CV Writing & Interview Preparation

CV Writing and Interview Preparation

By Jonathan on March 15, 2012

With unemployment hitting 2.67million, the highest its been in 17 years, I thought I would put together some tips for CV writing and then Interview Preparation.

CV Writing

There are two parts to any job application, firstly the cover letter and secondly the CV itself. The cover letter is the first thing the employer will see and read so an honest impression must be made whilst they are reading this. The CV contains details of yourself and your previous employment, attached to this can be examples of work you have done, such as a portfolio.

Cover Letter
First up is the cover letter, This cover letter is an introduction to the CV itself. The cover letter is a way of individualising your self from other applicants, you should say in this why you are interested in the position and the skills you have to suit it. The cover letter is usually split into four;

  • Header; standard business style addresses, date and salutation
  • Introduction; stating the position you are applying for and it should catch the readers immediate interest
  • Body; this should speak volumes about yourself and why you are suitable for the job and why you would be valuable to the employer. This should also include a brief overview of your skills, qualifications and experience relevant to the job in question. Start dates and availability should also be included within this.
  • Closing; summary of the above, including a sign off that states you are looking forward to hearing from them. Closure signature with ‘Sincerely’ above.

The cover letter should be bespoke for each individual job application that is made. Changes to the introduction and the body to describe why you are best suited to the job position.

Curriculum vitae

Writing a CV is probably the most important part to any job application. This is the part where you prove yourself to the employer and make yourself sound the best you can, whilst being honest. The CV itself should be no longer than 2 sides of A4 paper and should contain a summary of employment history, qualifications and some personal information.

Information that should be included within a CV:

      • Career objective; outlining what you want to achieve from the job and what you can off the employer in return.
      • Education; A list of your most recent or key academic achievements, with results, locations and dates attended
      • Work Experience; All work experience should be listed with Employer details, Postion, Date worked from and to. A brief description of what you job entailed and what duties and responsibilities you had whilst working there.
      • Achievements/Skils; if you have any achievements that you are proud of list them down. Add you key skills in here too, Let them know what you have learnt in previous employment, quickly.
      • Interests; Listing your interest will show your character, this will help to connect with the employer if they have similar interests. Remember, don’t lie to impress.
      • References; Either list two contacts who have agreed to give you reference or state that they are available on request.

Remember to keep all information factual and to the point, don’t babble on about what you did last Sunday. Proof read it, read it again and then get someone else to read it as well, Normally someone else will spot mistakes you missed. Other people might be able to re-word sentences for them to make more sense. However don’t let them put words in your mouth.

Keep the document clean and fresh, no fancy colours or graphics, word processed is always best and make sure there are no grammer and/or spelling mistakes. Don’t give you CV to a employer on a napkin or a piece of lined paper that has been torn out of a notepad, they’ll simply not bother. If you take the time to make your CV presentable, they’ll make time to read you CV and hopefully consider you as a candidate.

If you have a portfolio of work you have done, IE a web design portfolio, then either include a link within your CV to your portfolio website or include a paragraph that states you have a portfolio of work that can be seen upon asking.

Interview Preparation

Hopefully, if your CV is good enough and you are selected as a candidate for the job then you will get a call asking to attend an interview. This interview will be the first time you’ll meet the employer, so remember to make a good impression. Formal dress code should always be a must unless stated otherwise.

Do your homework! Do lots of research on the company, find out exactly what they do (if you don’t know), who works for them, how long they have been around, who are their clients and where they are based. Make sure you know exactly where the office or location of your interview is. Plan for the worst, turning up late is never a good start, 10-15minutes is acceptable.

Some common questions that you’ll probably be asked during your interview are:

      • What draws you to this job/industry
      • Why do you want to be a …
      • What do you know about us, or, What do we do
      • Who are our competitors
      • How do you go about solving problems
      • How do you work in a team
      • How are you motivated
      • What de-motivates you
      • What is your greatest achivement
      • and many more…

There is a great list of common questions located at Wikijob.co.uk

Hopefully if you go through all of the above you should have a solid method of getting interviews. Remember during the interview, be yourself and do not lie because you think you are lacking something the employer wants. If your character shows that you are motivated to learn and better yourself, it wont bother them too much that you are lacking some skills.

Good Luck!