How to write a CV
Your CV is the single most important weapon in your armoury when it comes to job hunting.
We have to accept that a prospective employer can make a snap judgement within seconds of reading it and even the most qualified people may find themselves rejected if the resume fails to come up to scratch. So how can you give yours the edge?
Avoid making it too fancy and complicated. You only have about ten seconds to grab the attention - if it is too clever and unreadable it will go in the bin.
Don't try to make jokes and never be detrimental of previous employers.
There are no set rules governing the length of your CV - this will be determined by your career history, education and achievements. Try to keep this down to one or two pages, however, if this looks cramped or hard to read then feel free to spread it out further.
There are a number of different approaches to CV design. Don't get too bogged down over this; just make sure everything is clearly marked. Include your career progression in reverse order (dated), education and achievements prominently so your prospective employer doesn't have to search.
Remember to include:
Contact details - clearly displayed at the top of the page
Personal Profile - highlighting specific areas of expertise, achievement highlights and future aspirations
Core Skills – under personalised headings covering your background experience and abilities
Career history – preferably bulleted with focus on achievements
Education & Special Awards
Stick to the truth
Read and re-read your CV to make sure there are no spelling errors. It might sound obvious, but be truthful - never try to fudge dates and jobs to hide periods of unemployment. The most basic of checks may expose your deceit and thereby ruin your chance of getting the job.
Follow all instructions on the job advert and endeavour to respond promptly. The covering letter should be customised for each job you apply for as this is your chance to tailor your skills to the profile required.
Being interviewed for a job can be a scary business. In one way it's great to get an interview; it means that your initial job enquiry, usually in the form of an email with your CV, has been met with a degree of approval. Great! This is a really good start. But what do you do when you end up face to face with one or more people firing questions at you? Read on to find out what can be done to prepare in advance for what can sometimes seem like a real ordeal.
After the interviewer has finished with their questions, it is your turn to ask some of your own. These might include what your duties will be in the new post; whether there will be opportunities for progression and, if not already covered, what the structure of the company is. If the job is technical in nature, ask a technical question or two as appropriate. This will make the interviewer feel that you are actively interested in the position and prepared to consider a move.
How To Dress
Clean and smart is the order of the day irrespective of the role being applied for. A white shirt/blouse is always a safe option; however, you will need to use your own good judgement to achieve an appropriate impression depending on who you are meeting with. What is important is that the employer is not left with the feeling that little or no effort has been made.
Advice from Interviewers
Now it's time to look at the interview from the other side of the fence. The advice given in this section comes from professional people who are experienced in conducting interviews.
You will have a distinct advantage if you are confident and show it. Of course, a lot of applicants are nervous, and that’s quite natural if you have the common and somewhat misguided attitude towards job interviews. The company you're interviewing with may or may not be the right one for you; you need to find out whether it is or not. Thus the interview process should be a two-way affair with you interviewing the potential employer as much as he or she is interviewing you. Keeping this in mind should help to keep things on an even keel and help you to maintain an objective approach.
There is no excuse for not having read the employer's website. Also, know what's on your own CV and ensure that it has been updated efficiently throughout (correct tense for historical roles).
Know what you want. Be clear in your own mind about what you are looking for and writing it down can also be helpful. Your objective in the interview is to find out whether the employer has these characteristics.
Have some stories to relate and be prepared to describe specific achievements that you're proud of. Even if the interviewer doesn't ask, being able to tell a few coherent stories of things you have done not only shows what you've experienced, but also shows that you're capable of logical, organized thought.
What if the interviewer asks you about your experience at a previous Company where things did not go at all smoothly. Look the interviewer right in the eye and meet it head on. Here's what happened; and here's how I would ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Your candour and willingness to admit mistakes will overshadow your error, even if it's a big one.
Ask who your boss would be if you were hired. Chances are that this person will be one of the people who interviews you. Pay special attention to how this person deals with you. If this company offers you a job, this person is going to be very important in your life so do ask your potential boss questions about how they manage their team – appraisals, development, team building?
Interviews should be a two-way communication between potential employer and candidate. For this to work, both parties need to not only express themselves in a satisfactory manner but also to apply good listening skills – make sure you do this. Talking too much is a common fault often exacerbated by the tension.
Let's face it, your average employer will interview multiple people for a single job. At least one other person besides you is likely to have the basic fundamentals covered. That is, they will be reasonably qualified for the job, presentable in appearance, and sociable enough to navigate through the interview without serious mishaps.
The real trick is to distinguish yourself by appearing more acceptable for the job than might be deemed necessary. One of the best ways of achieving this is to first of all carry out some research to provide material for questions during the interview.
Don't get caught looking silly by showing ignorance about what the company does, or how it is positioned among its peers. For this, the first place to check might be the company's own website. The amount of research you do will understandably depend on the job and salary you hope to get.
Also, find out as much as possible about the job. You may be able to get some information while setting up the interview. If you are seeking a promotion within your own company, don't hesitate to start a casual conversation with someone in the department the job is in. They may have inside information on why the job is vacant, or what exactly the interviewer is looking for.
Interviewers will be impressed if you know pertinent facts about their company. In other cases, they may be impressed if you specifically mention personal traits that match their needs, even before they have told you what they are looking for. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you are asked an unclear question. In some cases, your question may demonstrate more knowledge than an obscure answer might have.
You can be assured that any contact with Renfield Search will be handled with total confidence. No information will be discussed or passed to a third party without your permission. By registering with us it enables us to be aware of any aspirations you may have, be that short or longer term, and thereby to help you in planning your career and ultimately to make things happen. Please fill in the contact details and attach your updated CV or if you would like to have an informal chat feel free to call Roger Holden on 01372 383 202.
It is easy to assume that senior management have their career paths all mapped out and under control. In reality this is often not the case. Registering with Renfield Search may allow us to present you with different options and in any case an initial informal discussion can help to establish a vision of the best way forward.
Because our relationship with both clients and candidates is totally confidential, responding to a specific role and applying for a position being managed by Renfield Search is completely safe. We are highly respectful of all candidates sharing their details with us such that indicating a potential interest is definitely a positive experience.