CV & Interview Preparation

Curriculum Vitae

-F.A.Q: Basic CV Template.

-F.A.Q: Positive use of Descriptive Words

-F.A.Q: What does Curriculum Vitae mean?

-F.A.Q: What is a CV?

-F.A.Q: What your CV needs to say to get it noticed.

Interview Preparation

-F.A.Q: Handling weakness questions

-F.A.Q: How to prepare for a job interview.

-F.A.Q: Possible Interview Questions (Formal)

-F.A.Q: The next step are you really ready to move?

-F.A.Q: Walk and Talk the Interview



-Basic CV Template.

What to include : There is no set format - the style of a CV is a personal choice but you may find it useful to include the following:

Personal details
Name, Date of Birth, Address, Driving License, Phone Number, Personal Profile and Career History.

A short statement at the beginning of the CV can be a positive way of selling yourself. You should include positive words that best describe you.

Achievements
Mention things you did well in your past job which could be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Work History
Put the most recent job first, with dates. What you have done recently will be of more interest to a prospective Employer.

Don't leave gaps. Employers will want to know what you did during these periods.

If your work experience is limited you may want to include temporary, holiday, part-time or voluntary jobs. Give the job title and the main duties involved. Keep it brief.

If you have had many different jobs emphasise the skills and experience you have gained by grouping them together. For example 'I have worked in many different types of jobs during vacations including office, shop and factory work'.

Training and Qualifications
Include any training and qualifications gained in previous jobs. Again put the most recent first. Educational details and qualifications can be included from secondary school.

Interest/Spare Time Activities
Aim to show the Employer that you have a well rounded personality. This is a chance to sell yourself. You can include any sporting activities, hobbies and membership of clubs and societies.
Note: Make sure you know enough about your interests to be able to talk about them at an interview - they are often picked up by Employers for further questioning.

Additional Information
This is optional - it is useful if you have gaps in other parts of your CV. If you have had a break at home make this positive, describe skills you have learned in bringing up children and running a home. If you are changing career direction you may want to explain why you are interested in the new type of work.

References
You may or may not want to include these on your CV but you should always have a record of two or more people you can use as references. One should be your last Employer or if you have not worked for some time you could use your family doctor or a friend (not a relative) who has known you a long time

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-Positive use of Descriptive Words

1. Describe yourself to a possible future employer using only 30 words (Write this down on a sheet of paper).

Adaptable, Willing, Thorough, Precise, Caring, Energetic, Honest, Hardworking, Courageous, Dedicated, Forthright, Tenacious, Responsible, Persistent, Insightful, Assertive, Sensitive, Supportive, Productive, Trustworthy, Communicative, Helpful, Strong, Analytic, Organised, Incisive, Warm, Friendly, Versatile, Perceptive, Imaginative, Creative, Efficient, Diligent, Intelligent, Intuitive, Determined, Committed, Intellectual, Persuasive, Flexible, Humorous.

Now include the five words in your description

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-What does Curriculum Vitae mean?

Translated from Latin to English it means literally - Course of Life.

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-What is a CV?

A presentation of credentials for the purpose of finding a job. A document describing you, your skills and experience ideally - 2 to 4 pages for a young professional or 4 or 5 pages for a person with more experience.

An indispensable job hunting tool that represents an objective, factual, personal history of you - an advertisement designed to market you by highlighting your abilities and future potential.

A summary of your career aspirations, educational background, employment experience, achievements and interests.

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-What your CV needs to say to get it noticed.

At the stage when your CV arrives on the employer’s desk,he or she knows nothing more about you than the information that you are going to reveal in your CV.

This means that you have a responsibility to do yourself justice, by explaining easily and simply who you are, and what you have done so far. You are an interesting and valuable person and your CV is the means by which you convey this to an employer.
The one way to ensure that your CV is noticed by an employer is to make it very obvious if you have done anything at all unusual.

You may be noticed by the employer just because there is something different about your CV which makes it stand out from all the others. If you can describe some activity that other people will not have taken part in, you will appear to have had different experiences from those of others, and therefore, to an employer, you may be more worth employing.

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-Handling weakness questions

How do you handle the weakness question at the interview ?

- You can cover it by highlighting 2 strengths.
- We make it inconclusive.

"Some people may consider that occasionally I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, that is only because I am very committed and I like to see a job well done".

- Pick words that you are comfortable with.
- Practice until it is absolutely natural.

If you are asked about mistakes you have made at work, or a difficult time at work, make them earlier in your career and show how you learned from them.

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-How to prepare for a job interview.

PRESENT yourself well. It's a terrible cliché that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure your shoes and your nails are smart and clean. Not every interviewer will notice, but those that do mind a lot. Make sure your handshake is firm (and dry) and establish eye contact.

BE HONEST but not too honest. You should never lie in an interview, but the unadulterated truth may not be a good idea either. Even if you left a previous job because your boss was unpleasant and the work was a dead end, you should find positive reasons to explain your departure i.e. - you wanted to learn new skills, play more to your strengths. Nobody likes a victim. Don't whinge.

PREPARE thoroughly. This means knowing your CV backwards and doing as much research as possible about the job and the company. Have a list of questions but don't mention money unless they mention it first.

ANTICIPATE the questions you may be asked: what is your greatest achievement? Where do you see yourself in five years' time. What adjectives best describe you?

BACK UP what you say with practical examples from previous jobs. If you are asked about weaknesses, resist the temptation to be too confessional.
It is much better for a prospective administrator to say for example, "I can be impatient" or " once I have started a task, I just want to get on with it", Avoid answers like "My typing is not very good or " I like a drink".

BE CLEAR about why you want the job. If you can't come up with a list reasons, you shouldn't have applied in the first place. A surprising number of people expect the interview to sell them the job.

LAUGH - appropriately - show your sense of humour - no one wants to employ a dry stick.

EXPECT the unexpected. You may be asked to do a test or suddenly give a practical demonstration of your skills.

DON'T be fooled by a vague invitation to drop in for a chat about a job. When you get there, your casual chat will almost certainly consist of being grilled on every aspect of your last 10 years by a three strong interview panel.

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-Possible Interview Questions (Formal)

Take some time, ask yourself all of these questions - How many are you ready to answer.

Can you tell me about yourself ?
Why do you want a new job now ?
What were your most significant achievements to date ?
What was the most difficult time in your career ?
If I was to speak to your present boss what would he/she say about you ?

In your most recent review how were you assessed ?
How would your fellow workers describe you ?
What do you consider to be your weaknesses ?
What sort of bosses did you have in your career ?
How do you react under pressure ? Give me an example ?

How do you measure success in your present job ?
What sort of person are you to work for ?
What is your management style ?
What kind of people do you find most difficult to manage ?
Do you feel that you stayed in jobs for too long ?

Why did you change jobs so often ?
Looking back over your career, with the benefit of hindsight what would you do differently ?
We obviously have other candidates for this position why do you thin you are the right person for the job ?
If you were starting the job, next week, what would be your biggest area of concern ?

What problems do you find most difficult to deal with at work ?
What interests have you got outside of work ?
Where do you see you career going, say over the next five
How does this job fit into these plans?

I must tell you that we feel that a "younger individual with a 3rd level education would be likely to be more suited to our requirements) older or more experienced) - what would you have to say about that ?
What do you consider to be your particular strengths ?
How do you think these strengths can be of use to us ?

Were you ever promoted ? Why ?
Is there anything you wish to ask about this Company ?
What salary level are you looking for ?
When was your performance last reviewed ? How did this go for you ?
Describe your educational background ?

Why did you choose that school, course, subject ?
Describe your study-habits ?
Any plans for further Education ?
How long have you been looking for a new job ?
What have you done so far so far to find one ?

Describe your ideal job ?
Well, that is about it from our point of view, Have you anything else you wish to ask or say ?

All or many of these questions might be asked at a formal interview - be prepared to answer all of the ones that are relevant to you.

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-The next step are you really ready to move?

Answer the eight questions below and give each a score.
Score10 if you agree completely with the question.
Score 5 if you are unsure.
Score 0 if you disagree completely.

1. I have no idea about the kind of job I would like next
2. Luck is likely to play a very big part in getting a job
3. Most people need formal professional qualifications for their job
4. There are better opportunities in small companies
5. It is better to work in a large company
6. I would not like to leave this region to find a job
7. It is very hard to find jobs for people aged 50+
8. Interviewers have usually been trained in the art of selection

If you score 0 - 20, You have thought about your next job and are ready to move.
If you score 20 - 50, You need to consider any uncertainties you have.
If you score 50 - 80, You may not be ready, consider your motives, seek advice.

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-Walk and Talk the Interview

Sober Suit - Business style - respect for the company - no matter what level.
No heavy Jewelry, make-up, bright nail varnish.
Smile and shake hands when you enter the room - Have a contact name - Use it.
Travel Light - one Handbag and copy c.v.
Sit comfortable - cross legs if comfortable - don't slouch - it impairs your voice

80/20 rule - 80% of you talking, 20% of the interviewer
Don't fluff the air - if you previously did a basic job say you did a basic job.
Keep talking - try to let your conversation flow - the interviewer talk - speak slowly and speak up.

Don't answer a question by saying "its on the CV indicating that they couldn't be bothered to read your CV. They want to hear you talk.
Always have 1 or 2 prepared questions.
0r - alternatively if you made a mess of a question earlier explaining something - Say we were talking earlier and I would like to explain further.

Finish the interview - Thank you for your time, Thank you for seeing me, Shake hands again - this closes the interview.
Body Language - gestures are fine, watch the white lies - your body can easily give you away.
Relax, breath properly - you have got this far.

Visualisation - imagine telling all your friends about your new job - ( the pub - celebration - the congratulation voices of your friends)
Start with the possible end result - Why do you want a new job - Money for a car, Self-fulfillment.
Work back then believe you can do it.

Your C.V. and covering letter got through the screening - So you already have a foot inside the door.

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