Jobseekers: get the basics right!

Job interview

Some simple, but important, guidelines on CV preparation and Interview preparation, which may be of assistance to you.

CV preparation

Remember, your CV is a tool to help you get an interview – it will not get you a job! There are several formats or styles, which are acceptable, but in any format it should usually be no more than two pages long.

The CV should contain:

  • Personal Information – full name, address and contact details
  • Skills and Career Summary – two or three key ‘selling points’
  • Educational and Professional Qualifications (it is not necessary to list all places of education, the most recent and relevant are sufficient)
  • Career History – the current or most recent position should appear first. Do not copy your job description but do include:
    • Company Name and dates of your employment e.g. 1999 – 2003
    • Your position/title
    • Main tasks and responsibilities and key achievements – use bullet points
    • Hobbies/pastimes – Think about the position for which you are applying and make sure that the most relevant information for the employer is included.
    • Employers read many CVs so it is important that your strengths for a position are clear.

The CV must be:

  • Honest and factual
  • Correctly spelt and neatly presented- many employers will not interview an applicant who they believe to be careless.
  • A document with which you are happy as representing you professionally.

Find out more about writing your CV here.

Interview preparation

If you are invited for interview, your CV has generated interest enough about your experience and background that the employer wishes to meet you to learn more about you. Now is your opportunity to demonstrate that, as well as the experience and qualifications for the position, you have the required personal qualities. Employers may be looking for a number of different attributes including confidence, motivation, honesty, enthusiasm, communication skills, reliability etc. Preparation for an interview with a potential employer can be as important as the interview itself! Candidates who are well prepared favourably impress interviewers. To assist your preparation, we have listed below some important information and tips. Before the interview:

  • Know about the Company – use the Internet.
  • Know about the position – if you are working with a Recruitment Consultant you should be given clear, precise information. If you need more, ASK!
  • Be sure that you have the date, time, location and the name of the interviewer(s). Double check when the information is given to you.
  • Check on the correct dress code for the interview – whether formal or not, your appearance must be neat and tidy.
  • Be sure that you will be able to make it to the interview on time. Check how to reach the location and allow for delay. You should present yourself at reception about 10 minutes before your scheduled time.
  • Do not arrange another appointment following this one – you can never be sure how long an interview will last. To leave early is definitely a bad move!
  • Make sure that you are ready to answer questions about your employment history, achievements, goals and person qualities. What of your skills, experience and personality is suited to the position.
  • Prepare a couple of questions that you would like to ask about the company or the position. These should not be about remuneration – the interviewer should open that subject.

Find out more about interview preparation here.

The Interview

  • Introduce yourself to the interviewer with a smile, a clear voice and a firm handshake. Take a seat after it has been offered.
  • Sit straight but comfortably and do not move around too much.
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer!
  • Maintain eye contact but do not stare too directly. Make sure that you look at the interviewer when answering a question – looking away gives an impression of hiding something.
  • Be truthful!
  • Be natural but not over-confident.
  • Do not be concerned if you don’t know something – honesty is better than evasiveness. If you are not sure but have an idea, say so.
  • Ask your questions and pay attention to the answers.
  • At the end of the interview you should be told what the next step(s) are to be – if not, ask.
  • Thank the interviewer and if you feel that you want the job – SAY SO!

Find out more about questions you might be asked, or you might ask, in the job interview here.

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