CV and Interview - Hints & Tips
The CV is critical at the first stage of any application process. Your Trigon consultant will support and advise you on this when you discuss the roles you are applying for but please refer to some generic advice below that you will find useful.
A CV itself will not get you the job. Its primary function is to be an advert of you and your skills and experience to encourage the employer to want to explore your interest in their role further and call you for an interview. With this in mind it has to showcase your skills and achievements relevant to the role you are applying for in a professional, well presented and succinct manner.
Keep it Brief
We’d recommend restricting yourself to a maximum of 2 A4 pages wherever possible – 3 sides would be the maximum recommended. Include quantifiable achievements for each role in bullet points. This will support you not only did the job but did it successfully.
Make it Look Smart
Avoid large blocks of text which look boring and end up getting overlooked. Use bullet points and relevant, clear headings to help employers pick out important details at a brief glance. You may think that someone is going to spend 30 minutes carefully reading everything you’ve written, but research suggest employers spend 30 to 60 seconds scanning your CV at the initial sift so make it stand out.
Tailor your CV to the Role
Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for – one CV does not necessarily fit all roles you will apply for, especially if you have a diverse skill set.. As stated above your CV must hit the employers key skill requirements and this must be apparent at a glance. Tailor your CV and emphasise the relevant key skills for the job you are applying for – you are far more likely to get shortlisted for an interview.
Also… Include a Covering Letter
Don’t assume that an employer will see how your experience relates to their job. You should use your cover letter to highlight areas of your CV which you feel will be of particular interest, and to explain what excites you about the role or employer. The CV is very much a factual document – the cover letter is far more personal and a well written and well-presented covering letter can help to secure the interview.
Watch the Timeline
It’s always going to raise suspicion if there’s a huge gap in your dates of previous employment. Best to be upfront and try to put a positive spin on it – did you only had a part-time job because you were studying for new qualifications? Did you spend a few months volunteering with a local charity or looking after a relative?
There can be very legitimate reasons for gaps in employment history but omit to explain these and you may be screened out of the process at the first stage.
Spelling & Grammar!
You may think it’s not that important, but when your dream employer has a pile of 20 CVs to look through and yours is full of spelling mistakes it will almost certainly not be selected for interview.
Spelling mistakes show a lack of care and attention to detail and suggest you are not taking care or pride in creating the right first impression. A simple and quick win but a vital one – always use spell check!
Hobbies & Interests
It is advisable to be cautious here – think like an employer. Would you like to think a valued and crucial member of your team is going sky diving every week or some other extreme sport. There is risk of injury here. Sporting and religious following are also to be avoided.
Keep it honest and if you can interesting but be careful. This is an under estimated area of the CV – its actually the only glimpse into you as a person as opposed to a professional.
Most employers will expect you to have at least some knowledge of their company before an interview, but the more you know the better, and it’ll help you expand your answers by including relevant facts you know. Your Trigon consultant will ensure you are fully prepared and know all about the organisation you are applying too and its culture and values.
Trigon will also advise who will be interviewing you but it is recommended to find this person on linked in and look at their professional history and back ground. They will see that you have looked but that just shows your are doing your due diligence.
Prepare in Advance
Don’t leave everything until the night before the interview, otherwise you’ll be stressed and less likely to get a relaxing night’s sleep. Trigon consultants will fully support you in your preparations and will be there to support you every step of the way.
This is a widely discussed area in recruitment circles. Trigon recruitment take a simple stance on this – fully suited and booted for gents and equivalent corporate attire for ladies. It is our view you cannot be over dressed for an interview and actually its about demonstrating a real effort and commitment to the prospective employer that you take this seriously and are presenting yourself in the smartest way possible. Dress to impress!
Try to come across as friendly and positive as possible – some of the staff interviewing you are likely to have to work directly alongside you if they give you the job, so they’ll want to employ someone they can get on with.
As with your CV, have some interesting facts and figures ready for the interview. All candidates who have been selected are capable of doing the job. Anything that you can add that will give you a competitive edge is a must. Nominations for awards, letters of recognition, testimonials etc. You may even want to leave some brief documents with them at the end of the interview, so they can review them at leisure.
Almost all interviews will consist of a panel of people – almost never just one interviewer. It is important to smile and be genial to all in the panel and to address your response primarily to the person asking the question but not to exclude/ignore the other members of the panel. Maintain good eye contact and don’t fidget. This is not to intimidate you but to ensure the interview is fair and balanced.
Prepare Questions to Ask
It is worth remembering that an interview is a two way process and whilst you are promoting yourself and your experience – essentially selling yourself – you also need to establish and be sure the company is a match for your values, needs and ambition. A list of well thought out questions prepared in advance is highly recommended. Your Trigon consultant will be able to offer advice and suggestion around this.