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Hints and Tips

Your CV

Some CV's are nothing more than a list of jobs and their duties. An employer wants to know what you achieved in previous job, so make sure you put down something measurable wherever possible: how did you add value? What specifically did you achieve? Always be honest about what you’ve done, make sure you keep all training or qualifications up to date. One training course could make all the difference.

Personal details:
Firstly, of course, give your name, address, contact phone & e-mail address.  Next you should put together a short personal summary just a few lines about your skills, experience and what you aim to achieve. This will help build a picture of you in the readers mind.

Career History:
Starting with your current role, list your jobs in reverse order by date. State your job title, the employers name & location (city or town is usually enough), and then a description of the role. In this description, try to emphasise experience relevant to the role you’re applying for. Include any particular achievements too. The further back you go, you should include less information, and unless it’s of particular relevance to the role you’re applying for.

Don’t leave any gaps in your career history always be honest about what you’ve been doing. Also, don’t include the reason for leaving any role, as this will likely be discussed at interview.

Qualifications & Education 

As with your career history, start with the most recent and work back. State the university, college or school, along with the qualifications achieved. If you’re currently in education, try and include any work experience or voluntary work that may be relevant to the application.

If you can demonstrate that something you do in your spare time would help at work then of course do mention this. As ever, don’t state something which you can’t back up at interview.

Presentation and Layout:
As already outlined above, a manager will see many CV’s, so making your CV professional and easy to follow will help. The key things to remember are:

An Interview

This is it - the CV has got you the interview, so how do you approach this? You're bound to be nervous, but a little preparation will not only make you feel better, it'll help you make more of the opportunity. The reason you have an interview is that the employer thinks you can do the job - follow these simple hints and you should be set up to deliver.

Find out about the company - the website is the obvious place to start. Maybe get hold of some literature; discover who their competition is. The chance may not arise, but if it does you can really demonstrate a great level of interest in the company.

First impressions last:
It's stating the obvious, but look smart and professional. Lean towards traditional rather than a trendy look. Don't forget that copy of the CV either. There's nothing worse than being late, so give yourself extra time and plan that journey. When meeting the manager(s), look them in the eyes, smile and shake hands firmly.

Be positive:
This interview is where you expand on the main points of the CV. Emphasise your skills and experience that suit the job you're going for. Avoid negative or tentative phrases - 'I think I could...' and so on. Be enthusiastic about your jobs - try not to interrupt, but if you're seen to be lively and enjoy talking about your experiences this will help build a positive picture. Before the interview, try and think of any likely questions and work through the answers. You'll be surprised at what a bit of effort in this area can achieve. Lastly, don't bluff your way through - if you don't know the answer, ask for clarification. If you still don't know then say so. Honesty is always the best policy.

Likely questions:
Think about these often-asked interview questions - what's your answer?
How would you describe yourself?
How would your friends/manager describe you?
Give me an example of how you've coped under pressure?
What are your strengths & weaknesses? Everyone has weaknesses so mention just one - then turn it around to demonstrate that you're aware of it and work hard to overcome it.
Body language:
The way you handle yourself at interview may undo all the good work to date. Sit comfortably with a good upright posture - don't sit with your arms crossed, lean forward or tap your feet. All these things do not look good.

You're interviewing them too!
You'll undoubtedly get the chance to ask the interviewer(s) a question or two. Get these straight in your head beforehand. Here's a few examples:
What are the training opportunities?
What exactly would my responsibilities be?
How long until a final decision will be made about the job?

Close with confidence:
Aim to leave them with a good memory of you. Thank them for their time, tell them that you enjoyed discussing the role and hope to hear back soon.





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