Late query threw me off my stride – our weekly careers newspaper column

Q: They asked me at the end if I had any questions for them. I couldn’t think of any. The interview had gone well but I came out feeling I had missed a trick at the end. Did I? I haven’t heard yet if I got the job. Fingers crossed. (KM, email)

A: You say the interview went well. Most people tend to be negative about the interview afterwards, and struggle to give themselves a ‘well done’. So if your instinct was that you gave a good account of yourself, it may well prove to be accurate.

It is important to assess the interview yourself, independent of the result.

The ‘have you any question for us’ question is an opportunity to give further detail on why you would suit the role. You can dress up a positive statement about yourself as a question. Or you can simply say, “no, I don’t, but I would like to reiterate that I can do a very good job for you, based on my experience to date, my knowledge of the systems you use, and my enthusiasm to progress in this sector.”

That would probably be a good use of the two minutes. And interviews are all about using those short parcels of time – a couple of minutes, usually – in such a way that you eventually convince the employer you are the right person for the job.

 The growing power of LinkedIn

LinkedIn, as you can appreciate, is becoming more and more popular. Its effectiveness as a job-searching tool has been established for a number of years – recruiters are all over LinkedIn for the purpose of head-hunting candidates, or for just checking up on people who have applied for positions.

Every career-driven person should consider having a LinkedIn profile. When you have created your LinkedIn profile, maintain it: even new houses eventually get to the point where they need to be painted. Join groups, update your status with industry-relevant information, join discussions, answer questions. Be an active member of the LinkedIn community.

The early steps you take will appear rather pointless. Who’s reading? Who cares? How can I get noticed in all the noise?

But, over time, you will build up contacts. You will learn about jobs. You will discover what interests people in your field, and you can tailor your LinkedIn presence accordingly.

You can set up a daily job-search facility that will give you an email each day with possible jobs. Many employed people, and not really looking around, continue to receive a daily email of this sort just to keep an eye on what’s happening in their sector.

Take time to delve deeper into LinkedIn. All job-searching needs time and effort: getting to understand how LinkedIn can boost your job-searching will require you to explore.

We have curated a number of useful LinkedIn career advancement videos, and we will gladly send them to you if you email with ‘LinkedIn’ in the subject line.

If you already have a LinkedIn profile, but are struggling to make it relevant in your job-searching, a simple tip is to ask for recommendations. Invite people who have worked with you to write a note of recommendation that will sit on your profile. Third-party endorsements can be very powerful.

Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Limerick, Dublin, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. More on