CV Preparation

CV Preparation

Until your interview you are only as good as the details you have submitted and perhaps your telephone manner.  This makes your CV and covering letter crucial as it is an essential tool in most job searches.  Like any marketing documents a CV should help you to sell yourself.

What should your CV include?

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

If you are replying to a specific job advertisement review what key words and tasks were used in the advertisement.  Which of these applies to you?  Use these words in your CV.

Remember that you want your CV to be read.  Tempt the recipient.  Include just enough information to stimulate interest.  Three pages maximum.  Every word must contribute to the overall message, so keep it brief and make sure that the contents are relevant to the job you are applying for.

The First Page

This should contain your personal details (name, address, contact details, education and qualifications) and a brief general overview of your skills, experience and the nature of work sought.  If you are seeking temporary or contract work, do not forget to include availability and preferred locations.

Pages Two/Three

Here you should highlight your full employment history.  Present this in reverse chronological order.  If you have worked for one company break it down with an entry for each position or project you have been involved with.  For each position held, give your job title, describe the work undertaken, duties and responsibilities.

Include any achievements, not just tasks undertaken.

List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines.

It is recommended that two referees be given.

The Covering Letter

CV's are seldom sent alone, they should be introduced by a covering letter. Ensure you have checked your grammar and spelling before submitting a CV.

Interview Techniques

First Impressions

Research has shown that your interviewer is likely to make up his or her mind about you within the first thirty seconds of having met you.  Make sure that you have an outfit that is smart and presentable.  If you feel comfortable you will appear confident and relaxed.

The following tips will help you to make a positive impression:

  • Shake hands firmly and smile!
  • Maintain eye contact while answering all questions and speak clearly.
  • Answer questions fully, try to avoid answering with a straight "yes" or "no".
  • Try to think of questions to ask the interviewer to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm.
  • Try to present yourself in the best possible light, but make sure that you don't say something that you can not substantiate.

Expect the Unexpected

Bear in mind that interviews vary enormously.  You may be asked to sit an aptitude test to prove that you have the necessary skills for the job. The interview itself may be a quick, informal chat across a crowded office or it could involve a panel of interviewers all firing questions at you. There may even be group activities with other candidates designed to see how you perform in a team situation, or you may be called back for further interviews on another day.  Often, candidates fail to perform to the best of their abilities because they were thrown into a situation they were not expecting .

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