthHow complete is your profile?

You can assess your profile’s completeness by viewing the Profile Strengths meter to the right of your LinkedIn profile. This meter is a graphical representation of your profile’s completeness, and it is only visible to you.

Your Profile Strengths meter will look like one of the figures to the right. We want to shoot for the All-Star status for the aforementioned reasons. Ready, Set, Go!

How to get a 100% complete LinkedIn profile

In order to get a 100% complete profile, LinkedIn wants you to:

  • Complete the sections of your profile that you have direct control over.LinkedIn requires you to complete your professional information, your summary, your skills & expertise, your education details, your current position and work history to receive a 100% complete score.LinkedIn no longer requires you to have recommendations by others to get a 100% complete score because you can’t force such recommendations.
  • Regularly update your LinkedIn profile and your status updatesIn order to get and keep your 100% complete profile score, LinkedIn requires you to update your profile and to post status updates on a regular basis. Do you like a colleague’s status update? Like it. Do you like a particular article? Share it. Did you take a course or did you receive an award? Put it on your profile. Try to aim for at least one profile and/or status update per week.
Is your LinkedIn profile finished and are you ready to start your job hunt?

8 steps to complete your LinkedIn profile

The following 8 steps will help you complete your LinkedIn profile:

1. Use a professional photo

According to LinkedIn, adding a profile photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in LinkedIn searches. However, having a bad photo may be even worse than having no photo at all.

Therefore use a professional close-up photo that clearly shows your face, even in the small thumbnail on your timeline. Look sharp, professional and engaging. A friendly smile is an extra bonus!

Bonus Tip: Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Use a head shot with a clean white background. Having a profile picture with a white background makes your picture blend with LinkedIn’s looks and feel and it puts more emphasis on you.

a linkedin profile is important2. Craft an informative headline and mention your industry and location

Your headline is important. Very important! Your headline shows up wherever people hover over your name. Your headline also shows up in Google’s search results. Your headline should convince people to pull your profile.

You only have 120 characters to tell others what you (want to) do, so choose your words wisely. Don’t feel obliged to put your current position and company here. Try to emphasize your skills and expertise instead.

Try to use the words that others use when they are looking for someone with your skills and expertise. Put yourself in their position. Adding a creative touch certainly helps to remember your profile, but stay professional at all times.

Right underneath your headline, you can define your industry and locations. Please do so. LinkedIn requires you to complete these sections because they use this information to link your profile with other profiles in their database.

3. Craft an engaging summary

Your summary is the digital equivalent of your elevator pitch. As we discussed here, a good elevator pitch is:

  • Short, clear and easy to retell
  • A bridge between your past and your future
  • Honest and personal
  • Not carved in stone

Make your summary sound personal and conversational. Write in the first person, not the third person. And write about your own skills, expertise, accomplishments, interests and ambitions, not just about your current position and company!

Paint an honest, engaging and professional picture of yourself. Don’t just write a summary to list your skills and expertise. Write a summary to convince others to contact you for interesting business opportunities.

4. Add your current position with a descriptionfilling in linkedin profile

LinkedIn requires you to describe your current position. If you have a job, clearly state your function, your responsibilities, your tasks and your accomplishments. Illustrate your added value to your current employer.

Are you a student or unemployed, then use this section to highlight your passion, skills and expertise. Describe what you (want to) do to pursue your dream and to land your dream job, and describe how you can help your ideal company.

5. Add your previous work history

LinkedIn requires you to add your previous work history to your LinkedIn profile. Their reward is generous: Adding your 2 most recent positions makes your profile 12x more likely to be found on LinkedIn!

List all relevant(!) jobs and activities from the past. Internships can be relevant, but don’t mention your summer job as a pizza delivery boy if you are applying for a management consulting job with a high profile agency.

6. Add at least 4 skills and fields of expertise

Use the Skills & Expertise section to highlight at least 4 skills & fields of expertise. Your connections will be automatically invited to recommend you for these skills and fields of expertise, so make sure they cover your skillset well.

7. Include your education details

LinkedIn requires you to complete your education details. Therefore mention all your relevant higher education degrees. Don’t mention your highschool, start with your higher education.

If you want to, you can put your majors and/or the title and a link to your dissertation here. Awards and/or special mentions (summa cum laude, anyone?) can be mentioned here as well.

8. Get connected: add at least 50 connections

LinkedIn makes it very easy to connect with others. Just click here to connect with all your business contacts in your Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail or any other e-mail’s address books. It is that simple. And it is required to get your 100% complete profile score.

No time to waste. Complete your LinkedIn profile now!

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Personal branding: Build your own brand. Now!

16 Oct 2021
Twenty years ago LinkedIn did not yet exist. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram neither. Nowadays anyone with a computer and an internet connection can build connections and share information with the entire world. This offers huge opportunities for your future job searches and your career in general.

In this article, you will discover how to strengthen your network, visibility and findability through personal branding. Through personal branding, you can distinguish yourself from other applicants. And you can ensure that interesting jobs will find you, even if you are not yet actively looking for a new job.

The importance of personal branding for your career

Let’s say there are 10 applicants for a particular job, and one of these candidates has a blog where she shares information and her opinion about her field. She is also active on other social media and as a result, she has a large network of engaged followers. Which candidate do you think has the biggest chance to be invited for a job interview?

And who do you think is the first in line for a management position that requires vision and leadership? A manager with a paper resume or a manager who inspires and shares his knowledge online? That’s right! The latter will be contacted regularly, even if she is not yet looking for a new job.

Start building your personal brand. Now!

Social media are useful tools to expand your personal brand, network, visibility and findability. But it takes time and energy. Therefore, you need a targeted and phased approach and a great deal of perseverance. Some tips to gradually build your brand:

  1. Select the social media that suit you

Handle social media consciously. Especially if you have little experience with it. First, decide on your goals. Then choose the social networks that support these goals. You do not have to participate in every social network. Certainly not in the beginning. In real life you cannot attend all parties either, can you?

Do you want to expand your network? Then start completing your LinkedIn profile. Do you want to increase your findability? Use keywords in your profiles. Do you like fast communication? Twitter may be your thing. Do you make videos? Open a YouTube or Instagram channel. Do you want to share presentations? Use SlideShare.

Whatever you do, make sure that ‘your’ social media suit you and that they support your professional goals and your personal brand. For this reason, Facebook, which is more informal, is maybe less ‘professional’ when it comes to applying for a job.

2. Listen, comment, share and let others share. In that order.

Social media are often compared with receptions (or pubs, depending on who you ask). At a reception, you don’t join a group of people to take over the conversation, do you? The same rules of conduct apply to social media. First,, listen to what others have to say, then make smart comments, follow up by sharing useful information and only promote your own message after you’ve established your position in the group.

On LinkedIn for example, first look at the information others are sharing through status updates. Then examine the dynamics of the most important LinkedIn groups for your field of expertise. Which blog posts, questions and opinions are shared and who is active in these groups? Also look at Twitter and Google+. Find friends, colleagues and thought leaders and listen to what they have to say.

Once you fully understand the dynamics of the conversations you can react appropriately. Like, share/retweet or respond to status updates from your network. This way you give recognition to others and you can share interesting information with your network. This is a win-win: you help others spread their message, and you provide your network with hand-picked gems of information.

Subsequently, you can select and share useful information yourself. For example, if you have read an interesting blog post then you can share it with your network. And preferably write your opinion on it or an opinion or question that provokes reactions. In this way, you will become an interesting conversation partner.

When you have established your place in your network then you can finally share your own blog posts, podcasts, articles on Medium and other content (but never exclusively or predominantly). That way you will gradually be seen as a source of information and inspiration. If you have arrived at this point, it may be time for the next step in personal branding.

Are you ready for a job interview?

3. Build your own stage

If you have the knowledge, experience and a clear opinion about your field of expertise, then you can build your own stage where you can interact with your audience. By this time you will most likely already have an audience (your social networks). You just need to take the last step: start your own blog, podcast, Medium, Instagram channel or website to share your thoughts with the rest of the world.

A blog can be created in 8 minutes or less. However, updating a blog takes a lot of time, energy and discipline. But you will get a huge reward. Your visibility, findability, brand and network will expand quickly when you regularly publish new articles, pictures, presentations and/or videos on your blog. And you will learn a great deal from your audience!

If you then share your content via social media (with a link back to your website) and if you invite people to share it further then you will attract more and more visitors to your website. And the more people visiting your blog or website, the higher you will end up in Google’s search results. And the higher you end up in search results … the more people (and recruiters) will find you. You get the idea!

As a side note, you don’t have to wait to build your platform until you have an audience on other social media. Starting a blog or website can even be a tool to create and engage an audience from scratch. However, kickstarting your blog (and the discussions on your blog) with your existing networks is much easier.

4. Protect your brand

Last but not least: protect your personal brand! Try to avoid or protect controversial pictures on Facebook and stay polite on the internet. At all times! Many recruiters will ‘Google’ you before they contact you. Make sure you will be proud of the picture they get from you.

As your network and online visibility grows, you will also increasingly have to deal with people who disagree and who openly express their feelings via comments on your status updates, blog posts, etc. Always choose “the high road”. Stay polite and continue to help others. This will also contribute to your personal brand.

Personal branding takes time, so start now!

In this article we briefly discussed how you can expand your personal brand, your network, your visibility and your findability in 4 steps. In short:

  • Select the networks (LinkedIn, Twitter …) that suit you and your professional goals. Be selective to get results with minimal time investment.
  • Gradually join the conversions in these networks. Listen to others, help others and promote your own content only in a mix with content from others.
  • Build your own stage (blog/website) to post and share your messages. This will increase your online visibility and findability drastically.
  • Protect your brand by being courteous. You only have one brand. Make sure you are proud of the online image others will get to see of you.

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21 ½ tips for written communication during the application process

14 Aug 2021
Congratulations! You have found a job that fits you like a glove! What now? Everybody is able to write a standard resume, motivation letter and e-mail. But how do you ensure that your application stands out positively with a recruiter?

Written communication is often your ‘first foot in the door’ of a recruiter and/or new employer. So the importance of this communication cannot be overestimated. In this article, we will discuss how you can increase your chances of success. Good luck!

Navigate this article:

One chance to make a first impression

This is a strong cliché. And with reason! It is often difficult to find a vacancy that suits you perfectly. So if you succeed in finding one, you better maximize your chances of success. Written communication is usually the first contact with the recruiter and/or your future employer, so you can never spend too much care.

Everybody can write a resume. Or not?

Ah… a resume! The most common means to apply for a job. The obligatory section with your personal information is usually followed by your work experience, education, any other skills and a short description of your hobbies.

However… recruiters are receiving a lot of resumes. How do you ensure that your resume stands out? The following tips will help you to let your resume stand out from the competition.

  1. Honesty is the best policy!
    Be honest about your previous experiences, responsibilities and results. When hired (or worse: during the interview) you don’t want to make a poor show, right?
  2. Adjust your resume to the job description
    Of course, you cannot twist the truth, but you may emphasize certain points in order to meet the needs and demands of the job description as closely as possible.
  3. Write a short objective
    Briefly describe in your resume what you’re looking for and how your strengths can help others. This personal objective of 5 to 10 lines fits perfectly underneath the section with your personal data.
  4. Break the myth of 1 or 2 pages
    As a project manager with 20 years experience, it can be difficult to describe a career in 1 or 2 pages. Concentrate therefore on completeness and accuracy but stick to the point. For a starter, it is advisable to keep it short and concise.
  5. Appearance also counts!
    A CV with spelling mistakes is a missed opportunity. So make sure several people read and improve your resume. And don’t forget the layout as well! Use a readable font, pleasant font size and enough whitespace. Simplicity matters!
  6. Check for completeness
    Make sure you don’t forget details. Particularly make sure that your phone number and email address are clearly readable so that the recruiter is able to contact you immediately. Also, don’t forget to state your availability (immediately, from …). If you weren’t contacted via LinkedIn, then add a link to your LinkedIn profile via a clickable LinkedIn icon in the PDF.Same goes for your website, if you have a website with all your accomplishments, graphical work, clients or projects, which is often the case for freelancers or creatives, make sure to add this website to the resume.
  7. Say cheese!
    A picture on your resume? This is completely up to you! As a consultancy firm, we, of course, don’t discriminate on looks. If you have a professional picture of yourself with a sober background (one color), you can add it. This is often done in creative jobs, jobs in fashion, sales or entertainment… It adds some personality to the resume.If you do not have a professional picture of yourself, it will be better to only impress with the content of your resume.

A motivation letter: sense or nonsense?

A motivation letter is not always necessary, but it may help to convince a recruiter as it enables you to express your personal motives for your application. In case of doubt between two equal candidates, the best motivation letter can be the deciding factor.

Some tips for a good motivation letter:

  • Avoid a standard motivation letter
    On the web you can find a lot of templates and examples of motivation letters. But a motivation letter is something very personal. So preferably write the letter yourself. This way you can distinguish yourself much better and fairer.
  • Further develop the personal objective of your resume
    In the short objective in your resume, you can briefly state your expectations and strengths. Don’t copy this text but go more into detail and describe how you can help your future team and employer with your skills.
  • There is no “I” in TEAM
    A letter of application is not about you! The purpose of a letter of application is to find the best possible candidate for a job. Therefore you should describe your added value to your future employer. Try using the word ‘we’ as much as the word ‘I’.10 ½ : Take a red and a green pen. Circle the word ‘I’ in red and the word ‘we’ in green. Are you seeing more red than green circles? Adjust your motivation letter and do the exercise again.
  • Look after the content and form!
    Again be complete, accurate and to the point. Avoid long sentences and difficult words, and make sure every sentence counts. Recruiters are daily reading dozens of letters. Help the recruiter and yourself with a short personal letter that really adds something.
  • ‘It will be my pleasure to discuss my qualifications in an interview’
    End your letter with a sentence that invites the recruiter to contact you. Sign your letter with a handwritten signature. This adds a personal touch and can be just that little bit extra!

 

Ready to find that dream job and apply?

 

Often forgotten but absolutely important: the e-mail

Nowadays resumes and motivation letters are almost never sent by post. If you cannot upload your resume and motivation letter to the website of the company you are applying with, then it is of equal importance to reflect on the email with which you are sending your application.

Some tips for a good accompanying e-mail:

  • A clear subject line:
    Be brief and clear: Briefly mention the position you are applying for. Recruiters often work on several jobs simultaneously. So make sure your recruiter will be able to instantly scan and find your email.
  • PDF files must always work:
    Add your resume and motivation letter as attachments to the email. Send your CV and motivation letter in pdf format to be fully compatible with all operating systems.
  • Courtesy goes a long way:
    Always be polite in your communications. Never address the recruiter with ‘hey’ or ‘hello’, but with ‘dear’ or ‘Mr/Mrs’. When addressing the recruiter preferably use a personal approach as well. ‘Dear Lord ’ will be a good start!
  • Be brief, powerful, yet inviting:
    Then briefly mention the position you are applying for and invite the recruiter to view the attachments. Conclude with an inviting phrase such as ‘Thanks in advance for your reply’.
  • Don’t forget your contact details!
    Even though your contact information is mentioned in your resume and motivation letter, it is always a good idea to repeat this information in your e-mail as well. Make the recruiter’s work easier. Each additional step the recruiter has to take to contact you will reduce your chances of success.

Social media: Do you like what we see?

a linkedin profile is importantSocial media are more and more used as a recruiting tool. Both by applicants and recruiters. According to StandoutCV, 91% of all employers are currently using social media to find candidates. So be aware of the fact that recruiters are increasingly checking your online profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Do you like what we see?

 

  1. No infringement of your privacy!
    If a recruiter decides to view your profile online then this is not a violation of your privacy. You are responsible for the content that you post online. You only have one reputation. Don’t throw it up for grabs on the internet!
  2. Check your private settings:
    Check if certain parts of your online profile are protected against strangers. For example, it is not advisable to give recruiters (unintentionally) access to pictures of your parties during the weekend.
  3. Google images:
    Don’t assume pictures are removed from the web after you delete them. For a while pictures can often be found back by using Google images. So take care of the pictures you are publishing of yourself, and in severe cases contact Google to help you remove the pictures from their index.
  4. Don’t add recruiters (except on LinkedIn)
    Separate your work and private life. Don’t immediately invite your recruiter on Facebook. You can make a connection on LinkedIn as this platform is mainly used for professional purposes. Just make sure your LinkedIn profile is – and will stay – complete and up to date!

Getting started on your written communication

In this article, we have given some practical tips to optimize your written communication during the application process. Again, the importance of this communication can hardly be overestimated. So pay enough attention to it.

Be complete, friendly, accurate and to the point, and make sure you deserve the attention of the recruiter. The run-up to your job interview is the first natural selection in the application process. Make sure you are among the lucky ones!

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First aid after a job interview: reduce stress & get the job

07 Aug 2021
Phew! Your job interview has come to an end. What a relief! Maybe you are (in)secure, (dis)satisfied or perhaps you have feelings of despair? This is absolutely normal. It is even normal for these feelings to change when mentally reviewing your job interview.

But now it is up to the recruiter and his or her colleagues. Together they will judge your application. In this article, you will discover useful tips on how to minimize your stress and optimize your chances of success after the job interview.

The recruiter as an advisor

After your interview, the recruiter will evolve from an evaluating role to an advisory role. So treat the recruiter as an ally, not as an examiner. Make proper agreements and ensure accurate communication. Help the recruiter, so he or she can help you!

A recruiter will hardly ever be the only decision-maker in an application process; this is usually done in consultation. It will be the responsibility of the recruiter to provide feedback to you and the company and to follow up on your application. And you are the one who can help with that!

job fairsFor example, when a recruiter is asking for additional information, such as a copy of your diplomas, an additional reference or an extra motivation, this will likely be to support your application and not because the recruiter is having doubts about your knowledge or skills.

Clear communication will make a good impression

Make sure you always communicate in a fast and accurate manner and inform the recruiter when you are no longer available. Honest and accurate communication is professional and … you never know if you will ever need this recruiter again.

To avoid nail-biting and sleepless nights, it will be useful to make clear agreements at the end of the job interview about the time period in which you can expect feedback. Agree on a specific time or at least a fixed time period. This way, you will not need to harass the recruiter on a daily basis with your calls and e-mails. Less is more!

There is no such thing as negative feedback!

Everybody is entitled to feedback! Both positive and negative feedback. But is there really something like negative feedback? Some tips on how to deal with ‘negative’ feedback:

Don’t consider ‘negative’ feedback as criticism but as advice that may help you in the long run. Although the initial message (you have not gotten the job) can be negative, the explanation does not necessarily need to be so.

Negative feedback is actually a positive thing: the recruiter wants to help you. So, therefore, don’t immediately start to defend but take a step back and try to identify the learning points that can help you in the future.

keep eyecontact during job interviewDon’t blame the messenger!

‘Negative’ feedback is no reason to become angry with anyone. Not with the recruiter and not with yourself. Applications are not about you! The job interview is used to find the most suitable candidate for a particular job. If this is you, then that’s a bonus!

Maybe this time another candidate was slightly a better fit. Try to accept this and appreciate the arguments and tips the recruiter gave you. Consider this as free advice. It will make you stronger if you put it to good use.

Dare to ask questions

If you get to hear a negative result (you have not gotten the job) and receive not enough feedback, then feel free to ask questions. However, apply these questions only to yourself and not to other candidates.

Questions like “Where should I pay more attention to in the future?” are best not asked immediately after the interview. This can make you look insecure. Ask these questions when you get (possibly not enough) feedback from the recruiter.

Interested in a new opportunity?

Then we would love to hear from you!

Follow up on the company’s activities

It is wise to also keep in touch with the recruiter after the job interview and keep yourself informed about future job openings at the company. You never know if your profile will qualify in the future.

Stay optimistic!

Did you not get your dream job this time? Don’t worry. Make sure you convert the feedback immediately into action points. Get started and learn from every experience. This can make you stronger but it can also pull you into a downward spiral of doubt.

Do you still remember how you learned to ride a bike? You often fell but eventually, you learned how to ride because after every fall you climbed on again as quickly as possible. In the same way, try to keep up the momentum in your applications. Go right back to work!

calling and leaving voicemail for job interviewHello Mr. President?

Maybe you are outraged by the attitude or performance of a recruiter. At such times you might want to speak to a ‘higher authority’. This is your right, but be careful … you might hurt the feelings of the recruiter which could reduce your chances in the future. Again, your recruiter is your ally. Treat each other with respect.

And finally: Money, money, money…

If all the steps of your application process went well, you may expect a salary proposal from the company. Your salary will usually be formulated by the recruiter or an HR employee.

A salary proposal is usually realistic in the context of a specific job at a specific company. One might consider your skills and experience, the budget of the company and often your position in the company. If you feel disappointed about the salary proposal, then keep your emotions under control and think about the following:

Don’t compare apples and oranges!

A salary proposal can contain several elements such as a company car, medical insurance, meal allowance, etc … So, evaluate the bigger picture and when you received another salary proposal then make sure to compare both proposals carefully.

Don’t fixate on salary calculations on job websites. There are many individual aspects (of yourself, the company, the sector, your intended position at the company …) determining your final salary. Salary calculations on job sites are often very general. Therefore consider these calculations as average indications and don’t fixate on the amounts you encounter there.

Consider all the factors

When evaluating, consider all the factors that determine your personal happiness. Perhaps a less paid job will offer a better work-life balance, reduced travel times, a better work atmosphere, more opportunities for training and growth. Do you want to work to live or live to work? Make a choice that suits you well.

Don’t compromise your application

Do not set unreasonable demands and be honest in your negotiations. If you don’t do this, the company might pull back. Poker bluff sometimes works, but you will be disappointed most of the time. So be honest and develop realistic expectations.

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10 Tips for verbal and nonverbal communication in job interviews

26 Jul 2021
Good preparation for a job interview is half the battle, but your performance during the interview is obviously critical to increase your chances of success. In this article, we will discuss 10 tips for a good job interview. The focus will be on the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication.

THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN MEETS… THE EAR!

Scientific research shows that our communication is primarily determined by nonverbal communication! What we say and how we say it is important, but our body language is possibly even more important. So during a job interview, you will need to pay attention to your verbal and your nonverbal communication.

5 TIPS FOR NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION DURING JOB INTERVIEWS

Hello there!

The first impression is important. Very important! So start your job interview with a confident handshake and nod to your recruiter’s colleagues. This will give you an immediate advantage.

Physical care and clothing

It may sound obvious, but make sure you are looking good and clean. Avoid unpleasant odors like smoke and sweat, make sure your hands are clean and that your hair is not in a mess. A good candidate takes good care of himself or herself.

body language in a job interview

Start thinking about your ‘stage outfit’ a few days before your interview. This way you will have enough time to shine on stage without any additional stress. Choose an outfit that looks good, corresponds to the dress code and makes you feel good. Allow plenty of travel time! This way you will not need to run and sweat. Don’t smoke prior to your job interview and put a bottle of deodorant and a brush or comb in your bag. These are details that can make a huge difference.

Be confident!

During your job interview try to sit upright with your back against the backrest of your seat. And try to make direct eye contact. Don’t stare or look around all the time. Make sure you are giving the impression that you are alert and interested.

Don’t sit out the entire job interview in the same position. This will harm the quality of the interview and it will hurt your back! You can easily change your position by, for example, tilting your head to the right. Through this small movement, you will subconsciously look reliable and professional.

body language personal space Respect the personal space

Respect the ‘personal space’ of the recruiter. You don’t need to convince the recruiter by leaning as close as possible against him or her. Make sure you are not sitting or standing closer than 1 m and not more than 3 meters away from your recruiter.

Don’t exaggerate!

Ensure a balance between subtle movements and a ‘stiff’ posture. Try not to continuously wave your arms and hands throughout the job interview. This may be perceived as disturbing. The same applies to someone who is not moving at all.

‘Mirroring’ is a natural way of moving which lets you gain the trust of your recruiter. By imitating the movement of your recruiter in a subtle and natural manner (crossing legs, arms on the table, hand under the head…) you will indicate that you agree with the recruiter. This way you can make a subconscious ‘connection’.

Are you ready for a job interview?

5 TIPS FOR VERBAL COMMUNICATION DURING JOB INTERVIEWS

‘The voice’

Speak with a clear volume and take care of your pronunciation, intonation and rhythm. Provide variety in your intonation and speak in a calm manner. Concentrate on your breathing while speaking. This avoids a hasty impression.

Further, avoid filler words, such as ‘yes’,’ uhm’ and ‘so’, and definitely don’t sigh after a question. Use short and simple sentences, finish your sentences and stick to the structure of the job interview.

Always look on the bright side of life

Always be positive when telling your story. Don’t tell just what went wrong in previous experiences, but also discuss how you solved issues and which lessons you learned while doing so. Always be honest in your answers and always emphasize the positive!

Beware! You know more than your recruiter.

Remember that the recruiter may not have the same background as you. He or she is not a technical specialist and may not have the same knowledge and experience. So don’t try to be the all-knowing professor during the job interview.

Provide thorough answers but avoid the small technical details. Distinguish between main and side issues. If something is not clear then the recruiter will ask additional questions.

Do you have any questions for us?

Yes, of course, you still have questions! Prepare some interesting questions about the company and your specific position prior to the job interview. This will emphasize your interest in the company in your position. Try to avoid open questions and questions to which you could find the answer on the website or somewhere else. Also, provide example answers. This way you can make it easier for the recruiter and you can showcase your vision.

Thank you!

Thank the recruiter for the invitation and his or her time and walk out in a decent way. Be aware that you may still be watched, so keep your dance of joy or your frustrations for a later time.

5 + 5 = 12!

Take care of your verbal and nonverbal communication during your job interview. The natural and subtle interplay between these two forms of communication is crucial to make a reliable impression.

For example, you can hardly claim that you have an open personality when you are holding your arms crossed during the entire interview. And you will not be credible when you are avoiding eye contact with every answer.

Nonverbal communication makes up a large part of our communication. Therefore body language will determine to a large extent the impression you will leave behind after a job interview.

ADDITIONS OR QUESTIONS?

body language joe navarro Obviously, this list of tips is not exhaustive. Do you have any additions or questions? Please feel free to share them using the comment form underneath this article. Do you want to read more about nonverbal communication? The bestselling book “What Every Body is Saying” by former FBI agent Joe Navarro won’t be your only source of inspiration it will be a good place to start for sure!

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What (not) to do whilst waiting for a job interview

17 Jul 2021
Congratulations! You are about to have a job interview and you are ready to make an overwhelming impression. You just passed the reception and you are waiting for the recruiter to show up. What do you do while waiting for your job interview?

Do you sit down, do you look out of the window, do you check your emails on your smartphone? What you do now can determine your future! Your attitude and actions before a job interview can have a great impact on the first impression the receptionist and the recruiter have from you.

And that first impression is important. Very important! The following do’s and don’ts can help you make a good first impression while waiting for your job interview.

What to do whilst waiting for your job interview?

  • Sit down

Most candidates are nervous right before a job interview. Many stand up and walk around the room. This can make a restless impression. Therefore, try to sit back in your chair. You don’t need to run a marathon before your interview

  • Calm down

Concentrate on your breathing! Breathe in and breathe out slowly. Shut out all external stimuli and focus on the here and now. This way you can calm down. Your voice will sound less nervous as a result.

  • About the bathroom

You never know how long a job interview and/or assessment will take. So it is a good idea to ask whether you can wash your hands or use the bathroom before the interview. No doubt the interview will be more relaxed!

  • Keep cool

If you are in the bathroom, you might as well put your wrists under the tap and/or rub a few drops of cold water in your neck. You will feel fresher and more relaxed right away!

  • Search for the connection

Do you see business awards on the walls? Do you see company brochures lying on the table? Feel free to take a look. It will give you a nice starting point for the conversation when the recruiter shows up.

  • Check your resume

Nothing else to read? Then read your resume thoroughly. Make sure you are familiar with the content of your resume and make sure you can find certain paragraphs when you are asked about them.

In short, try to make a polite and relaxed impression before (and during) your job interview. A first impression can greatly influence how a recruiter thinks about you. Be yourself, but do try to keep your nerves under control.

Totally prepared for a job interview?

What should you NOT do whilst waiting for your job interview?

  • Don’t read irrelevant information

Don’t take your own reading to a job interview. Focus on the interview that is about to come. You can come across as indifferent when you read an irrelevant book/magazine while waiting for a job interview.

  • Don’t put on an act

Don’t take a financial paper or an annual financial report of the table if you don’t have a substantiated opinion on finances. Imagine what would happen if the recruiter asks you about your opinion and you can’t give a satisfactory answer.

  • Don’t play with your phone

The meeting room is not a good place to break your personal record on Angry Birds or to text your significant other to ask what’s for dinner when you come home. Turn off your phone and forget about it so that you cannot be disturbed during the interview.

  • Don’t look worried or indifferent!

People don’t like to see a worried face. A neutral, open and cheerful face is much more pleasant. Therefore, avoid frowning and ‘painful looks’. Give the recruiter every chance to start the job interview on the right foot.

In short: Be yourself but always make sure you make a relaxed, open and interested impression. The first impression is very important for the rest of your interview, so make sure to start off on the right foot.

Good luck!

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6 tips for a video call job interview

08 May 2020
Make a strong first impression. Preparing for your job interview is essential, but your performance during the interview will determine your chances of success. This article gives you six tips on how to prepare for your video call job interview. Applying for a job by video call is not the same as doing an interview with a person in the same room. Additional factors need to be taken into account to ensure the interview goes well.
  1. Give your background some depth

People will pay attention to what you say, and also to what you show, so the background is important in your job interview. Choose a quiet background to keep the focus on you. Do not distract the interviewer with children or other family members moving around in the background. The room where you have the interview is your personal space and should therefore tell people something about who you are. If you show a messy kitchen or bedroom in the background, that does not present the image of yourself you want to project.

A bleak white wall in the background is a bit too quiet and boring. Choose a nice, tidy background with some depth to it. A painting, a photo wall, some plants or a bookcase make the perfect background. Books, a painting or travel photos also say something about who you are.

achtergrond sollicitatiegesprek

  1. Make an effort with your appearance

Your clothes also play a part in the image you project to the interviewer during a video call. Dress as if you were going to a job interview in person. Some companies are more casual than others. A suit and tie may not always be the right way to go, but a T-shirt and jeans are not suitable either. Make a little bit more effort than what is expected from you. Go for a style of clothing that makes you feel good. It is best to avoid patterns like stripes and checks and go for a plain colour.

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words

Of course you want to look picture perfect, and an important aspect of this is the eye level.  You do not want to look down on the people you are talking to, as this will look quite unfriendly. Position yourself at the same height as the camera by placing a shoebox or a pile of books under your laptop. Sit straight about an arm’s length away from your screen. This creates a beautifully framed picture of you.

A second element you should pay attention to is the lighting. Lighting from above is not flattering. Ensure good face lighting by sitting at the window and allowing the daylight to shine on your face. Do not sit with your back to the light, as this will make you unrecognisable during the interview.

Also make sure to read these five tips for non-verbal communication during a job interview.

  1. Do a soundcheck

Prepare your digital access as you would prepare the itinerary to your appointment.

  • Start with your internet connection. Check your Wi-Fi connection and internet speed to ensure a clear video call. You need at least 1 Mbps. Plugging in an Ethernet cable resolves a poor Wi-Fi connection.
  • Make sure the battery of your laptop, tablet or smartphone is sufficiently charged so you do not run out of power.
  • What channel are you using for the interview? Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Zoom or something else? Do you need to download an app or create an account? Sort this out well in advance rather than one minute before the start of your job interview. Test the application to avoid any problems during the call.
  • You also need to check that your camera is working. Pay attention to the above tips on how to present a good image.
  • Do a soundcheck with your microphone and speakers. Headphones with a microphone are not a luxury. They will ensure that you are well understood during the interview. Also read these five tips for verbal communication during a job interview.

wifi tijdens sollicitatiegesprek

  1. Mind your body language

The article ‘Body language during your job interview: tips for success already pointed out the importance of body language during a job interview. This is no different during a video call. If your body language tells a different story, you may come across as insecure, unreliable or arrogant. As an applicant, you absolutely want to avoid that.

  1. Do not read out notes you prepared earlier

To make a confident impression, sit up straight, lean against the back of your chair and make direct eye contact during the job interview . Avoid putting any prepared answers within reach so you are not tempted to read them. Doing so may come across as insecure and uninterested. It is useful to have your CV at hand in order to go through it together with the interviewer. If you still want to look at your notes during the interview, tell the interviewer what you are reading and why.

notes tijdens sollicitatiegesprek met video-call

Are you ready for a job interview?

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The benefits of joining a consulting firm

20 Feb 2020
You love consulting and others tell you you're good at it. You have lots of knowledge and experience to share, you're a great team player, you're a big help for your client and the people you work with... but you can't market yourself.

This is a common problem that many consultants face at some point in their career. And it’s a problem you have to deal with. Otherwise you will have a hard time doing the job you like.

The solution to this problem is surprisingly simple: join a consulting firm. A good consulting firm offers all the benefits of a career in consulting combined with the security of a permanent contract. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Navigate this article:

You’re not alone!

In our previous article on consulting we wrote that top consultants are great marketeers. Top consultants are great at communicating their results and they continually grow and nurture their network to keep interesting projects coming their way.

However, not all consultants are like this. Chances are you’re among the majority of consultants who feel plain awkward about networking and marketing themselves.

Trust us… This is perfectly normal!

Marketing yourself can be a daunting task. Either your network is too small (when you start out), too cold (because you haven’t paid attention in a while), or you don’t like to market yourself (because you’re shy).

Luckily there is a solution: Consulting firms!

How do consultancy firms work?

Consulting firms come in different shapes and sizes. Their niche, services, geographical focus and client portfolio can vary significantly.

Pauwels Consulting, for example, is a Belgian consulting firm that delivers project sourcing, corporate recruitment and turnkey projects to large corporate clients in Europe. We specialize in engineering, life sciences and IT. We have a large team of full-time consultants, but we also work with freelancers to complement our permanent staff.

We deliver our services directly to our clients, but we also work with managed service providers (MSPs). Such MSPs handle a substantial part of a client’s HR and recruitment activities on behalf of the client.

In either case, every day we get requests from our clients to:

  • find experts to complement their project teams for the limited time of the project. This is mostly referred to as project sourcing or project staffing.
  • find experts to join their permanent workforce. This is often referred to as corporate recruitment or permanent staffing.
  • manage and execute projects from beginning to end. We call these turnkey projects.

Subsequently, we investigate whether we have available experts on board to meet our clients’ needs. If this is the case, we brief our consultants and we join them at their intake interview with the client or the client’s MSP.

If we can’t find the right consultant in our own staff (e.g. because all qualified consultants are occupied), we turn to our large network, job sites and social media to find:

  • consultants to join our permanent staff
  • freelance consultants to complement our team for the duration of our clients’ projects (and preferably longer).
So what's next?

Are you an engineering, life sciences or IT expert and are you considering a career in consulting?

What’s in it for you?

Joining a consultancy firm can secure, advance and enrich your career in many ways, but here are at least 3 major benefits of joining a consulting firm:

1. You can focus on what you do best

If you’re looking for a permanent job, consulting firms like Pauwels Consulting offer all the benefits of consulting with the extra security of a permanent contract.

This means that you no longer have to market yourself.

You can focus on what you do best: consulting. And we can focus on what we do best: interpreting our clients’ needs and finding the best experts to cover these needs.

2. The best education you can possibly get

In addition, consulting firms enable you to work in different project teams on various projects with the same or different clients. Working in different work environments is the best way for building your knowledge, expertise and professional network quickly and easily. This is the best education you can possibly get and an excellent way to secure your future as a consultant.

3. Extra benefits for (freelance) consultants

Consultancy firms also offer an additional benefit to (freelance) consultants. Most large companies don’t hire individual freelance consultants. They prefer to work with an MSP or a limited number of consulting agencies to ensure good quality, quick turnaround and competitive pricing.

Good consulting firms have a large and diversified client portfolio. If you’re a consultant and if you can cover a client’s needs, you may be able to land a job at a corporate client you would otherwise never qualify for.

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How to define your dream job in 3 easy steps.

20 Jan 2020
Are your looking for a job? Or are you looking for a better job? Then why not aim for your dream job? In this article you discover how you can find a job that suits your distinct strengths and ambitions.

What does your dream job look like?

Most job seekers look for a job that is in line with their education and experience. Unfortunately finding a job this way is getting increasingly difficult. The job market currently demands more flexibility from job seekers.

In order to find a good job these days, it is very important to know in advance what kind of job you are looking for. Being clear but flexible about your ambitions will help you greatly in your quest for a new and better job.

3 Important questions

There are many ways to define your dream job. In this article, we will help you define your dream job based on your own distinct strengths and interests. We will answer the following questions:

  • What do you want from your job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What does the market need?

If you answer these questions, prioritize the answers and look for their point of convergence, you will have a good indication of your dream job. This will enable you to start your job hunt with a sharp focus and a bigger chance of success.

Identify your strengths to find your dream job - Pauwels Consulting Job Application Academy

1. What do you want from your job?

Interestingly, most people draw a clear line between work and hobbies. But why would you wait until work is over to do the things you really like? Have you ever wondered what you would do for a living if you had the choice?

Action: Answer the following questions realistically and with an open mind. Think outside the borders of your current job or your logical career path. Don’t overthink your answers and let your thoughts go.

  • When was the last time that you enjoyed what you were doing, at work or otherwise?
  • What were you doing and why did it make you happy?
  • Where do your thoughts go when you should actually work?
  • What would your rather do all day? What are you really passionate about?

Action: Now think about your ideal work conditions. How would you like to work? Answer the following questions realistically and with an open mind.

  • Physical work, intellectual work or a combination of both?
    Do you prefer physical work, intellectual work or do you like a combination of both? All answers are good but if you have a clear preference it will make your job hunt easier and more efficient.
  • Self-employed or employee?
    The self-employed may enjoy more freedom than employees, but they also have to take care of their own administration and marketing. Employees typically enjoy more peace of mind, a secure income and social securities such as paid holidays.
  • Full-time or part-time?
    How many hours can and are you willing to work per week? When part-time work is not negotiable, flexible working hours can still be on the table. Be as transparent as possible about your expectations in every stage of your job hunt.
  • Home office or elsewhere?
    New technologies make working from home easier than ever. What would you prefer? Would you rather work from home, from an office, from a flexible workspace or would you prefer a combination of these workspaces?
  • One location or many locations?
    Depending on your job you can work at one location, you can work ‘on the road’ or you can work at different locations, e.g. on temporary assignments with different clients. What do you prefer?
  • One or more assignments at a time?
    Would you rather focus on one specific assignment or do you prefer working on multiple assignments at a time? The first option may bring more peace of mind while the second option may make work (even) more challenging.
  • Teamwork or working on your own?
    Some people are better at collaborating than others. That’s OK. It is important however to what you are better at. Are you a team player or do you perform better on your own?
  • SMB or multinational?
    The working atmosphere at small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is often more personal than with large companies. As a result, you may have a bigger influence on procedures and results if you work in an SMB. Large companies may offer more possibilities to climb up the ladder, but they may have stricter hierarchies and procedures.
  • To manage or not to manage?
    Do you fancy a management position? Mind that not everyone can or wants to deal with big responsibilities. And as a manager or director, you often depend on external factors that are out of your control. This can cause extra work and stress.

Evidently this list with questions about your ideal work conditions is not exhaustive, but answering these questions can help you to determine your ideal work conditions for sure. Think about other relevant choices and write your answers down.

Action: If all went well you now have two lists with keywords regarding the content and the work conditions of your dream job. Since it may be hard to find a job that matches all these conditions, now choose the five conditions that are most important to you.

we help you grow your career

2. What are your strengths?

Most young children are exceptionally creative. This is because most children are encouraged by their parents, family and friends to show their talents. This encouragement is a confidence boost that stimulates children to improve and show their talents to the world.

At school however, we learn how others (can) think about us. We learn about our weaknesses and how to overcome them. Extra classes, extra exercises… It often seems that school puts more emphasis on overcoming your weaknesses than on improving and using our strengths.

Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses!

In the last few years however the so-called “strengths movement” tries to convince us to focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses. The rationale behind this idea is that it is more rewarding to use and improve your talents than to improve what you are not good at.

Now, discover your strengths’, the bestselling book from Marcus Buckingham is a good illustration of the strengths movement. The book is based on a 25-year study of over two million people and it comes with an online Strengthsfinder test that helps you discover your distinct talents and strengths. If you find a job where you need to combine these particular strengths to succeed, your chances of success and joy at work will seriously increase.

Action: Make a list of your strengths. Think about the feedback you get from others. When do you get positive feedback? Probably when you showcase one of your talents. Try to identify and describe your talents as precise and concise as possible.

Optional: Ask your family, friends and (if possible) colleagues to make similar lists of your strengths. The more complete the picture the better you will be able to define the strengths that distinguish you from other job seekers.

Optional: It may take a little bit of extra time and perhaps a minor investment, but try to take a personality test to identify your strengths. The above-mentioned book with its Strengthsfinder test is a good start but there are many alternatives.

Action: If you complete the actions above you should have one or more lists with your distinct talents and strengths. Have a good look at these lists and try to find and mark your 5 most distinct talents.

3. What does the market need?

The current job market is quite challenging, but the market is still driven by supply and demand. Follow up with the news and visit job boards to learn which sectors have job openings and what kind of jobs are needed most.

If ‘your’ sector is not doing well, try investigating other sectors that may benefit from your knowledge and expertise. Or if there are many layoffs in your area, try to look out for job openings in nearby areas before other job seekers do.

Also, keep a close eye on the shortage occupation lists in your country. You can find the shortage occupation lists for Belgium here. At this moment Belgian employers are particularly looking for nurses, teachers, engineers, technicians and operators.

Action: Find out which sectors can benefit from your knowledge and expertise. Try broadening your scope beyond your own sector and geographical area. Select the five sectors and areas you want to work in.

Defining your dream job

If you did all of the above, you have 3 lists. These lists describe::

  • Your 5 most important priorities regarding the content of your ideal job;
  • Your 5 most distinct talents;
  • The 5 sectors and geographical areas you would like to work in.

Now put these lists together and look for relationships. Focus on your own ambitions and talents and try to match them with the current demands of the job market. Preferably not the other way around. For example, if you just obtained your nursing degree but if you would rather not work full-time in the same hospital, project sourcing or home nursing may be a better fit for you.

Or if you have a degree in engineering or linguistics and if you want more flexibility to obtain a better work-life balance, you can often start as a teacher right away and obtain your teaching degree through evening classes.

Should you consider taking the leap to self-employment, consider whether the market needs your product or service or how you can create that demand. And determine whether you can take care (or have someone to take care) of your administration and marketing. These extra tasks are as important as your actual job!

Time to find your dream job!

In this article, we discussed how you can define your dream job by mapping your own strengths and ambitions to the needs of the job market. This step may seem straightforward, but in reality, many people don’t take enough time to consider what they really want to do for a living.

In our next article, we will share tips to improve your written communication when applying for a job. A good cv, a personal cover letter, a clear e-mail and a healthy web presence can seriously improve your odds of being invited for a job interview.

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