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

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