A few simple things can make the difference between getting the job you want and getting stuck in the wrong job.
It’s all very well for us to tell you how to impress your boss and get the job you want. But why listen to us when you can get the inside info from the actual bosses themselves? Which is exactly what we did.
The first boss we spoke to is Esmaré Weideman, CEO of Media24 (the company behind many of SA’s biggest magazines, including You, Huisgenoot, Drum, Fairlady, Sarie, Destiny, Heat and Men’s Health).
The second is Simon Arcus, Managing Director of his own tool and hardware company, Oswald Bros. (Pty) Ltd. With over 70 employees, he’s learned that a few simple things can make the difference between getting the job you want and getting stuck in the wrong job.
Need tips? Here’s what impresses both bosses:
In a CV
- Make it easy to read. Use bullet points and short sentences, use bold fonts to make certain things stand out, keep paragraphs short and space things out so they don’t look overcrowded
- Say the important stuff first. Don’t start with your school marks and your first job at the fish-and-chip shop, says Simon. Put your most recent, most relevant work experience first
- Pay attention to detail. “One spelling mistake and that CV lands in my rubbish bin, without fail,” says Esmaré
- Stand out. Your boss is probably looking through a pile of CVs, so you need to make yours memorable. How? By writing a great covering letter. “It’s your opportunity to stand out from the rest, so use it!” says Esmaré. “Make it easier for the person going through the CVs to pick yours!”
In an interview
- Make eye contact. “Eye contact tells me that I’m shaking hands with someone confident,” says Simon. “When you introduce yourself, use a firm handshake – but don’t fracture my fingers!”
- Make a good first impression. “Be on time, be neatly dressed (no missing buttons, please!), be interested and enthusiastic,” says Esmaré. “With young people entering the workforce, what interviewers are looking for is a bit of street savvy, an indication that you will be able to function in the workplace without too much hand-holding.”
- Be confident (but not arrogant). Stand up straight, smile and be yourself
- Time the money-talk. If you want to discuss your salary – which is fair enough – make sure you time it right. Ideally, wait for the boss to bring it up, but if he doesn’t, wait until the end of the discussion – and only bring it up if the boss seems interested in hiring you. And remember, once you start earning your newly negotiated salary; make it work harder for you by earning maximum interest and paying minimum fees on your bank account.
When you ask for a promotion or a raise
- Make it a win-win situation. A better job or a higher salary may benefit you (if you use it wisely), but your boss won’t go for it unless it benefits the business too. “You’ll definitely get a promotion if you can bring something to the party that isn’t already there,” says Simon. “Tell me what you can do that isn’t being done, or how you would improve things, especially financially.”
- Show you understand what’s involved. If you want a promotion, make it clear that you understand what your new job would entail. “You need to be aware of your own skills and contribution to the company,” says Esmaré. “It’s easier to negotiate with someone who is informed, reasonable and direct.”
- Be simple and honest. It’s our motto and it should be yours too. Say things clearly and be honest about what you can and can’t do
- Again, be confident. “You need to make me feel sure that it’s a good decision,” says Simon. “Show me that you have the ability, capacity, enthusiasm and a reasonable measure of experience. You can always be trained in the details.”