Ok, so you’ve spent hours weighing up your career options and found a job you just know would be perfect – now you’ve just got to get it!

First things first- your CV, despite the fact that this may seem the most gruelling task it is probably the most crucial, forget the interview, this is what will make up employers minds on whether you even get that far!

The trick is to make you shine, but how?

Step 1: Presentation

When structuring your CV, remember recruiters plough through hundreds every day, so if yours doesn’t make the right information easily accessible it will go straight to the bottom of the pile.

  • Always have your name and contact details at the top, followed by your qualifications.
  • Invest time to tailor your personal summary specifically for the job you are applying for. This is your primary opportunity to highlight your strengths and previous successes.
  • Keep the font to one standard type and size.
  • Do not write in the first person. Beginning each sentence with ‘I’ is a common mistake; unfortunately, it is not the way to create a compelling CV.

Step 2: Check, check and check again – no typos!

Poor spelling is a pet hate for most HR departments and a definite way to make a mockery of your perfectly presented CV. Ensure that you look up any words that you’re not certain of, making sure that you don’t rely solely on spell check; Americanisms should be steered well clear of- after all, it’s a CV you’re writing, not a resume!

Step 3: Make your CV role specific

Make sure you tailor your CV to suit the job you’re applying for. It’s very tempting to try to cut corners with a generic ‘one size fits all’ CV, but it is unlikely you’ll get away with it.

Always read the role’s exact requirements and re-word your CV accordingly.

This will involve you doing your research so you know exactly what the employer is looking for, it may take a bit of effort, but if it puts you one step closer to your dream job so it’s well worth it!

Step 4: Stick to the truth!

You must be able to support the statements made in your CV.

Avoid unnecessary exaggeration as any untruths will probably come to light during any reference checks.

Once you are convinced that your CV meets all the job criteria and portrays you in the best possible way you are ready to search and apply.

So you have an interview, congratulations, you are one step closer to securing your next job. Now, preparation is key, so follow our step by step guide to maximise your opportunity.

Step 1. Know what you’re wearing – dress for success!

First impressions last, so what you wear for an interview is essential.  Make sure you are aware of the company dress code before you arrive, some businesses prefer their staff to dress formally whilst others take a more casual approach. If you are in doubt over what to wear then always err on the side of caution and dress smartly. It is better to be overdressed for an interview than underdressed.

Step 2. Practice your performance

If you were an actor you wouldn’t go to the opening night of a big performance without having learnt your lines. Treat your interview in the same way; we advise rehearsing with a friend or family member the night before so you are fully prepared for being put on the spot.

Step 3. Do you know about the company? Research, Research, Research

There is nothing worse for a hiring manager than a candidate who knows nothing about his or her company, it demonstrates either a lack of care or regard for the job or just pure laziness.

Before you go to the interview make sure you have read the company website and taken the time to understand the size of the business, its services or products, history and mission statement. It is also worth printing out any material that could be of particular interest.

Know who you are meeting, search the company website and LinkedIn to get as much information about your interviewer as possible.  This will help you to anticipate what he or she will be looking for in an employee.

Step 4. Where are you going and how will you get there?

Always check the route and how long it will take, then plan on arriving early. If you are using public transport make sure you buy tickets in advance to save cost, time and hassle on the day of your interview. If you are driving, find out where you will park; having to walk miles unexpectedly could make you late and appearing flustered will not create the best first impression.

Step 5. What to take with you

At advance we recommend our candidates take three items with them to any interview:

  • A copy of the job description, use it to refer to during the interview.
  • Two copies of your CV, this demonstrates organisation and could assist the interviewer if they do not have a copy to hand.
  • And finally, a notepad and pen. Ask if you take notes, this demonstrates interest, shows you are eager to learn and take the job in question seriously.

Step 6. Questions and Closing

Prepare 10 questions.

This is where most people get caught out. Don’t be afraid to challenge the interviewer on why you should join their organisation.  If appropriate ask why they joined the company.  This demonstrates that you value your own worth.

And finally…

Ask the interview panel if they have any reservations about your capabilities, this gives you the opportunity to address any concerns they may have.

Good luck!