This page is intended to give you guidance and advice on writing your CV and preparing for job interviews. This is not intended to be prescriptive, these are only suggestions. We are always happy to talk you through CV and job interview techniques in person - but these guidelines should help you start.
It's important to give your CV some thought and spend some time on getting it right. A well presented CV which clearly details your skills and experience can make all the difference in getting the job you really want.
Your CV should be between 2-3 pages in length and include the following sections.
Most importantly, always thoroughly proof-read your CV or ask someone to do it for you.
It is important before a job interview to think about all the reasons why you are attending it and what you have to offer the organisation. Be ready to discuss both short and long term career goals in general terms.
You will also need to explain gaps in employment. If you worked in a temporary capacity but didn't put it on your CV, know the details of which companies you worked with, what you did for them and the length of the assignments. If you did not work but did search for a job give some examples of the research you did regarding job opportunities and the process you went through to find the position.
Prepare to discuss the reasons you left your previous jobs. If it was for a better opportunity, explain why it was better. If you left involuntarily, present the reason in the most positive light you can. Make sure your responses are honest and be positive.
Before attending any job interview it is a good idea to research the organisation and familiarise yourself with the following:
Employers use interviews to confirm that an applicant has the required knowledge, skills and willingness to contribute and fit into the organisation's culture. They also want to see if your career goals are in line with opportunities available with their organisation. They are looking for the potential in prospective employees to become valued, trusted, productive team members of their organisation.
You must try to consider how you can display your skills and experience in a good and honest light and provide employers with the evidence that you are the right person for the job. Here are some brief points to consider:
Recruiters look for an objective analysis of your abilities. For strengths, recruiters want to know why you think it is strength and where it has been demonstrated. For weaknesses they want to know what steps you could take to improve.
There are several different types or styles of job interview that you may come across. It is important that to remember that no two job interviews are the same and that you can always improve your interview style and preparation.
Job interviews may follow a more traditional format. The following is a list of typical job interview questions which may arise in one form or another. It is a good idea to reflect on the sort of answer you might give before a job interview but it is unwise to memorise answers as you risk coming across as unnatural and not genuine. It is a good idea to back your answers up with examples taken from your own work experience.
In an effort to get a well-rounded perspective on candidates, many companies ask numerous people to participate in the selection process. You may interview with an HR specialist, the hiring manager, the hiring manager's boss and even staff members who would be your peers. In small companies you may have to sell yourself to the entire staff.
You will need to be sure to connect with each person. Make eye contact with the person asking the questions and glance at the other team members while answering to be sure that you are connecting with each individual.
Be sensitive to the dynamics in the team. If they seem to want to control the interview, relax and flow with it, on the other hand be sure to offer information and ask questions.
Take responsibility for ensuring that the group understands what you have to offer. Don't be overly aggressive and take over, yet do interact and show your enthusiasm.
Each person's opinion can be weighted equally; in some cases, just one team member's opposition can disqualify a candidate. Sometimes it is unclear what role or position each person holds so be respectful of everyone you meet.
The interviewer asks specific questions seeking information about a candidate's skills, c haracter and preferences based on examples of past behaviour. During the behavioural job interview, questions are directed toward specific experiences. Some examples follow:
"Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person at a work."
"What proactive steps have you taken to make your workplace more efficient and productive? Specifically describe a policy, project or system you created or initiated."
"Describe a high pressure situation you had to handle at work. Tell me what happened, who was involved and what you did in terms of problem solving."
"Some situations require us to express ideas or opinions in a very tactful and careful way. Tell me about a time when you were successful in this type of situation."
The key in behavioural job interviewing is to paint a picture of the reasons and thinking about the decision or behaviour without bringing in unessential details. It is expected that forming an answer will take time. Think your examples through.
Be aware of the tendency to become too relaxed and reveal information that you didn't intend to share. You need to do your part to foster the conversational tone, but don't become so relaxed that you start straying from the point. Be friendly, stay professional.
Try to think of some questions to ask at the interview. If you have researched the company well, you will be able to come up with some questions concerning the organisation. You may also like to find out more about your responsibilities in the role, the organisation's long and short term aims, training opportunities and what they would hope you achieve in the first six months.
Other things to remember:
For more information or queries regarding CV and job interviews, please contact us in the Recruitment Department on 020 7332 6000 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.