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Career advice

Whatever your circumstances, whether you are a school leaver, a returner to work or just fancy a career change, the prospect of finding a new job can be quite daunting.

While you are in the process of searching for a suitable vacancy, it would be prudent to brush up on your interview technique and ensure that you have an up-to-date CV.

Curriculum Vitae

A CV or curriculum vitae is a promotional tool. Imagine your CV as an advert that will highlight benefits of a particular service. The service being your time and skills! When writing a CV look at it from an employers perspective. What will make you stand out aginst other applicants? Why should they employ you? What benefit would you be to the employer?

These days employers often receive a lot of CVs for each advertised position. Jobs advertised in national papers can often attract hundreds of applicants so your CV has to be just that little bit special to stand out if you want to obtain interviews.

With the way technology has progressed, it would be ideal if you have a CV in an electronic format that could be emailed immediately on request.

A CV heading normally contains the following information:
  • Name
  • Surname
  • Local address
  • E-mail address
  • Phone number

Some people choose to include their date of birth and/or marital status. Although employers should not discriminate, in somes cases this information may prejudice opinion of you and, unless specifically requested, should be left out.

Statement

A statement sometimes follows a heading and is a short, concise paragraph that informs the employer what kind of position you are looking for. The type of job, the role (managerial, supervisor, contractor) should be included as well.

If you are job hunting it is a good idea to have several CV's with different profiles or objectives. For example, you can have a CV for a sales assistant and the other for a receptionist. Your 'sales assistant' CV can highlight achievements in this area, the CV would be tailored to that field in terms of job descriptions and achievements. The same procedure would be followed for the 'receptionist' CV but highlighting communication and administrative skills rather than sales experience.

Professional achievements

This is the area in which you really sell yourself. You should include all achievements that occured in your work and the benefit to the employer. For example, if you implemented a new system or way of working, you write something like 'implemented new systems which resulted in more efficient workflow and increased communication'. This way the prospective employer can see how you will positively impact on his/her business.

Skills Summary

The Skills Summary section of your CV includes your main skills. You should only include brief statements, do not go into lengthy descriptions of your skills. The skill summary is also called personal profile. It should just outline skills that you have acquired such as software or systems training, book-keeping experience, etc. You should include any competencies required for the post that you are applying for.

Work experience

Include your previous employment listing the most recent position first. Make sure that you include promotions and progression through the ranks.

Education

List all your qualifications in this section. Include all of your education including certifications from non-academic institutions, especially those that are related to this job vacancy.

Hobbies

This is not a strictly essential inclusion but it can help an employer gain a little insight into your personality. Be very careful what hobbies you list as they can be interpreted in many ways.

Interview technique

Prior to your interview find out as much as you can about the company. Scrutinise your application form, anticipating quetsions that may arise from the information contained there. Research general interview questions and premeditate answers so that you appear succinct and prepared. Always have a few questions lined up to ask of the prospective employer, this shows interest in the role.

To be successful in the interview, you must convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. You should demonstrate that you are suitably qualified, have the necessary skills or experience and enthustiastic enough to carry out the job well, fit in with the team and have a positive impact on the business. Be confident about yourself and your skills but make sure that you don't ramble on un-necessarily.

Dress smartly for the interview, even if the company is an informal place you still need to look like you have made an effort. Leave home early to allow for traffic or public transport delays. Be polite to all employees of the company.

Searching for a suitable vacancy

There are numerous sources of available job opportunities depending on the type of position that you are seeking. If the role that you want is in a particular field then you should seek websites or publications relevant to that sector. Industry-related magazines are worth a look especially in the Creative and Media fields.

Sign up to relevant job websites and have them post you jobs matching your profile or requirements. You can also store your information and your CV online and have prospective employers find you.

Use the following links to search for vacancies:

Last Updated: 28th August 2014 Print Link