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CV & Interview Tips

To help remove the hassle, and make you far more prepared for securing you dream job, we have devised a selection of helpful hints and tips to help you along your recruitment journey.

CV tips

Do you struggle to know what you should include and say within your CV. Use our handy do's and don'ts to make your CV stand out from the crowd.
Preparing your CV

Do

Think about your skills’ competencies, qualifications and experience. What are your unique selling points and strengths?

Don’t

Ignore the specific job advertisement, review what key words and tasks were used in the advert - use these words, if they apply to you.
Include any of the following in your CV from a security point of view:
  • National Insurance number
  • Driving license number
  • Bank details
  • Credit card details
  • Passwords
  • Date of birth
Helpful hints

Do

  • Include enough information to stimulate interest, but don’t bore the reader.
  • Ensure your CV is well structured and well laid out; this gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review (a CV that is hard to read is often put aside and forgotten).
  • Pay close attention to instructions in advertisements (e.g. spelling of the contact’s name).
  • Always check your spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid self-opinion - aim to include factual information or objective evidence and remember to focus on the benefits of your achievements.
  • Include your personal details, your home address and contact details at the top of the page, followed by a brief summary of educational credentials and qualifications.
  • Highlight your employment history; Present this in reverse chronological order (i.e. last job first). For each position held, briefly describe your responsibilities and work undertaken. Using bullet points can make your CV easier to read.
  • Ensure you use the correct tense, i.e. don’t use the present tense for a job you held several years ago.
  • Include any fluent languages, courses or training you may have done, or any professional memberships.

Don't

  • Go over three pages . Every word must contribute to the overall message - so keep it brief and make sure the content is relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • Use fancy fonts or include a photograph. You'll get a much better result with clean fonts and a simple layout.
  • Just include regular tasks, include achievements. If you can, quantify them in sales, financial or production terms. Each professional position that you've had should include at least one statement of accomplishment.
  • List your hobbies and interests in more than three lines. Any voluntary, charity or external posts you hold are definitely worth including (e.g. school governor).
  • It is recommended that two referees are included – detailing the referees’ official titles and contact details.
The covering letter
CV’s are seldom used alone; they should always be introduced by a covering letter or email. Recruitment consultants and employers receive hundreds of CVs and an interesting introductory letter can make yours stand out. The letter should encourage the CV to be read. Use your letter to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you from including in the CV (i.e. to highlight your key strengths to a particular job). An introductory letter can save you from having to rewrite the CV each time you want to target your application to a specific advertisement or sector.

Interview tips

Use our key interview do's and don'ts to help combat those interview nerves by feeling far more prepared.
Prepare yourself
Interviews are two way meetings. Not only are they an opportunity for the interviewer to find out about you, but they are also an opportunity for you to find out about the organisation, and if the position will provide you with the challenge and job satisfaction that you are looking for.

Do

  • Think about your skills and experience and make sure that you can talk confidently about what is written on your CV. Ensure that you can talk about those skills that are particularly relevant and valuable to the position you are going for.
  • Prepare some questions to ask at the interview. At the first interview it would be wise to restrict your questions to the details of the job and the organisation. Salary and benefit discussions are best left until a second interview or a job offer is made.
  • Your homework. Find out as much as possible about the company prior to the interview. A good starting point is to look at their website and find out about the products and services they offer, the location of the office/s and the number of employees. Ask your consultant if they have any extra information on them.
Dress code & appearance

Do

  • Ask your consultant what the client's dress code is. For office work, smart business dress is a must.
  • Ensure you are well groomed with tidy hair, clean shoes and clothing.

Don't

  • Wear too much perfume or aftershave and keep make-up, jewellery and nail polish simple.
Travel & timing

Do

  • Plan your journey beforehand to ensure you arrive a few minutes early.
  • Allow for possible travel delays. Just in case of a major hold up, make sure you have your contact's telephone number so that you can call if you suspect you are going to be late.
Two way communication
Make sure the employer knows the benefits of employing you. It is important to sell yourself by telling the employer details of the relevant skills and experience you can offer.

Do

  • Find out the key attributes they are looking for, so that you can show how you meet them.
  • Ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency and profitability of the organisation.

Don't

  • Monopolise the meeting - let your interviewer talk.
  • Let your preparation go to waste. Show that you have done some research.
  • Give negative information or bad news if you are not asked for it and don't criticise previous employers or jobs. The key is to turn negative information into positive information.
The next Steps
Agree exactly what the next steps will be, such as who will contact you to let you know if you have been successful and by when. You should also find out whether there will be second interviews and who will conduct them. If you are really interested in the position, make sure you tell the interviewer.