Until your interview, you are only as good as your paperwork and perhaps telephone manner. This makes your CV and covering letter crucial. They are essential tools in most job searches. Like any marketing document, a CV should help you to sell yourself.
Most importantly keep your CV up to date. Using an out of date CV looks unprofessional and may exclude you from consideration.
Before you write your CV think about your qualifications, skills and experience. What are your main strengths and major achievements to date?
If you are replying to a specific job advertisement, review the key words and tasks used in the advertisement. Consider which tasks apply to you and include them in your CV. Relevant experience on your CV will give you a greater chance of proceeding to the interview stage.
Keep it brief
Remember that you want your CV to be responded to, so include enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader. By providing small, digestible pieces of information you will maximise your chances of having your CV read. Every word must contribute to the overall message, keep it brief and ensure the content is relevant to the job you are applying for.
A good CV needs to be structured and well laid out to make it easier to review. A CV that is hard to read is often put aside and forgotten. Avoid coloured paper or fancy fonts. You will get a much better result with clean fonts and a simple layout.
Support your claims
When writing the CV, remember that self-opinion is best avoided. Aim to include factual information or objective evidence and remember to focus on the benefits of your achievements.
Grammar and punctuation
Always have someone else on hand to check your spelling and grammar. Nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than easily preventable mistakes.
- This should contain your personal details, your home address and contact details.
- An overview statement can be included covering strengths you can bring to the role, relevant skills and experience.
- Here you should highlight your employment history. Present this in reverse chronological order, (i.e. last job first).
- If you have only worked for one company, break it down with an entry for each position or project dealt with. For each position held, briefly describe responsibilities and work undertaken.
- Do include achievements, not just regular tasks. If possible, quantify them in sales, financial or production terms.
- Each professional position that you have should ideally include at least one statement of accomplishment. For your current and recent positions, you may want to have several bulleted items under the job that list your most significant experiences.
- Any voluntary or charity work or external posts you hold are worth including.
Education and qualifications
- This should include a brief summary of your education and qualifications. Remember to include when and where you studied.
- Always include any languages, courses or training you may have done and any professional memberships.
Hobbies and interests
- List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines and only if they are relevant to the position in question.
- It is recommended that two referees be given at a later date, including the referees’ official titles, addresses and telephone numbers.
CVs are seldom used alone they should preferably be introduced by a letter. The letter can really let your personality come through. Remember, recruitment consultants and employers read hundreds of CVs, an interesting introductory note can make yours stand out.
Your letter can be used to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you from including in your CV. Ensure your covering letter highlights key strengths that are relevant to the job you are applying for. A well written letter can save you from having to rewrite your CV each time you want to send your application to a specific job advertisement.
A CV that is presented clearly and targeted to the reader is an essential document towards securing your future role. If you are thinking about your career prospects search vacancies or register with us today.
You are unlikely to get a second chance to make a good impression on a prospective employer. At your interview it is important that you get it right first time. By preparing to succeed you will maximise your chances of securing that job offer.
Prepare yourself, interviews are two way meetings. They are an opportunity for the interviewer to find out about you and whether you are a suitable candidate. Likewise you want to find out about the organisation. Will the position provide you with the challenge and job satisfaction you are looking for?
Know your CV
Think about your skills, qualifications and experience that are relevant to the role. Try to second guess the employer’s shopping list from the job details and match your skills and experience.
Remember, employers buy experience. Think about what evidence of achievement you can talk about in the interview and rehearse your success stories. These are the areas where you can sell yourself and aim to stand out from the competition.
Prepare some interview questions to ask about the role and organisation.
Don’t ask about holiday entitlement or salary at a first interview.
Find out as much as possible about the company prior to the interview. A good starting point is to look at their website and find out about the products and services they offer, the location, and the number of employees.
Always speak to us as we will be able provide additional information on the company.
We recommend that you phone the organisation and ask them to send you their annual report and accounts.
Dress code and appearance
We will brief you on what the client’s dress code is however, in the vast majority of cases, smart business dress is what will be required for interview.
Ensure you are well groomed with tidy hair, clean shoes and clothing. Do not wear too much perfume or aftershave and keep make-up, jewellery and nail polish simple.
Travel and timing
Plan your journey beforehand to ensure you arrive a few minutes early. Allow for possible travel delays. Just in case of a major hold up ensure you have our telephone numbers to hand, if you give as much notice as possible it may be possible to re-schedule.
If you are thinking about your future career prospects search vacancies or register with us today.
So, you have done your homework it is now time for that all important interview.
What to expect
Make sure you know the names of the people who will be interviewing you. It is advisable to practice saying them if they are difficult to pronounce.
Interviews come in many forms; panel interviews, one to one interviews and group interviews. Speak to us about what form of interview you will be attending beforehand.
You may be asked to take a test before the interview, depending on the type of organisation. These may consist of psychometric or aptitude tests. We will advise you of this in advance.
There any many different interview syles and each interviewer will have their own personal style. Some interviewers will fire questions at you while others will start off with an open question such as, “Tell me about yourself”, leaving you to do most of the talking. The majority of interviews will be somewhere between the two. Be prepared for any style of interview.
Find out as much as possible about the candidate specification as this will enable you to demonstrate how you can do the job.
It is important to sell yourself by telling the employer details of your relevant skills and experience and how you could use these in the role you are applying for. Try not to monopolise the meeting – let your interviewer talk.
Ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency and profitability of the organisation. Demonstrate that you have done some research.
Try not to focus on negative information and refrain from criticising previous employers or jobs. The key is to turn negative information into a positive message.
It is a good idea to ask about the next stage to demonstrate your interest in the role.
If you are really interested in the position make sure you tell the interviewer. Employers want candidates that are enthusiastic about their organistion and who are really interested in the role.
After the interview
If you are successful at interview our commitment to you does not end there.Your recruitment consultant will be able to provide you with some valuable feedback on how the interview went. They will also be able to give you some more information about the next stage so keep in touch.