CV & Interview Tips

Helpful advice to help you get the job

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CV & Interview Tips

Stand out from the crowd with these simple and effective interview and CV tips

How to Write a CV

CVs have been connecting qualified candidates with their ideal roles for centuries. Today’s recruitment companies like ourselves and the employers we work with use the CV to search for skills, relevant experience and knowledge to choose the right candidate. Click here...

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How to avoid risk when providing employer references

How to avoid risk when providing employer references

Giving departing employees a reference should be a risk-free procedure. But there are potentially damaging pitfalls to avoid, warns lawyer Rhona Darbyshire. During recruitment, employers usually seek the details of a candidate’s previous or current employer in order...

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Time to go? What to do when you want to resign

Time to go? What to do when you want to resign

You’ve been offered the job of your dreams. Or maybe you’ve decided to take the plunge and set up on your own. How do you resign – and what should you do when you’re on notice? Slow down Don’t resign on a whim. It’s better to leave when you have a role to go on to,...

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How to get the job you deserve

How to get the job you deserve

You’ve got the qualifications, but suddenly it seems like everyone else does too… And when you’re competing for top roles, how do you stand out? Are you experienced? If your CV looks a bit thin on the work experience front, then this is a great place to start. Appeal...

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Common interview questions and answers

Common interview questions and answers

The interview process is critical for all candidates. While there will be questions linked to the role on offer, there are likely to be common interview questions that are suitable for all applicants and positions. Therefore, if you are looking to enhance your...

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Competency-based interviews: What you need to know

Competency-based interviews: What you need to know

Competency-based interviews are widespread, and if you’re looking for a new job, it is likely you may encounter this style of interview. The interview process is a great way to gauge an applicant’s suitability for a role and whether they have the skills that are...

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Types of interview questions

Types of interview questions

Given that questions are crucial in the interview process, it is helpful for candidates to know the different types of interview questions. This guide aims to provide an overview of the most common types of interview questions and how you should respond to them....

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How to: Prepare for an interview

How to: Prepare for an interview

If you have reached the interview stage, congratulations because many applicants fail to reach this stage, however, you want to make the best possible impression at the interview stage, and this means you need to prepare for the interview. You will have already...

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How to answer: What are your strengths?

How to answer: What are your strengths?

One of the most common questions that arise in the interview process is “what are your strengths?” These four words make candidates feel under pressure, and they create a challenge that may prevent you from obtaining your dream job. Answering this question is...

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CV Tips

Specific Words & Phrases The right language can make or break your application. Unfortunately, figuring out which words to use isn't always easy. Start by making a list of any repetitive terms you can see in the job description or on the company's website. This...

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Do You Really Need a CV?

Your CV is one of your most critical tools for your career success.

In a world of online portfolios and LinkedIn profiles, it’s easy to assume that the CV is outdated.

However, this document does more than just list your skills and experience. A CV introduces you to an employer as a reputable professional.

Whether you’re a graduate or a veteran employee, your CV is your first chance to make a lasting impression on the right people. CVs boost your chances of being selected by recruitment companies and employers and put you on the path to a job interview.

The Purpose of a CV for Employers

Employers and recruitment companies rely on a candidate’s CV to separate unqualified candidates from prospective talent who fit the role specification.

When browsing through applications, recruiters and employers don’t just look for education and industry knowledge; they’re also searching for evidence that the candidate has researched the role.

A well-designed CV that’s tailored to the job in question demonstrates:

• Passion for the industry.

• Commitment to the role.

• Research and writing skills.

• Evidence of the results they have had and therefore can achieve.

CVs show your potential employer that you fit both the demands of the role and the needs of the company culture.

A good CV also saves an employer a lot of valuable time and effort. When recruitment companies and employers can easily select the ideal candidates from a range of well-written CVs, they reduce the chances that the employer will waste time interviewing unsuitable applicants.

The Purpose of a CV for Employees

For employees, a CV may not be a legal requirement, but it is the ultimate way to stand out and prove yourself to an employer.

Without a CV to make a favourable first impression, an employer or recruitment agency will ignore your application and move onto the next person.

Think of your CV as a marketing tool, placing essential details about your skills, background, and education into a beacon that shouts “Hire me” to your hiring manager.

In today’s competition-heavy job market, your CV will:

• Capture the attention of the recruiter or employer.

• Clearly, illustrate your abilities and accomplishments.

• Demonstrate that you’re a match for a position or project.

• Improve your chances of getting a first interview.

A well-written and properly formatted CV can also act as a confidence boost. Seeing your achievements on paper is a great way to remind yourself that you have what it takes to succeed in a role, particularly when you’re preparing for an upcoming interview.

Keep it Relevant

Your CV is both a sales brochure and a story of your achievements. From beginning to end, you need to grab your recruiters or employers attention and convince them that you deserve an interview.

Often, this means starting with an introduction into your achievements, backing your claims up with evidence of your skills and experience, and finishing with additional (relevant) information.

A CV must always be tailored to the role you’re applying for.

At all times when writing your CV, ask yourself: “How will this help me get this particular role?”

For instance, your opening statement is the space where you can sell yourself at the top of page 1.

Make sure you address points that the company described in their job description.

For instance, if they’re looking for a passionate professional, show how you’ve devoted yourself to learning more about the role or sector in your free time.

• Make sure your CV includes everything the job advert asks for.

• Use similar terminology to trigger connections with the recruiter or employer.

• Demonstrate your desire to learn in areas where you don’t have the exact experience you need.

Keep It Short & To the Point

Remember that the person reading your CV is likely to have dozens, if not hundreds of applications to get through.

Keep your CV to two pages, with a maximum of three. Two pages give you enough room to show your potential, without overwhelming your recruitment consultant and employer.

To make sure that the most critical aspects of your application aren’t hidden on page two, introduce a “core skills” section under your personal profile.

In “core skills” you can list your most notable abilities and achievements related to the role.

Throughout the rest of your CV, assess every word critically, and remove anything that isn’t necessary.

Structure Your CV into Sections

With a focus on relevancy, structure your CV into these sections:

• Personal Details: At The Recruiting Office we frequently receive CVs that miss out personal details like a name, email address, contact number and address. Make sure all of these details are at the top of the page.

• Personal statement: Use the first paragraph on your CV to explain who you are and why you’re ideal for the specific role you’re applying for. Keep the section succinct. Hobbies and interests aren’t a necessary part of your CV. However, mentioning relevant avocations can make your application stand out. Avoid saying that you like “socialising with friends.”

• Work experience: Include all relevant work experience that demonstrates your ability to thrive in a similar role. Include the name of the organisation, your job title, and the time you spent in the post.

• Achievements: Demonstrate how your previous experience gave you the skills you need to excel in this new role. Make it clear how you’d apply the skills you’ve earned to the position in question and support your achievements with quantifiable evidence.

• Education: Only list educational achievements relevant to the job. The number of educational details included on a CV will depend on your circumstances. If you have more educational achievements than work experience, you may give this section more focus.

What Other Information Should I Add?

There are plenty of additional details that you can add to a CV if you feel that they’re relevant. For instance, if the role you’re applying for requires you to drive frequently, then assure the recruiter or employer that you have a clean driving license. If you’re going for a role in web design, direct them to a recent app or website you’ve created.

Should You Add a Photo to Your CV?

On the  one hand,  a  picture  can  make  your application  stand  out,  and  it’s  becoming increasingly  common across  mainland  Europe. However,  some  people  find  a  picture  distracting and  believe  it  may  lead  to unintentional  bias.

Whether  you  should  add  a  picture  to  your  CV will  depend  on  the  role.  If  you’ll  frequently  be working behind  the  scenes  in  an  office,  then  it doesn’t  matter  what  you  look  like.  However,  if you’re  a  front-of-house  employee  dealing  with customers,  your  employer  might  want  to  see that  you  have  a professional  and  friendly appearance.

What Not to Include on Your CV

As there are crucial things that you absolutely must have on your CV, there are also important elements to leave out.

Many candidates still believe that the more information they include on their CV, the better their chances of earning that critical first interview will be.

However, the truth is that recruiters and employers are searching for only the most relevant and specific information. With that in mind, go through your CV and remove any of the following elements you find:

• Outdated educational achievements: If you have a master’s degree in your industry, then you don’t need to include GCSE results too. Stick to your most recent accomplishments.

• Irrelevant work experience: No matter how proud you are of your work in a previous role, only include work experience that’s connected to the position you’re applying for now.

• References: If employers want to speak to your references, they can ask you for them. References are an outdated portion of a CV that simply take up space.

• Personal pronouns: Use phrases like “Accomplished manager” instead of “I am an experienced manager.”

• Company-specific jargon: Many businesses have their own internal names for specific technologies and processes. Avoid any words from your CV that wouldn’t apply to the entire sector. Instead, replace them with phrases or terms you may have noticed on the job description for the role you’re applying for.

• Meaningless buzzwords: “Ninja”, and “People pleaser” are all phrases that don’t say much about you. Focus on terms that will highlight your skills and the corresponding results they can deliver for your new employer.

• Fancy formatting: Headers, footers, images, and charts aren’t necessary on a CV. Many of today’s recruiters use applicant-tracking systems and excessive formatting can cause the software to scramble your application.

• Opinions: CVs are all about the facts, don’t use subjective words to describe yourself. For instance, your CV isn’t a place to tell your hiring manager how “likeable” you are. Let them form that opinion themselves when they meet you.

• Reasons you left previous roles: There’s no need to over-explain your job history. If a hiring manager has additional questions, they can bring them up with you in the interview.

Should You Include a Cover Letter?

A great way to give an extra kick to your CV, and make sure it stands out, is to include a cover letter.

Your cover letter is another opportunity to show you’ve researched the business and made sure that you’re appropriate for the role. Within your cover letter, you can go beyond the skills and education outlined in your CV to show a recruiter or employer that you:

• Understand the sector and their business: Highlight how you can help the company achieve their goals.

• Will fit with the company’s culture and demonstrate the correct attitude: Show that you’ve learned the organisation’s values, and that they match your own.

• Are willing to adapt to change and learn new skills: Demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and improvement by mentioning what you’re doing to improve your skills.

Importantly, if you do include a cover letter with your CV, don’t just write about why you want to work for the business.

Explain why you’re a good fit for the role, and the benefits that you can bring to that organisation. At the same time, avoid anything generic that may look as though you’ve copied and pasted it from an application for a previous job.

Create the Ideal CV for Your Role

Having a good degree or a history with a well-known company won’t automatically get you an interview today. Today’s employers are looking for people that fit with their company culture and demonstrate the skills and attitude necessary to deliver in a specific role.

Your CV is your chance to introduce yourself to a recruitment company or hiring manager in a meaningful way.

If you can show the person looking at your CV that you match the job description as closely as possible, then you’ll get the interview.

Looking for help securing your next role?