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How to own a job interview

The Ultimate Guide: Tips For Job Applications And Interviews

profileJunel Seet

Job = Money, and if you’re lucky even happiness

It’s graduate-season, and it’s always job-search season. That means job applications, interviews and a frantic quarter-life crisis coupled with an unhealthy dose of self-doubt.

Whether you’re just about to hop into the furnace of job applications, in the midst of applying, or looking for a new job, here’s a guide everyone could use to game a job interview.

Here’s How To Land Your Next Job: TL;DR

3 Key Ideas:

  1. Attitude: Polite and Enthusiastic
  2. Effort: Research the company
  3. Positioning your selling points for the specific role or industry

Tips: Job Application

The first step is to game that first impression. First impressions are often made during the first email or application when you haven’t even gotten the chance to see your interview in the flesh yet.

This is the only step in the entire process of landing a job that you can score full marks for as long as you’re well prepared. No questions from interviews, just you following instructions, intending to impress.

1. What You Need

The typical documents to include in an online application or email include:

  • Resume/ CV: A list of your educational experience, work experience and skills
  • Cover Letter (Customise according to each company)
    • Usually one page or shorter
    • Elaborate key points in your resume that is relevant to the job you are applying for
    • Elaborate on how you suit the job other than in technical skills and experience
  • Portfolio (Optional)
    • The best of your past works. For example, designs, websites, photography, apps, etc.

2. Where To Search For A Job

There are a few platforms people typically look for suitable jobs at:

  1. Glints
  2. Wantedly
  3. LinkedIn Jobs
  4. InternSG
  5. Glassdoor

Be sure to do your due diligence to check if the company is:

  1. Reliable and not having a down-spell
  2. Your Boss is experienced or has good credentials

3. Be Early For The Deadline

The worst thing that could happen when submitting a job application is not drafting a bad one, but missing the deadline. Check time and time again if the deadline is on 10 June or 10 July. Missing the deadline can mean that you will not even be considered for the role or a very bad first impression.

4. Check Your Job Application

Get a friend to help you with this and an older, more experienced one preferably. Like we said above, the job application is one you can score full marks in even before an interview.

Go down this checklist:

  1. Check your spelling, grammar and sentence structure, install a grammar-checking desktop extension to help
  2. Check your salutation and the name of the person you are emailing
  3. Ask 3 different people to help read through your work
  4. Check the company’s facts against what you wrote
  5. Check if you attached all the necessary documents

5. Check If There Is A Test Or Assignment To Complete

Many times, companies have a short online test or assignment for you to do either together with the application round or as a follow-up interview. This can mean an online timed-test, a coding assignment, a market analysis report and so on.

Check with the interviewer if you are required to do this if you are unsure.


Tips: The Interview

After you have sent in yours stellar job application, you will receive a follow-up from the company and here are the forms it will come in:

  • A phone call interview
  • A face-to-face interview
  • A video call interview

Regardless of the type of follow-up you receiver, here are some of the key things you need to know to prepare well for an interview.

No one is perfect, but we want you to be close at least.

1. Carry The Right Attitude

Go into every interview like you want the job, even if you had reservations about it.

Carry an enthusiastic, engaged attitude in order to show your interviewer that you are a person they can work with, not just professionally but as a normal human being too. According to Forbes, the top qualities employers search for when they are hiring all centre around being forward-looking. This means understanding your strengths and understanding how you can work your way to success.

How you can show all these shows in how your body language speaks and what you say.Give cues that you are engaged. Nod, smile and repeat the important points your interviewers say to clarify or to simply agree that those are important

2. Research The Company Well

In a world where any information is just at your fingertips, research as much as possible about the company to show your interviewer that you are in-the-know.

Going out of your way does not simply mean hitting the company’s website on google. Do in-depth research by check what milestones the company have had, what were their successes and failures, if there were any recent news on the company or what projects or competitions have they been working on in the recent months. These make for good questions to pose to your interviewers and the foundation of good answers you can make.

Also, look up resources that can help you find out more about the company culture and employees. This includes platforms such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn and asking ex-employees or seniors you know that understand the company better. This can earn you valuable tips to prepare for the interview. 

3. Position Yourself For The Role

The most straightforward way to do this is to position yourself according to job scope offered to you.

  • Prepare to talk about your “selling points”
    • Match your experiences, skills, or at least interests to what the company wants
  • Be specific
  • Be positive

4. Prepare Sample Answers For Commonly Asked Questions

The top 3 most asked questions and ideal answers include:

  1. Tell us more about yourself
    • Position yourself according to what they look for in an employee. Eg. Interested in technology, has experience with photography.
  2. What are your strengths
    • Talk about your soft skills, your ability to be a mediator, a team-player and determination
    • Talk about your hard skills, past knowledge that is relevant for the job and how some of your past skills are transferable to the job you are applying for
  3. What are your weaknesses
    • Being unfamiliar with a highly technical part of the industry or job but state that you are willing to learn and work hard.
    • Overcommiting to different things and sacrificing personal time.

Remember to customise your responses, you don’t want to sounds like you copy and pasted something from the internet.

5. Prepare Smart Questions To Ask

At the end of every interview, you will definitely be asked if you have any questions. In the rare case that you don’t get asked, you can always bring this up to show that you are engaged with the interviewer and you are keen on knowing more

  1. About office life
    • Ask what a typical day at work is like
    • Ask why they themselves love being in the company
  2. About company progress
    • Ask what are the company’s plans for growth and development
  3. Ask about the role
    • Ask what the biggest challenges are
    • Ask what are the biggest rewards of being in the role

6. Do Research On Your Interviewer

Do some research on your boss or interviewer so you can anticipate what kind of questions will be asked, or what reservations they have. This can be through LinkedIn, past interviews or previous articles published about them.

7. Look Presentable

Last but not least, make yourself look presentable for the interview. By this, we don’t mean you have to be stylish or have nice eyebrows, we mean dressing appropriately and looking clean and smart.

We’ll broadly categorised the two general looks you can go for.

1. The Formal Look

Everyone ideally wants a comfortable, perfectly fitted set of formal wear. But if you’re not ready for that kind of cost commitment yet, you can always get your formal wear off the shelves for perhaps half the price.

What a formal look consists of:


  • Long-sleeves shirt: Formal white button-down shirt
  • A tie: The safe colour is dark blue
  • Formal pants: Black, dark grey, dark blue
  • Formal Shoes


  • Dress: Sleeved dress that ends after half the thighs, dark coloured or white
  • Covered high-heels or flats
  • Or, what is stated above for men

Previously, our community recommended their top 3 places to shop for officewear:

  1. G2000 Outlet at IMM
  2. Mango
  3. City Plaza

2. The Safe Look: Smart Casual

If you are going for an interview at a company with a more ‘casual’ work environment, for example applying to a start up or as a freelancer, you can go for a smart casual look.

A get-up we think looks safe includes:

  • A shirt – For men: Polo Tee, Button-down semi-formal shirt. For women: Blouse with sleeves, non-T-shirt material
  • Jeans – Not ripped or with bell bottoms, just straight-cut
  • Covered Shoes

If you don’t know which category you fall into, this is the pro tip: Overdressing is better than underdressing

Remember, sincerity is key, and don’t go in stupid. You got this.

About Junel Seet
Most of my expenditure is on sustenance. Yes, I meant food.
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