Stand out from the Crowd – Writing a great CV
Research has shown that employers will spend on average 10 seconds reviewing your CV before accepting or rejecting it for a role. With many job ads receiving 100+ applications, it is important that your CV stands out from the crowd (for the right reasons!) and makes it through the first sift.
It is important to remember that a CV is often your first introduction to an employer, and they will form an impression of you based on this document. While crafting a winning CV can take time, the pay offs can be huge if you secure your dream job, so consider it an investment in yourself.
- Tailor your CV: Remember, your CV is often the only tool you have to securing an interview with a company. It is therefore important that you tailor this each time you apply for a role. Take the time to research the company and review the job spec, highlighting the skills experience and attributes that you have which are relevant to the particular role.
- Introductory Paragraph/ Personal Profile: This can be a great way of highlighting your key skills, career achievements and ambitions for the future. Again, align this with the company ethos and job specification for impact, but be succinct!
- Contact Details: Ensure that your contact details are included, and are up to date. If an employer is interested in your CV, they need to be able to reach you!
Experience: You should list your experience in reverse chronological order, detailing the company name, dates of employment (month and year) and your job title. Keep this short – bullet point your experience to allow the reader to easily see how it relates to their role or company.
Your CV should be no longer than 3 pages, with any gaps in employment clearly explained.
- Achievements: Employers like to see tangible results – if you can detail key achievements within each role, this will demonstrate how you can add value to a team or organisation (focus on time saved, money saved, process improvements identified or customer experience improved).
- Formatting: Don’t over format – the document should be reader friendly and professional. Overuse of fonts, highlighting and clip art (yes!) does not enhance the CV, but typically makes it look less professional.
- Education Details: Include Education details, but keep it to the point and relevant. Detailing the Institution, dates attended, exams passed with grade included is sufficient. If you have failed an exam or exams, do not include in this section as it detracts from your positive grades.
- Don’t Lie: An obvious but important point. When writing your CV, you should never lie or significantly over egg your experience. This will always come to light and will often make employers question your integrity, or cast doubt on an innocent situation.
- Reference Details: A prospective employer will always want to verify references, so always either include a minimum of 2 relevant work related references (most recent employers) or include a statement of intent.
- Check, check and check again: And finally, before you hit send, check and double check the document for accuracy. For most Business Support roles, accuracy and attention to detail is critical, so a mistake on your CV can mean an immediate rejection.
A job interview provides you with a unique opportunity show an employer why you are the perfect candidate for the role. This is your opportunity to shine, potentially landing you your dream job.
While nerves are natural in this situation, it is important that they are kept under control, allowing you to be at your best. As with everything, a little preparation goes a long way to ensuring success. Some important points to remember include;
- Ensure that you know the exact date, time and location of the interview. If the area is unfamiliar to you, do a dry run the night before so that you are familiar with the route, parking arrangements etc. This way, you won’t be phased on the day of the interview.
- Allow time for the unexpected! Inevitably, when you have an important appointment to attend you get a flat tyre, or get stuck in traffic. Plan for this – allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. It is much better to be early and relaxed than late and in a panic.
- Research the company and interview panel: It is surprising how many times job seekers will attend interview without having taken the time to research the company or do a little background reading on the panel. Employers will usually ask what you know about their business – this should not be a surprise. A lack of preparation at this end demonstrates a lack of commitment and enthusiasm for the role.
- Review your CV: Read through your CV to refresh yourself on key dates, achievements and experience. Review the job description and can clearly articulate how you meet the key requirements within the role. Anticipate questions that the employer may ask and prepare clear concise responses to each. A frustrating, but common statement from job seekers is ‘it’s hard to know what you do all day’. This will not get you the job.
- Follow Up Questions: The interview is a two-way process, and this is your opportunity to learn more about the company and strategic plans. Pertinent follow up questions will demonstrate your interest in the role and set you apart from other job seekers.
- Dress Code: While many employers have a more relaxed dress code, always attend interview in smart business attire and remove any excessive piercings or jewellery.
How to Deliver A Winning Interview
First impressions count...research would suggest that prospective employers will form an opinion of a job seeker within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. While it is important that you get this right, you should remember that you are being assessed the entire time you are in the interview situation – from the minute you greet the receptionist until the time you leave. We hope these tips will help you ace your interview!
Arrive a few minutes early – late arrival for an interview indicates a lack of preparation, which is inexcusable.
Be nice to the receptionist: Whether you realise it or not, the interview panel will often ask the receptionist for their feedback on all prospective candidates. How you treat people when you don’t realise you are being ‘assessed’ is an important consideration for many employers.
Address the interview panel by name: This helps to build rapport, familiarity and demonstrates an interest in being there.
Smile & Handshake: A confident smile and strong (but not overpowering) hand shake create an air of confidence and again build rapport. Many employers report feeling disconnected by a weak or underwhelming hand shake.
Eye Contact: It is important to maintain eye contact with the interviewer. If the panel consists of more than one person, make sure to maintain contact with all and not focus on one individual.
Provide detailed, relevant responses to answers.
Be yourself: Employers can often identify if a candidate is overegging their experience, or being disingenuous throughout the process. An important part of the interview process is to build rapport and this can often create a barrier between you and the employer.
Be Professional: Always remember that you are in an interview situation. No matter how much you disliked a previous employer, always look for the positives in the situation. A candidate bad mouthing an ex-employer is a red flag at interview.
Follow Up: After the interview, always remember to send an email (or even better, a letter) to the employer thanking them for their time. This common courtesy will not go unrecognised and will set you apart from the rest.
You can contact the team on 028 96207050.