Your CV and how you behave throughout the interview process is critical to your success. Our advice will help you market yourself, secure that vital first interview and then excel when you meet potential employers.
Preparing your CV is the first step to finding yourself that new job. It is vital to spend time in getting this right – below are a few guidelines to help you in the process.
- CVs should be no more than 2/3 pages long. If necessary, use an appendix to show completed transactions or projects.
- Emphasise your most recent positions first. Older roles can be summarised to keep the CV to a manageable length.
- Include one sentence to describe the companies you have worked for (size and business activity are key areas.)
- List your key achievements. In addition to outlining your responsibilities you should also identify your main achievements within a role, quoting figures where possible.
- Employers want to feel that you will add value to their organisation through your actions as well as carry out your day-to-day duties
- List your IT and language skills.
- Don’t be dishonest. Employers checks are getting more and more thorough.
- Don’t be inconsistent with dates. In particular don't leave any gaps in the CV. If you took time off voluntarily or through redundancy then state this.
- Don’t include a photo or use decorative typeface. They may be seen as 'gimmicks' used to hide poor content.
Interviews are still the most popular selection method for employers in identifying their ideal candidate. The following guidelines will help ensure that your performance is strong and that you make it to the second interview stage.
- Ensure that you know the exact time and location of your interview, who you are seeing, what their position is within the company, and how you pronounce their name. First impressions are essential
- Arrive 15 minutes early
- Research the company and their product. Before you go, read company information, visit competitors' websites and read trade magazines for the latest industry developments
- Study the job specification again and match it to your CV so that you can provide evidence that you meet the job requirement
- Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake. Be positive even if you conclude that the position is not for you. You won't necessarily know what else the company are or may be recruiting for.
- Listen - sometimes, people get so caught up in their feelings they forget to actually listen to the questions.
- In an interview panel situation ensure that you are speaking to the whole group. Do not direct your answers the person who you believe to be the key decision maker of the group. He or she may not be and often is not.
- Before you respond to more difficult questions, think about your answer and how you want to express them - this will help you speak more confidently.
- Do not discuss salary in the 1st interview unless they do; getting the job at this stage is the main priority - salary negotiations will follow.
- Don't say negative things about previous employers
- On conclusion of the interview give a firm handshake and thank the interviewer for their time.
- How was your performance rated in your last annual review?
- Why are you leaving your current employer?
- Describe your achievements to date.
- What are your strengths/ weaknesses?
- Describe a challenge that you have had to face in your job and how outline how you overcame it.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
- Tell me about yourself?
- How do you respond to working under pressure?
- What kind of people do you find difficult to work with?
- Are you a team player or do you prefer working alone? Why?
- What motivates you?
- How do you motivate others?
- Why do you think you would be good at this job?
- What changes in the workplace have caused you difficulty and why?
It is highly recommended to have a number of questions prepared. This is always taken as a demonstration of your interest in the company/role. Examples of such questions include:
- How has this position become vacant?
- Who will I report to?
- Will I be managing staff?
- What plans do you have for expansion - how would these impact on my role?
- Where are the opportunities to progress within the company?
- What training or induction is given?
- What would be my core responsibilities?
- What interaction would I have with other departments of the company, or with clients or suppliers?
- For me to be seen as successful in my job, what are the three key things you would ike me to achieve in the first six months?