Job seeker tips
JOB SEEKER TIPS
Making a positive first impression is vital when applying for a job, so we've compiled a CV guide and interview tips to help you put your best foot forward...
Your CV should capture the best of you in just a few pages. Although there's no single correct way to write or format a CV, we've come up with a guide which covers the basic information you should include.
A few extra tips on CV writing:
- Always list your employment history starting with the most recent job and working backwards.
- Include the dates you worked for each employer.
- List your education details starting with the most recent qualification and working backwards. If your secondary education was more than 10 years ago, you probably don't need to include this.
- If you've attended courses that are relevant to the job you've applied for, list these starting with the most recent course.
- Including referee details on your CV is optional. If you decide to list your referees, make sure they're happy to provide you with a reference.
Before the interview
- Ask for a copy of the job description if one is available. Make sure you understand the responsibilities and tasks and make notes to ask the interviewer if anything is unclear.
- Do some background research on the company (its history, structure, products/services, goals, locations, etc). If time allows, pay a visit to the company's retail or service outlets to get a sense of their customers, products/services and employees.
- Most interviewers require you to answer questions with specific examples of instances where you've been able to prove your abilities in your current or past roles. Common questions might be centred around customer service, problem solving, organisation skills, attention to detail or team work (to name a few). Think back to some of your successes (and failures) and make notes if you think you might struggle to remember these examples at the interview.
- Know the exact time and location of the interview and the name(s) of the interviewer(s).
- Dress in a way that's appropriate to the job you're applying for. Some employers may expect a suit and tie whereas others may be happy with smart-casual attire. If you're unsure of the dress code, ask the recruiter or hiring manager when they call you to confirm your interview time.
- Choose clothing you feel comfortable and confident in. Ensure your clothes are clean and pressed.
- Personal grooming is very important. Make sure your hair is tidy, wear deodorant and avoid wearing too much make-up or fragrance.
- If you're applying for a job with your current employer, it's usually acceptable to wear whatever your normal work attire might be.
During the interview
- Arrive at the venue early so you don't feel flustered and have time to collect your thoughts.
- Turn off your mobile phone (or switch it to silent mode).
- Think about the questions before answering. If you're unsure about a question, ask the interviewer to clarify.
- Stay relaxed, friendly and polite. It's okay to be nervous.
- Be specific with your answers and provide details of specific situations that you have experienced.
- Arrive late.
- Invent or exaggerate your experience or skills.
- Be negative.
- Give answers you've memorised prior to the interview.
- Answer your phone if it rings.
It's a good idea to prepare some of your own questions for the interviewer. Asking relevant questions about the job or company can show the interviewer your enthusiasm, initiative and preparation.
At the conclusion of the interview, ask the interviewer if there's any extra information they need from you, and find out when you might expect to hear back from them. Most of all, thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
After the interview
- If you haven't heard from the recruiter or hiring manager within the timeframe mentioned at the interview, it's appropriate to send a polite follow-up email requesting an update.
- If you've been selected to move forward in the process, be aware that things might move quite quickly; you may be invited back for a second interview or asked to complete an assessment/test. The recruiter or hiring manager may wish to contact your referees. It's important for you to make sure your referees are happy to answer questions about your past performance BEFORE the recruiter or hiring manager contacts them.
- If you have not been successful, take onboard the feedback the recruiter or hiring manager gives you and use this as an experience to learn for your next interview. If the feedback is unclear, it's appropriate to ask for further clarification.