CV Advice

A CV is often the first opportunity for a potential employer to assess how you present yourself. A poorly written CV, no matter how relevant the content, will probably create a negative impression.

  • One page is too short, four is maximum – two or three pages are optimum
  • Ensure you supply your contact details, summary of education, qualifications (including degree and grade) as well as training courses attended
  • Your skills summary should go on the first page, followed by your current or last job.
  • You should always list employers in reverse chronological order
  • Describe each employer briefly by outlining their industry or market
  • Give your job title, a brief description of what you do and your responsibilities and summarise your key achievements i.e. management responsibilities (number of staff), cost savings for the company, length of projects etc
  • If you have an unusual job title, then please give a generic description of what you do
  • Future employers do not need as much detail about what you did 5 years ago, even less about what you did 10 years ago, a single sentence may suffice
  • Do not include too many hobbies or interests
  • Before submitting your CV check it thoroughly for errors, not just for spelling and grammar, but also to make sure it is a clear representation of you and your skills

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Interview Preparation

Preparation is the first essential step toward a successful interview. It is important to:
  • Do some research on the company interviewing you. You should know what its products and services are, what its growth has been and what its growth potential is for the future. You should find their details on the internet and go through the web pages on the site.
  • Prepare the questions you will ask during the interview. Remember that an interview is a “two-way-street". The employer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications necessary to do the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development you seek.
  • Some probing questions you might ask.. (a) A detailed description of the role? (b) Reason the position is available? (c) Anticipated training programme? (d) The next step in the hiring process?
  • Be prepared for a technical interview or possibly a written test.
Be prepared to answer questions like these…
  1. Why did you choose this particular vocation?
  2. Why do you think you might like to work for our company?
  3. What do you know about our company?
  4. Can you get recommendations from previous employers?
  5. Can you take instructions without feeling upset?
  6. What is your major weakness?
  7. Are you willing to relocate?
  8. How do you spend your spare time?
  9. What are your hobbies?
  10. What jobs have you enjoyed the most? The least? Why?

Interview Tips

You are being interviewed because the employer wants to hire people – not because they want to trip you up or embarrass you. Through the interaction that will take place during the interview the employer will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and the interviewer will probably probe deeply to determine your attitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.

Some “DO'S" and “DON'TS" concerning the interview:

DO plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
DO remember to switch off your mobile phone.
DO greet the employer by their surname. Give the appearance of energy as you walk. Smile!
DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile…
DO look a prospective employer in the eye while you talk to them.
DO follow the employer's leads, but try to get the employer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background, skills and accomplishments to the position. Remember, although they are interviewing you, you should be interviewing them as well.
DON'T answer questions with a simple “yes" or “no". Explain wherever possible. Tell those things about you which relate to the situation.
DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, logical and sincere manner. Stress achievements.
DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as “to the point as possible".
DON'T ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies. DON'T over answer questions...DON'T waffle!
DON'T enquire about SALARY, HOLIDAYS, BONUSES, RETIREMENT, etc. on the initial interview unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks you what salary you want, indicate what you've earned but that you are more interested in opportunity than a specific salary at the present.
DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing.
NEVER close the door to an opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of positions, rather than only one.
 

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