This is a post i wrote for LinkedIn and thought I should share it here too. Feel free to connect with me there too. Here is the original post.
Well first of all i want to say i love Sweden and Finland. Starting this new post invited me to bring it to life with a picture. I could not find a better picture than the one i took in Levi - Finland last Christmas.
Levi - Finnish Laplands.
Who am I? I am Kostas, an environmental engineer from Greece and a soon-to-be hydrogeologist. I moved to Sweden last year and it has been the best decision of my life. I have instilled in me the swedish values but i always keep that fiery Mediterranean personality within me.

I have been reading and reading posts around here about everything. From depression, to burnout, to mentors to how to land the job of your dreams. But most of them have been from the experienced person's perspective, one that has worked their way up the ladder for years, sometimes decades and share their stories with us. This is my take on job hunting, CVs and keeping that motivation high as a "new" graduate.

1. Know what you want.

This is the most fundamental advice I can give for someone that is starting or confused on how to proceed. You see, when you have a clear goal and you really want something your brain will automatically begin to formulate a plot and a plan how to achieve this target. We live in an age of great economic depression and I come from a country that the jobs are scarce and the salaries are not enough even for the basic needs of a family. However that does not mean that i will compromise and pick up any job that will not make me happy or just to get some experience. When i look at a position i always research the respective company to see if its values match mine and my aspirations for the future. This way they can get the most out of me and in return they will have a loyal, HAPPY productive and efficient worker.

2. Be a man/woman of action, not just a keyboard warrior or full of words.

When i decided i would move to Sweden to restart my life and kick-start my career it was a decision. I immediately put things into action. I didn't stall, I didn't think about it a lot, I just did what had to be done. Being decisive and taking action is a valuable quality that is also requested in many roles wherever you apply.

Fear of failure is hard to overcome sometimes, but it is the same such as approach anxiety for men. When a man hesitates to directly approach an interesting female for example approach anxiety creeps in and they don't do it, for the reason that they fear rejection and failure. Then they think about the possible scenarios and outcomes and even rehearse endless lines in their head. But in the end they just don't do it. This is a vague example but it could not be more real and comparable as when you have to make a really important life choice you think the same way. Or you could have the attitude of "What am I going to accomplish?".

Change your way of thinking. You are awesome. You are unique. And you can do everything you ever wanted.

3. Have the right attitude.
It is a fact that companies hire people on skills and fire them on attitude. Kudos to Rintu Basu for that phrase. Companies indeed dread to hire the wrong person as it involves so much problem to hire them, fire them, picking their replacement, paperwork and compensations. It is a nightmare. I have fired people in my own company, believe me I know very well.
Developing the right mindset is SO important. It begins with tip number 1 up there. And it continues to the job hunt, CV and later the interview stage. There are 3 types of attitude and 2 of them will not work for you. Period.
  • The defeated candidate: So here enters a prospective candidate for the job. He slouches, he does not look you in the eye, he literally begs for the job. He is not confident and he just looks defeated from the moment he enters the door. Would you hire him and trust him with your valuable position?
  • The arrogant candidate: Then the other type enters. He is overconfident with a big ego, thinks that he is king of the world and has a swagger about him that smells clash and tough exchanges. Remember, companies fire on attitude.
  • The well balanced, confident candidate: Here is the real "meat" as we say in Greece. Imagine if someone enters the room and breathes enough confidence but not arrogance, he does not think that the interview is about himself and offers explanation, logical reasoning and answers based on facts about everything you throw at him using his CV and confident oral skills to take you by storm. Even if there are other people more qualified or experienced than him, I would give him a slight advantage. The interview is not about you or the interviewer. It is about the company and an exchange of values.
4. Research your target and blow their mind.

Step in the recruiters boots for a second. There is a fancy entry level job, or maybe a senior management role somewhere. There are 1000 applicants including you. The recruiter has to go through them, cut them to 100 tomorrow, then to the last 10 or 5 and then pick just 1 for one position. That is a 0.0001 chance for you to get the position. More like zero though with a generic CV or resume. Not only the applicants are many, but a lot of people will have better experience or grades than you. Here is where you can research properly and increase your chances exponentially. It might not land you the job, but believe me it WILL pay off dividends.

Say I am applying for that position in the company "I like turtles". I have been an avid turtle fan for years and this amazing position is what i wanted in life. To support, breed, love turtles. But so do another 999 people.

I immediately go in Google and type "I like turtles". The company website shows up. I look at that section that is called "About Us", or "Company Values". This is the key right here. You analyze what they say and keep all those "buzz words", like "creative, technically minded, gifted, experienced, humanitarian". Then  you incorporate them in your CV/resume and cover letter. It is a form of NLP that will immediately get them to notice you and maybe review your qualifications again. To make them stop in their tracks and believe that this job was meant for you. A recruiter will hardly look at an application for more than half a minute. They will look at yours.

5. The interview is not your enemy, it is your greatest ally.

Remember what we said about attitude and about what is the interview. It is about the company and how you can show them that you have everything they ask for. They are not in power of the interview, don't be mistaken. You can shift the balance of power with a simple question. "Why should I work for I like turtles? What do you provide that will make me select your company?".

Something along these lines. It is a fantastic type of question that puts the interviewer in the back foot trying to explain himself. You can pick up more buzz words here and use them later. Do not leave holes in your CV they will show up here. Be prepared and if you can, have facts and numbers. They love facts and numbers. It shows you are prepared and that you can back up your outrageous claims.

6. You have more experience than you think.

For the last part it is another thing that has picked my curiosity. Everyone asks for experience, but how can you get that experience if nobody will hire you in the first place. This is where you need to look in your past life. They ask for leadership and management but you were unemployed for 2 years? Maybe you ran that dog shelter or the local school band. Maybe you managed a football team or juggled between many hobbies while assisting the community and volunteered to do things others didn't.

On the same page is the next tip. When you are inexperienced in the required work-field it can actually be an advantage. You start of as a clean slate and you can be moulded into the company's values much easier. Once I started boxing at the same time with a guy that had training for 2 years prior to me. After another year I was in a higher level than him. I asked the coach why. And he replied:

"Because you started with nothing while he had been coached by someone else before that taught him wrong. It takes time to fix this. But you where a clean slate, pristine and it is much easier to teach someone like that".

So look in your past and try to come up with key achievements that match the job requests. Be prepared and use the buzz words and believe me with the right mindset you will ooze confidence and positivity and people will notice that.

Repeat after me: I can do everything!