Career Advice

CV Preparation

When writing your CV it is important to dedicate time to ensure it portrays your qualities in the best possible light. Your CV could be the first point of contact with a prospective employer and so it needs to convince the reader that you are the best candidate for the position, and that you have what it takes to be successful within the role you are applying for.

Please find below a few points to consider when writing your CV:

Your CV should be clear and easy to read, so avoid using decorative fonts/styles etc.

Ensure you provide full details of your education and professional qualifications including dates, grades and subjects.

List all the software and IT systems you have had exposure to. Recent and relevant systems' experience is very important in today's market.

Highlight any languages that you speak and to what level i.e. fluent or intermediate.

Be concise when detailing your experience, but be sure to highlight all your key responsibilities. For example, if you work in Telesales then include: how many calls you make per day if you work to set targets then give monthly/annual figures, etc.

Do not be afraid to sell your skills and experience and highlight any achievements in your career. These achievements will ensure you stand out against other candidates.

Ensure you clearly explain any gaps in your employment.

Be truthful with dates, facts and figures as these will be checked by employers and recruitment consultants alike.

Ensure you check the spelling and grammar on your CV.

Tailor your CV to each role you apply for as some skills and experience may not be relevant for certain positions.

Ensure you have details of at least two referees who can provide you with good employment references. If this is your first role, use University/College lecturers. Potential employers will always check these references during the interview process.

This article is provided by Lloyd Recruitment Services

Interview Preparation

Without a doubt, the key to a successful interview is preparation. As soon as the interview is arranged, start thinking about your potential new employer, your aspirations and any questions you would like to ask.

Research the company before the interview, visit their website, and use search engines to find information about the company, their sector and the role.

Read the job specification in detail and relate your experience to the role.

Ask your Recruitment Consultant about the interview format and about any extra information they may have about that role and company.

Prepare answers to potential competency based questions - these highlight abilities, skills and behaviours necessary to fulfil that role.

Telephone Interview:

The most important step is to make sure that you're somewhere quiet where you can fully concentrate. Speak confidently and positively, and try not to rush your answers. Prepare notes as you would for a normal face to face interview, and have a copy of your CV so you can make references to it (such as strengths, achievements, work experience and future plans).

Face to Face Interview:

Dress code:

Dress smart and professionally, but be conservative - less is more in terms of colour, accessories and make-up.


Plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your interview, as this will allow you to avoid any traffic issues and spend a couple of minutes to unwind and relax.

During the interview:

Ensure your phone is switched off.

Ensure a firm handshake and a comfortable level of eye contact during the interview.

Avoid slouching; sit comfortably and stay alert. Do not chew gum. Smile - this tells the interviewer that you are confident and enthusiastic.

Listen to what is being asked of you and give relevant, concise answers rather than rambling on.

Give honest answers - don't pretend to know something if you don't!

Know your CV and achievements inside out and be prepared to answer detailed questions about them.

Remember that this is your chance to showcase yourself. Show off your knowledge of the firm as well as your attributes, experience and enthusiasm.

Typical questions you may be asked:

  • How much do you know about the vacancy / company?
  • What do you see as the main functions of the vacancy?
  • How do you visualise a typical day?
  • What interests you about the position?
  • What skills or experience do you have that make you right for the position?
  • What qualities do you have that make you right for this position?
  • What has been your biggest achievement in your career to date?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
  • Describe a time when you helped a colleague?
  • When have you had an opportunity to show initiative?
  • What motivates you?
  • How do you motivate yourself?
  • What de-motivates you?
  • How do you analyse your own performance?
  • How do you think that you could improve your own performance?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • Why do you wish to leave your current / last job?
  • If you could change one aspect of your current / last position, what would that be and why?
  • What are you looking for in your next position?
  • Choose 5 words to describe yourself?
  • What 5 words would your previous boss use to describe you?
  • Describe a time when you received negative feedback about your performance?
  • Are you considering other vacancies?

Typical questions to ask:

  • Ask relevant questions that show you are interested but that also prove you have done your research, for example:
  • What are the future plans of the company / position?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are the company's growth plans?
  • What is the company culture / ethos?
  • Ask about training opportunities, promotion, prospects etc.
  • Ask for more information about the duties and responsibilities required in the position (If not already covered).
  • What is staff retention like?
  • Why has the vacancy arisen?
  • Ask about the interview procedure, whether there is a second or third round of interviews.
  • Ask plenty of questions that show you are interested in the company and position.

This article is provided by Lloyd Recruitment Services

For those starting out in their journalism careers, securing work placements will definitely help your job-seeking endeavours. Make it your mission to find a company to take you in, writes Rachel Willcox.

Most experts agree that when it comes to getting a foot in the journalism door, no certificates will help you as much as work experience. While a placement or internship with a household name publisher or broadcaster is a great thing to have on your CV, unfortunately it’s probably as competitive as getting a permanent job.

Don’t let that put you off. Try to remain focused and apply for a specific role rather than writing that you’ll work anywhere. Think about what you can offer to them in your two weeks, or however long, of work experience. There should be something in your application that’s personal to the editor and the title.

Competition for places means that tenacity will stand you in good stead. Don’t be afraid to keep pestering. Phone them up – find out when press day is and don’t harass them then.

Consumer magazines may be top of the wish list for many, but don’t forget there are lots of business to business titles and websites out there that will give you lots of great experience  – don’t rule them out. Similarly think small publishers. They may not be approached very often and could really benefit from having a work experience person in.

This is where an accredited journalism qualification can come into its own. Most accredited courses include a decent stint of work experience, properly structured with proper feedback. Well-respected courses have established links to media organisations. City University, for example, has a reputation for sending students to the Nationals, whereas Cardiff has a more regional flavour to its work experience placements.

David English, who last year retired as the deputy director of Cardiff University’s Centre for Journalism Studies, believes work experience is a way for students to show commitment. “It is also evidence of initiative if students have managed to persuade editors or news editors to give them some experience.”

Perhaps just as importantly it really will give successful candidates a realistic feel of what journalism is all about. Those who don't get it tend to be the ones who have rather grandiose or unrealistic expectations of their first destination,” English says.

There are concerns that some companies have exploited the desire for aspiring journalists to get work experience, but the NUJ says it’s working hard to clean up the industry’s act. Lindsay Nicholson, editorial director of Good Housekeeping magazine, says the publisher operates very strict guidelines for work experience. “People used to do six months of unpaid work in the hope that they’d get a foot in the door. Now we prefer to take students from PTC-accredited courses.”

Securing work experience is only the start – ensuring you come away from the experience better placed for the realities of work is key to ongoing success. “Set yourself some targets and find and write some stories yourself so you can point to something you’ve done,” a spokesman for the NUJ broadcast journalism training council told ResponseSource Media Jobs: “If you have a good period of work experience your chance of getting a job is really high – we have lot of examples of that.”

Paddy O’Connell is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s current affairs programme Broadcasting House, the BBC's former Wall Street presenter and used to report for Working Lunch from New York as far back as 1999. His advice is never to forget the egos of broadcasters and of reporters.

“Call them up or email them, saying ‘I have long been an admirer of your work, and wanted to come and watch you for three hours one afternoon.’ You will be invited along at 2pm and you will have got your foot in the door.” But there is a golden rule for this to work properly, O’Connell warns. “It is best to pick someone whose work you do know -- and do like.”

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