YOUR CV – What should be included?
Personal Information – full name, DOB, address, telephone numbers, email address.
Education – in reverse chronological order. GCSE grades are important at 16, less so at 60!
Work Experience – again, in reverse chronological order, including dates, name of employers, your job title, and a summary of your duties.
Achievements – tailor both the work experience and achievements to highlight their relevance to the nature of work you are applying for. For example, your accounts related duties should be at the start, whilst the general office duties would complete the description.
Personal Profile – a summary of yourself, BUT restrict it to 3/ 4 lines focusing on your real experience. Don’t waffle, as this is an opportunity to sell yourself!
Useful additional information:
Driving licence – do you have one?
Age – strictly not necessary, but an employer will work it out anyway!
Nationality – an employer needs to know if you require a work permit.
Health – use the fact that you enjoy good health as a selling point.
Gender – only necessary if not apparent from Christian name.
Marital status – although not important.
Children – again, not important, although it may explain why a person is seeking a part-time role or one with lesser responsibility. Use your judgement.
Professional memberships – perhaps include with qualifications.
IT systems exposure.
Language proficiency – only include if it extends further than school level.
Employer’s business – useful in particular if you are seeking a move to a related industry.
Last salary – not generally necessary unless specifically asked for, but can be useful to include on your covering letter.
Reasons for career moves – can assist an employer to understand your career progression to date. Research suggests that citing redundancy does not detract from your application.
Staff supervisory experience – it’s useful to an employer to have an understanding of how many staff you are used to supervising?
Training courses – often not necessary to list individually, but a summary can be useful, which you can then elaborate on if requested.
Hobbies – clubs, associations and societies, particularly if you hold a position of responsibility. Also include ‘team’ interests and sports etc.
Voluntary work – again, useful particularly if relevant, but can be left off if space is at a premium.
References – Names of referees can be given, but you run the risk of them being contacted without your knowledge. That said, read what the application demands and follow it to the letter. If names of references are required, it is best to state that they should not be contacted without your prior consent. particularly where your present employer is concerned.
How can you improve your chances of receiving a job offer?
The answer is PREPARATION, PREPARATION AND MORE PREPARATION!
Plan your route and allow extra time (do a dummy run if unsure).
Know the exact location of the interview and any relevant information such as parking and access to the building (especially if your interview is ‘out of hours’).
Know your Interviewer’s correct name (and pronunciation), job title etc.
Read the job spec (if there is one)?
Found out a little about the company, and its business etc?
Visited the company website, and perhaps those of competitor companies?
Contacted Companies’ House to see their latest filed accounts?
PRESENTATION/ BODY LANGUAGE:
Business attire only, but ensure you feel comfortable.
Great everyone you meet with a firm handshake and a direct eye.
Be aware of your bad habits (pen sucking/ tapping etc.), and appearing over confident or extremely nervous can be just as bad!
Sit upright, look alert and maintain good (but not unnerving!) eye contact to indicate your interest and enthusiasm for the position. Maintain your enthusiasm, even if you decide you are not interested in the job, as this will reflect well on your overall professionalism.
Wait to be invited to be seated, and then listen, following the Interviewer’s lead.
Try to ascertain the job requirements early in the interview, so you can then tailor your response – be careful to consider your responses before opening your mouth!
If you do smoke, do try not to go into the interview room reeking of tobacco, as anti-smokers can be very prejudiced – especially as most offices now have a strict ‘non-smoking’ policy.
OTHER USEFUL TIPS:
Be prepared to answer difficult questions, such as ‘what?’, ‘why?’ and ‘where?’ You may also be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, and outside interests.
Remember to stress your achievements rather than your downfalls.
Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers which are unhelpful. You don’t have to give an extensive explanation of everything, but the Interviewer will be seeking a considered response.
Ask your own questions! Don’t interrogate the Interviewer, but showing an interest and preparing a few thoughtful queries will show that you have done your homework. Be careful to direct the right question to the right person. For example, career progression/ training issues to HR, and technical questions to the technical people!
Get used to hearing your own voice in an ‘artificial’ situation, by practising at home first if necessary.
Most people enjoy talking about themselves, but be careful not to overdo it. Only ask questions where appropriate. There is nothing worse than muttering a pre-rehearsed, token question as you are shown the door!
Be careful not to dismiss any opportunity immediately, as this could also prove a good networking opportunity for the future.
Convey your interest both at the interview, and afterwards, through your Agency. If you are keen, it is important that they are aware of this so that they can promote you accordingly.
Remember to BE YOURSELF at all stages of the selection process – don’t forget that it will boil down to your personality as well as your skills!