CV and Interview Guidance


For a successful campaign in your job search, your CV must have impact and should you become shortlisted then your interview performance should be impressive.  The following guidance may be useful to help you to stand out from other candidates.

CV format

Remember that your CV has to have immediate impact and from this we and the client will get the first impression.  Consider adapting your CV to meet the requirements of the specific vacancy you are applying for so that you focus upon the particular experience and achievements that are relevant to the opportunity.  Ensure your CV is in Word format, avoid using “I” and using your own name within the text.  It should be in clear sections without the need for extra formatting such as boxes, tables or shading and it should ideally be 2-3 pages.  Add your name to each page and remember to check for spelling and grammar before submitting in Word, not pdf format.

  • Ensure that your CV is neat, concise and in a logical order.
  • Start with your personal details, name, address, email, phone numbers etc.
  • If you wish you could include a short paragraph outlining your profile, identifying your strengths and competencies and career objectives. However, this must be brief and concise and must be factual avoiding clichés, generalisations and subjectivity.  Do not include your specific achievements but add these to the work experience section below under the relevant job.
  • Qualifications – remember that this is usually a key criteria that a client will set. List your qualifications together with date obtained and the name of the institution.
  • List your work experience in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent employment. Ensure that you list dates of employment, the name and location of the employer, the industry sector and a brief description of the employers’ activities.

 

Briefly describe each job in two ways:

a) In a few bullet points, list your key responsibilities including any factual quantifiable information for example budgets, assets, turnover, people.
b) In a few bullet points, identify your key achievements and challenges ideally with quantifiable data ie a potential employer wants to know what difference you have made in your previous employment.

  • Towards the end of the CV, you may wish to add a few relevant training courses that you have attended, but keep this brief. You may also wish to add some information about your non-work interests and activities, but again keep this brief.
  • Check your CV formatting before emailing by sending it yourself as we sometimes receive CV’s where the formatting has broken down due to extra wide margins, boxes etc.

The Interview

Remember that first impressions are most important whether attending interview with the consultant or the client.  Preparation is the key to success:

  • Thoroughly read the job advertisement and job description beforehand so that you fully understand the requirements of the role.
  • Consider how your background in terms of qualifications, achievements, strengths and competencies will meet the requirements of the role.
  • Thoroughly research the client by studying the website and latest news, so that you have an up to date knowledge of the company, its business model, performance, plans and objectives.
  • Undertake further research into the client sector to assess what challenges and competitors may exist.
  • Consider why you are interested in this particular role, the employer and sector.
  • Think about what challenges may exist if you were to take on this new role and how you would overcome them.
  • Consider any particular key challenges and achievements in your career to date so that you are prepared for any examples that you may be asked to illustrate. Remember to be prepared with relevant figures and data.
  • Fully prepare any presentations that you may have been requested to undertake.
  • Dress formally in business attire ie. suit, shirt and tie for gentlemen and suit and sensible top for ladies. In addition consider your overall appearance including hair grooming, excessive jewellery etc.
  • Ensure that you allow plenty of time to get to the interview taking into account traffic conditions, weather etc.
  • In the interview, you must listen and allow the interviewer to control and pace the interview, do not take over. He or she will have specific relevant questions to explore and will not be impressed by a candidate who takes over the process.
  • Answer all questions honestly and concisely, straight to the point. Do not over elaborate.
  • Do not try too hard to impress the interviewer, just relax and respond to the interviewers questions.
  • Do not be over confident, yet neither would an interviewer be impressed with a candidate who is timid or hesitant.
  • At any stage, do not raise the subject of the salary package unless asked by the interviewer.
  • If you are invited for second or third interviews then still undertake full preparation as above, particularly as you may be meeting different interviewers that you will have to impress from the start. It is important not to be complacent as other candidates will still be in the frame.
  • For long distance interviews via telephone or video conference, we may request candidates to provide a digital photograph dressed in formal business attire.
  • We strongly recommend that you continue to carry out as much research as possible into the client so that if a job offer is made you will then be in a far better position to decide whether the client organisation will meet your realistic expectations in terms of job content, future prospects, and total package.