The most common CV and interview mistakes and our tips on how to avoid them
As a Lingerie specialist Recruitment Agency with 10 years’ experience, we know all too well it’s all about first Impressions. Recruiters and HR managers have very little time to sift through loads of unnecessary words to see if you are one of the chosen few for Interview. In some cases hundreds will apply for just one job. You need to stand out, so here are some tips on how to do just that.
One size does NOT fit all! – First and foremost, you should adapt your CV for every single job you apply for. Look at the job specification and where there is a specific requirement that you have the skills for and make sure it appears in your CV too, make connections, as many as you can. Never lie or even exaggerate on a CV, its not worth it. You’ll be found out and then seen as dishonest, always be truthful but make sure you include ALL your relevant skills.
Keep it short and sweet -but not too short please. You may have heard people say that your CV should not be longer than a page, which may well be true when you’re looking for your first or second job, but after that it’s not the case.
Don’t sacrifice content for length – A good recruitment agency will give help and advice in this respect. If you need to go two pages—which you likely will if you’re a bit further along in your career, don’t leave out important details about your experience for the sake of a shorter CV. Finally use action verbs and highlight accomplishments instead of duties.
Keep the format Simple – We work with a lot of designers who all love to be “creative” with beautiful heavily designed CVs, it’s not always the best approach. Keep the format simple. Add a photo if you wish, have your most recent employment at the beginning and work backwards. Education and hobbies should be last. Bold headings and a uniform layout are most important as it makes it much easier to read. No spelling mistakes, poor grammar or use of wrong words is imperative, so please check it, check it again and then get someone else to check it. Bullet points are always really good to use in a CV, again makes it quick and easy to read and see the detail. Finally, font size should be 10 with bold headings in a 12.
Prove how good you are – Generic, vague phrases about various qualities you have will simply not do. Be specific, add detail and provide accurate numbers and driven statistics to go along with your claims. For example, if you increased your team’s sales by 21% last year, write it down, show you’re good at running and sticking to a budget, show figures versus budget and any cost savings. It’s often a balancing act when it comes to how much company information you reveal in writing in a CV, enough to show what you’ve achieved but not confidential information, so percentages are better than actual values. Finally use numbers e.g. 10%, not ten percent.
Crunch time – The Interview
Be prepared and do your research, this will help you relax and focus on the interview. If you do get nervous for a few minutes then say your nervous, this will help you relax. Show your personality and don’t try and be something you’re not. You want to show them how personable and easy to get along with you are, so that they easily see you fitting in as part of the team.
DON’T BE LATE. If you arrive on time, you’re already 10 minutes late!
Try not to be nervous. Practice with a friend or family member interview questions such as: –
- What do you know about us?
- Tell me a little about yourself?
- Why does this job interest you?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
Breath and try and connect with the interviewer.
Always end on a time frame for follow up, what’s next? -At the end of the interview don’t be afraid to ask about the time frame for you to hear back. What is the next stage? If you are dealing with an agency then feedback to them as soon as you’re out of the interview, whilst it’s all fresh in your mind. If, however you are dealing directly with the company, then it’s a good idea to send a thank you email to the person who interviewed you within a day or so of the interview—it’s a nice personal touch that can’t hurt.