Employers receive multiple applications for each role they recruit. Initial shortlisting is purely on assessment of your CV. Your CV is your main marketing tool and will either open or firmly close doors for you, so it is important to get it right.
- Be honest – every detail in your CV will be thoroughly checked, if not at interview stage then certainly once a job offer has been made. By falsifying information relating to qualifications or experience you will jeopardise any offer of employment
- Be concise – try to keep the CV to 2 -3 pages; any more than this is unnecessary
- Tailor your CV to each role for which you apply and include details of responsibilities for each of your previous roles
- Include details of all academic and professional qualifications
- Write the CV chronologically including dates (month & year) of each period of employment
- Do not leave gaps in the CV – it is important that your account for all of your time
- Do not duplicate information; it wastes time and space. If something is listed as an “achievement” then it does not also need to be a “responsibility”
- Be selective when including extra-curricular activities – include things that add value to the CV (team sports, sporting/artistic achievements, charity work, etc…) or that can be used as a topic of conversation with an interviewer (specific hobbies and interests). Avoid generalisms such as “socialising”
- Re-read your CV before sending it anywhere and, ideally ask someone else to proof read it.
- Presentation is important – a sloppy and poorly presented CV gives the impression of an unprofessional and sloppy attitude and lack of attention to detail. Common spelling and grammar mistakes are not always picked up by automated checks so it is important not to rely solely on these
Before the interview:
- Research the company – use the company’s corporate website, press reports and other on-line research tools
- Research the role – ensure you have thoroughly reviewed the job description and any additional notes or information your consultant has provided you with
- Review your CV – the interviewer may focus purely on your background, so be prepared to discuss and justify your career and academic choices
- Prepare for both technical and competency based questions and questions about you. As well as your technical knowledge and ability to do the job interviewers will be assessing your “soft skills”, communication skills, team fit and future potential
- Research the interview location – and time your journey, making allowances for transport delays
During the interview:
- Arrive on time. If you are late for reasons outside of your control, do not ignore the issue – apologise!
- Dress appropriately. Do not assume that because a company is “dressing down” it is acceptable for you to do so for interview purposes. Taking your appearance/image seriously means you are taking the interview and the company seriously.
- Be aware of your body language. Up to 55% of your “first impression” will be made by non-verbal means; lean slightly forward in your chair to ensure you appear engaged with the interview, don’t fidget and make sure you maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Be confident about yourself and positive about your skills, the role and your ability to perform it and the company and your motivation for working there
- Listen to the interviewer and answer the specific question they ask. If you are unsure, request clarification.
- Give comprehensive but concise specific examples of your experience, achievements and strengths. Make sure that you use examples that you can directly relate to the role.
- Be honest – if you do no tell the truth you run the risk of getting caught out – honesty is the best policy!
- Ask questions – this demonstrates your genuine interest in the role and the company and also allows you to clarify anything of which you are unsure
- Never be negative about your current or previous employers – if you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing!
- Always reiterate your interest in the role and the company at the end of your interview
After the interview:
- Phone or email your consultant with feedback promptly so that this can be fed back to the company