Tips & Advice

CV Advice

As a general rule, employers initially spend about three seconds scanning a CV, sifting out the candidates they want to see from those they don't. Many candidates who are applying for the same role will have similar experience and skills – so what is it that makes some CVs more successful than others?

Essential attributes of a successful CV:

Clear - in presentation as well as in writing style. Use bold to highlight headings and avoid underlining. Choose a font and size that is easy to read, e.g. Calibri 11/12, or Verdana and Arial, 10. Break text up with bullets highlighting key skills.

Concise – remember that the employer only spends a short amount of time on your CV, so you have the opportunity to expand on certain things in your covering letter. Try to stick to two sides of A4. Bullet points are useful: a CV which is laid out like an essay can be difficult and time-consuming to read.

Accurate – mistakes and typos are not acceptable in a CV and decrease your chances of getting the role. Don't just rely on Word's spell check: you need to check the text on a hard copy and get others to proofread it too.

Relevant – when detailing responsibilities, experiences and skills, try to make these as relevant as possible to the job you're applying for. You must remember to tailor your CV as well as your cover letter when applying for new roles.

A CV's basic structure is as follows:

  • Full name and contact details
  • Profile/Personal statement
  • Work experience/Employment History
  • Key skills/Qualifications
  • Education
  • Hobbies/interests
  • References

For more advice on writing the perfect CV, visit our blog archive where we share some valuable tips.

Interview Advice

A ten-point plan of action:

  1. Before the interview: Do your research! Research the organisation, what are their most recent titles? Who are their key authors?  What markets do they serve? Show you are up to date by looking at current company news.
  2. Swat up on the interviewers. Research the people who will be interviewing you and practice saying their name if it is difficult to pronounce.
  3. Know your key strengths and weaknesses in relation to the job description . Practice answering competency based questions with relevant examples to use. What skills and attributes are most relevant to the role?
  4. Refer back to your cover letter, what examples did you use? Employers are most interested in your relevant and recent experience. Focus on these areas, not experience that is outside the job remit or from a long time ago.
  5. Prepare at least three questions that you can ask at the end of the interview, use these questions to demonstrate your interest in the role, the company and its products.
  6. Plan your journey carefully to make sure you’re not late. Also, plan your outfit so that you are smartly presented. You want you appearance to display you are professional and organised.
  7. Greeting: a firm handshake and make good eye contact.
  8. During the interview: Be positive and take your time. Speak slowly, clearly and don’t ramble. Be relevant and focussed. Listen to the question and ensure your answers are upbeat and focussed on how you can add value to their organisation.
  9. After the interview: Thank them for their time and make sure to follow up to find out when you will hear feedback.
  10. Remain positive: even if you’re not sure about that particular vacancy or you haven’t been successful, a good first impression can last a lifetime. They may consider you for similar roles in the future.

 

For more advice on preparing for an interview, visit our blog archive where we share some valuable tips.

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