Top Ten Tips... Creating a CV and Prepping for a Job Interview
If you have found a job worth applying for it can often fill you with a sense of excitement as well as dread. Whether you need to submit an application form, a portfolio, a letter or a CV it can feel like a minefield. So where should you start?
Here are our Top Ten Tips for creating a CV and prepping for a job interview:
1. Be succinct
A prospective employer may receive tens, if not hundreds of applications for a job so you need to be able to grab the attention of the shortlisting panel quickly. Your CV needs to be short, sharp, accurate and succinct. Remember that your CV needs to include enough information to showcase that you have the basic skills to do the job – it doesn’t need to reflect your life story. One to two sides of A4 maximum should suffice.
2. Presentation is key
There are so many CV faux pas which you don’t want to fall for. Check your copy for spelling errors and check again. Don’t submit your contact details with an embarrassing email address – you want the shortlisting panel to take you seriously. Keep it smart – no silly fonts or distracting colourways. Include a photo – don’t forget to smile, but definitely no selfies! Being accurate is a must – fibbing or exaggerating is unlikely to be tolerated.
3. Showcase your apprenticeship skills
If you are nervous about not having A Levels or a degree to add to your CV, don’t be. Qualifications and experience is acquired from a variety of sources these days. If you have completed an apprenticeship, then showcase what practical skills you have learnt. What are the main tools of your trade? It’s also worth mentioning what personal skills you have acquired during your apprenticeship. Have you gained confidence, better communication or organisational skills, for example?
4. Include your relevant qualifications
You might still be really proud of your A* GCSE grades but if you left school many years ago and are applying for a management position, your prospective employer is unlikely to care. Instead, show off the relevant qualifications for the job you are applying for. Starting with your university degree or a successful apprenticeship is a good reflection on your academic ability.
5. Showcase additional learning
If you have completed some higher education training or simply been on some accredited courses relevant to the industry you’re seeking employment in, include those on your CV. They will show a commitment to your professional development. Be prepared to show your certificates at the interview stage.
6. Be unique
If you are applying for a creative role, then a simple written CV may not cut it. Consider how you can stand out by doing something different. For example, if you’re applying for a digital marketing role, then now is your chance to show off some of your skills. You could video yourself talking through your CV instead of/in addition to submitting a written version.
7. Mention your volunteering
The skills you have learnt via volunteering can be just as strong as emphasising your qualifications or experience. This is particularly effective if you are just starting out in your career and don’t necessarily have a strong work history. The volunteering roles you have done will show you have a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn and to help others.
8. Highlight your communication skills
Whether the role you are applying for requires you to interact with clients, customers or just other members of the organisation – never underestimate the importance of good communication skills. The issue is trying to make these essential skills sound less generic. A good example will always help. Don’t forget, an employer will be looking for good written and verbal communication skills. If you are applying for a job that involves writing, they will want to see how you express yourself on paper. If the role requires lots of face-to-face interaction then be prepared to give examples of how good you are with customers or clients at your interview.
9. Do your research
If you are shortlisted for an interview – congratulations! You now need to ensure you are prepared for your interview. A good place to start is the company’s website, which can provide you with a wealth of information. Check out what their values are and their corporate social responsibility strategy - this will help you to showcase whether you’re a good fit. You could also look at the company’s annual report and the news pages of their website to see what recent success stories they have. Look at their current staff list and check them out on LinkedIn (go on, everyone does it!) You could ask the employer for a short pre-interview chat to see if you’re a good fit with the firm or if you know any existing employees, grill them for all the info you can.
10. Think about presenting a portfolio
It won’t be relevant for all job roles, but if you can take along examples of your work to the interview it will showcase your expertise and the pride you have in your work. Take no more than three examples – you’re unlikely to have time to discuss any more. Your portfolio needs to show the range of work you’re capable of. Think about the examples you take to show prospective employers – don’t be afraid to talk about how you overcame obstacles to achieve a good result.
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cHRysos HR Solutions is a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD accredited qualifications, Apprenticeships, Training and HR Services to SMEs nationwide. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you or your teams successfully achieve further qualifications, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1302 802128.