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When writing your CV…
1. Keep it short and simple– A recruiter might look at your CV for no longer than one minute, so it should be as clear, concise and attention-grabbing as possible. Try to keep it under two pages and avoid using acronyms and overly technical or informal terms.
2. Personal details at the top - In order to make your CV easily identifiable, your personal information should be placed at the top. You do not need to include information relating to your gender or age, but it is helpful to mention your nationality.
3. Customise your CV - You might have had many academic and professional experiences or extracurricular activities, but don't just list them. Make sure that the information you provide in your CV is presented in a way that makes it relevant to the company and the position.
4. Achievements are what counts - Focus your CV on what you achieved and not just on your responsibilities. You should always present evidence to your claims and use numbers and percentages whenever possible. Use active verbs, but avoid overused and clichéd words and phrases.
5. Add a personal statement - Placing a short personal profile at the beginning of the CV is not obligatory, but it is very useful. It can help you distinguish yourself from other applicants and also lets the reader quickly understand who you are and what you are aiming for. Keep the personal profile short and focused and avoid filling it with general statements.
6. Be honest - Avoid providing misleading information about your experience and achievements. Recruiters and employers run checks on applicants' claims and references, so providing false information may severely damage your credibility and your chances of getting the position you applied for.
7. Provide references - It is not obligatory, but it will only be helpful if you include one or two referees in your CV. These can be an academic referee and an employer, for example. It is always best to contact them first to request permission to use their contact details.
8. Proofread - All the effort you put into creating the perfect CV could be in vain if it has the smallest grammar or spelling mistake. Proofreading your CV is one of the most important steps in CV preparation since it shows that you have good writing skills and are attentive to detail.
9. Ask for a second opinion - Before sending your CV to potential employers it might be helpful to get feedback by showing it to one or two people. A pair of fresh eyes may spot something that you might have missed or something that is not very clear.
10. Keep it updated - Your CV is your passport into the professional world, so you need to update it regularly. Also, if you feel that your current CV format is not working for you, don't be afraid to change it until you are satisfied with it.
When going for an interview…
1. Prepare and practise - Before you go to your interview it is important to research the company and industry you are applying to and think carefully about why you are interested in that career path. Also, try to prepare answers for potential questions that you might be asked during the interview.
2. Make a good first impression - Dress appropriately and arrive on time, shake hands firmly, and introduce yourself clearly and confidently, with eye contact and a formal but friendly tone and expression.
3. Sell yourself - Modesty is a virtue but don't forget that you need to convince the recruiter that you are the right one for the job. Don't be afraid to sell your skills and experience impressively, but make sure you don't provide false information.
4. Know your weaknesses - It is almost certain that at some point in your interview you will be asked about your weaknesses. Don't try to answer with a strength masked as a weakness, as it has been done too often. Instead, pick a weakness you are aware of and show that you are willing to work on it.
5. Listen - Accuracy is key, interview time is precious, and wasting time on tangents that the interviewer is not interested in can seriously damage your chances, so listen carefully and, if necessary, ask for clarification.
6. Ask questions - It is not just you who should be right for the position and company you are applying for, but they should also be the right ones for you. Take this opportunity to get to know the company better and to find out more about the role.
7. Maintain eye contact - Maintain eye contact and smile during the interview, but don't glare unnaturally at the interviewer. There is a fine line between showing interest and focus and being uncomfortable, so try to be relaxed and at ease.
8. Don't repeat yourself - Don't fall in to the trap of thinking you must spend hours answering each question. Remember that your interviewer is probably seeing many candidates in one day, be concise and efficient with your words and don't repeat yourself.
9. Expand on your CV - It is assumed that your interviewer will have reviewed your CV, so they will have no interest in listening to you verbalise it word for word. Make sure that while you stay honest to your CV, you expand on the information, and where possible give them information about yourself that isn't on your CV, anything relevant to the role that will make you stand out in the mind of your interviewer. Remember that your aim is to differentiate yourself from the flock.
10. Ask for feedback - But not immediately after the interview – wait until you are contacted. This will help you improve for next time; even if the feedback is generic, take it on board and work on what you are given.