Hints and Tips

Ready for Your Interview?

The interview process is a two-way street; although it’s a chance for your potential employer to learn more about your educational and professional background and skills to determine whether you are right for the job, it’s also an opportunity for you to gain more of an insight into whether this job is right for you by asking intelligent questions.

1. What does a typical day in this role look like?

Although it might be a fairly straightforward question, asking this will allow you to learn as much as you can about the daily tasks you would be carrying out as part of the role, and what your main responsibilities would be.

Not only will this demonstrate an eagerness to understand more about the job, it also means that you won’t have any surprises on your first day if you are offered the position.

2. What qualities does someone need to be really successful in this position?

If the interviewer responds to this question by mentioning specific skills or traits which you feel you possess but didn’t manage to cover in the interview, use this as an opportunity to further explain why you have the right personal qualities for this role, expanding on relevant qualifications and work experience.

3. What training and induction will I be given?

This is a great opportunity to display a real willingness to learn new skills and hit the ground running in your role almost immediately, ensuring you are fully prepared to take on the demands of your new job.

4. What is the scope for promotion?

By enquiring about opportunities to advance your career in the future, the interviewer will pick up on your ambition for career success, and that you are keen to progress within the organisation.

5. What types of professional development opportunities do you offer?

This question highlights that you’re a go-getter, who is keen to develop your skills to fit in with what the company needs, and add value to the organisation.

6. What is the performance review process like here?

It’s important for you to know exactly how the company measures the performance of its employees so that you know what you need to aim towards. Asking this will show the employer that you’re objective- driven and committed to delivering real results for the business.

7. Where do you see the business in five years’ time?

Demonstrating a curiosity about the business as a whole and its prospects is something that the interviewer will be impressed by. You’ll also be displaying a commitment to staying with the company long-term, rather than using this opportunity as a springboard to a career with another organisation.

8. What are the next steps?

By asking what happens next, you’ll not only be able to get a better idea about when you should expect to hear about whether you have been successful or not, but you’ll also be signalling an enthusiasm for the job and moving forward in the recruitment process.

Writing the best CV

Whether you’re a new graduate or well versed in the professional world, your CV can always be improved and amended.

Throughout your career you should always aim to keep your CV as up to date as possible; it can help you make sure the information you’re putting down is fresh from your mind and entirely correct.

1. Short and sweet

Keep your CV to a two-page minimum; this amount of information is manageable for the employer and shows that you’re able to edit and condense your own work. As long as your work is laid out in a way that’s clear and legible, keeping to two pages can also be more visually appealing.
Don’t think that reeling out 10 pages of your achievements will impress anyone; the real skill lies in the condensing, the editing and the formatting!

2. Tell the Truth

Never lie in your CV, it will only come back to bite you: be honest in your abilities and skills. Remember, if you get through to the interview stage you’ll be asked about elements within your CV. More importantly if you get the job, you’ll be expected to apply the skills you’ve claimed to have.

Lying may help you blag your dream job, but you may not keep it for very long!

3. Key achievements

Without over doing it and listing your school sports day medals, put down what you feel are your most impressive or important achievements in your professional life.

As you have limited space, make sure you tailor the achievements you choose to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a role within a sales or customer service environment then highlight key achievements you are proud of.

4. Employment History

List your employment history in order of most current role first. When you’re doing this, be aware of any gaps in your employment.

If you do have gaps, rather than ignore them and hoping the employer won’t notice (because they will), write about them honestly. Include why you were unemployed at the time, and make note of any personal or professional development you undertook, any travelling or volunteer work.

5. Hobbies

This is an optional section to be kept to a minimum. When writing your CV at 16-18, this may have been more appropriate. That said, if your hobbies are particularly interesting (or if they might provide a relevant talking point at the interview stage) then it may be worth making an exception to this rule.

6. Contact Me

Remember that your CV may be viewed away from your email and personal statement. It’s therefore vital that you include your name and contact details clearly on your CV. Make it as easy as possible for the employer to offer you the job!

With these tips in mind, why not take out your CV, brush the dust off and get to work?

Remember to take your time; proving your skills in just a few paragraphs isn’t an easy task for anyone. Ultimately your CV is your chance to show you’ve understood the job, and match it to the skills you already have.