CV Preparation and Interview Tips

CV Preparation and Interview Tips

Posted in Applying & Advice, Experiences on Sep 20, 2021 by

University Finder

Applying for a job or an apprenticeship is an exciting time in your life and the start of a new chapter. If this is your first time applying for a job or an apprenticeship, this can also seem like quite a confusing time, as it can be hard knowing the right things to do and what to say. We have outlined some top tips for students to make sure they have the best chance of getting the job or apprenticeship they want.

CV Key Requirements:
  • The spelling, grammar and punctuation on your CV need to be perfect. Even if you are not applying for a writing based role, your CV has to be word-perfect. This shows your meticulousness and accuracy, which can be reflective of your role. If you write that you have a keen eye for detail and submit a CV with lots of spelling errors, your future employer is likely to doubt your skills. If spelling and grammar isn’t your strong suit, use a grammar checker or a proofreading tool to make sure your CV is 100% mistake-free.

  • Keep it concise - a double side of A4 should be the maximum length of your CV. If you have lots of experience, select what experience is the most relevant for the role you are applying to and prioritize that on your CV

  • Highlight your skills - make sure you are including all relevant accomplishments, qualifications and extracurriculars to make you stand out as the best candidate for the role

  • Contact Details - if the hiring manager likes the look of your CV, you need to ensure they are able to contact you. Check that your email address is correct and your recent mobile number is included.

  • Be honest! It can be tempting to embellish your experience and even lie on your CV to fit the relevant experience for the role. Avoid this at all costs as it will never end well - especially if you get an interview! If you do not have direct experience, try to think of a similar experience and how it can help you learn new skills etc.

So, your CV was a success and now you have been invited to an interview? Congratulations! Getting an interview means the employer believes you could be a great fit for the role. This is your chance to show them your personality and how you can be a valuable asset to the company. Here are some key pointers to consider before your interview.

  1. Do your research. Make sure you have read the job description properly and you know exactly what the company will expect from you in the role. Once you have fully understood the job description, research the company in general to make sure you know the company’s values and main achievements

  2. Ask good questions. The interviewer will usually ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview. This is your chance to offer up more information about yourself, while also showing your commitment to the role. Make a list of good questions you could ask and then pick 1 or 2 to ask at the end of the interview, depending on what has been discussed already.

  3. Body language is key! Make sure you make eye contact, sit up straight and speak clearly. Don’t worry if you are nervous - everyone will be. Walk in and give each interviewer a good handshake, smile and look them in the eye. Once this is out of the way, you will feel more comfortable to continue the interview.

  4. Sell your skills. What does the job role require? Are they looking for someone who is a great team player? Think about your previous relevant experiences (if this is your first job, think of any extra curricular activities or leadership roles you have had at school).

  5. Dress to impress. If you are going to a job interview, you want to make a good first impression. Make sure you are dressed smartly to show you are taking the interview seriously. By simply swapping your scuffed converses for some polished dress shoes and tucking in your shirt, you will look more instantly more professional - and thus more employable. Once you feel the part, you will act the part and this will help you to perform at your best during your interview.

  6. Keep your phone on silent. There is nothing worse than incessant notification pings while you are trying to walk the employer through your relevant experience. It will always give a bad impression, so avoid the embarrassment altogether and make sure it is silenced throughout the whole interview. Turn it off if you need to and keep it in your bag.

  7. Practise makes perfect. Conducting a mini mock-interview at home with your friends or family will get you comfortable with the style and structure of the interview. The age old saying here rings true: failing to prepare is preparing to fail. There are lots of practise interview questions available with a simple Google search. Write down the most common ones and ask your family to set up a practice interview from walking in the door to leaving. Once you ace this at home, you will feel much more confident heading into the real thing.

Taking the time to research a role and prepare for the interview can make the difference between an unsuccessful interview and a job offer. If you have been unsuccessful, it is also useful to ask the interviewer or hiring manager for some feedback on your application. Hearing about what went well and what you could improve on will help you with your future applications.