1. CV TIPS

How to get that interview!

Your CV is a great marketing tool that allows you to promote yourself with the sole purpose of getting an interview.

When writing your CV, look at it from the employer’s point of view. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Ask yourself, would you stand out against the competition, i.e. other candidates, and would the hiring company/manager want to speak to you about a possible role?

We have compiled a few straightforward tips to help you to promote yourself in the best possible way.
Your CV should be:

  • Structured
  • Concise
  • Error free – check for spelling mistakes.
  • Impeccably neat
  • Easy to read – use bullet points
  • Complete - don't have any gaps between jobs and your studies. For example, if you took a break to go travelling, include this in your CV
  • Current
Tailoring Your CV

Your CV should be tailored to the particular job for which you are applying. Read job specs carefully and highlight relevant experience on your CV. The one CV will not be suitable to apply for every job.

It must cover four key areas:

  • Personal Details
  • Educational Details/Qualifications
  • Employment History/Work Experience
  • Hobbies & Interests/Achievements

Personal Details:

Name, address, phone number, email, LinkedIn profile URL (make sure this is shortened)

Educational Details/Qualifications:

Always start with the most recent and detail the name of the course, level achieved and dates. Include from secondary school onwards. Include any part-time or continuous study and any academic awards here.

Employment History/Work Experience:

Always start with your most recent job and order your employment history chronologically. Layout should be as follows:

Company: Name of the company
Position Held: Job title with start and finish dates
Key Duties/Responsibilities: Brief description of various duties in order of importance and in bullet point format for ease of reading. Include any achievements.

Hobbies & Interests/Achievements:

These should be achievements that are over and above your job experience and also extra-curricular.

2. INTERVIEW TIPS

The Basics
  • Be on time – on time means five to ten minutes early. If necessary take some time to drive to the office beforehand so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Don't forget to take traffic into consideration too!
  • Have a firm handshake
  • Maintain plenty of eye contact
  • Don’t talk too much – watch for any signs of boredom in the interviewer
  • Avoid jargon
  • Don’t fidget with your hair, pen, etc.
  • Stay calm and take slow deep breaths if you're nervous before the interview
  • Presentation – first impressions are vital. Research consistently highlights on-the-spot decision making by interviewers based on how the candidate comes across in the crucial first few minutes
  • Build a rapport – remember the interviewer is not only assessing your skills and experience, but also whether they think you are a good fit for their company. It is important to try to develop a rapport with your interviewer
  • Be positive and enthusiastic about the job and the company. Enthusiasm can sometimes compensate for not possessing the right experience
  • Research the company, its products or services, competitors, company accounts, etc. Prepare for any questions you want to ask
  • Be ready for the questions you will be asked – interviews are notoriously predictable. Anticipate the questions and prepare your answers
  • Make sure you know your own CV and be able to speak about your experience fluently
Tell me a bit more about yourself

When you are asked this question, it is your opportunity to talk about yourself (we like to call it the sales pitch) – but be careful not to go off on tangent. Stick to four main areas:

  • Your early years
  • Your education
  • Your work history
  • Your recent career experience

Bear in mind the job spec for the position and what your Matrix Consultant has told you, and give the interviewer the information they want to hear. A short, concise presentation of yourself is what is required – a couple of minutes in length.

General Questions That Can be Asked in Interviews
  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?
  • What do you consider to be your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do you see yourself doing five to ten years from now?
  • How did you choose your college/qualification, etc.?
  • How would you describe the ideal position for you?
  • What kind of people do you find most difficult to work with?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in a job?
  • How do you feel about travel? On average, how many nights a week would you be willing to stay away from home?
  • How is your experience relevant to our work?
  • Why should we hire you?
The Star Interview Technique

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action & Result) format is a competency based job interview technique used by interviewers to gather all the relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires.

Sample STAR Questions

  • Describe a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done
  • Describe a time when you used persuasion to convince someone to do things your way
  • Tell me about a time when you used good judgement and logic in solving a problem
  • Convince me that you can work successfully with a wide variety of people, situations and environments
  • Give me an example of you making a quick decision
  • What has been your most creative solution to a problem?
  • Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem

Answering these questions involves:

  • Situation/Task – you give the situation you were in or the task you were given
  • Action– the action you took in the given situation or task
  • Result – what was the result of your actions? Bear in mind if the result wasn’t positive, what did you then do to turn it around?
The Matrix Formula

The Matrix Formula prepares you for a competency based interview. Prepare answers to the following questions using the premise of the STAR (Situation, Task, Action & Result) Technique:

Give me an example of a project or task that you worked on that:

  • Was a success
  • Was a failure
  • You were under pressure to complete
  • You had to keep within budget. How did you do this?
  • You had to supervise others. What issues arose and how did you deal with these?
  • You had to delegate tasks, lead and motivate others
  • How did you manage your time?
  • How did you prioritise competing tasks?
  • What obstacles did you have to overcome?
  • In hindsight, what would you do differently?
  • What skills have you acquired from carrying out such a project? Explain how you have put these skills into practice.

Make sure you have solid questions to ask at the end of the interview, for example:

  • What qualities and skills are you looking for in the candidate who fills this position?
  • What kind of assignments might I expect in the first six months on the job?
  • Is this a new position or are you replacing someone?
  • What is the largest single problem currently facing your staff/department?
  • What do you like best about your job/company?
  • Has there been much turnover in this job area?
  • Is there a lot of team/project work?
  • What are this position’s biggest challenges?
  • Could you tell me about how the job has been performed in the past? And, what improvements would you like to see happen?
  • What are the prospects for growth and advancement?

Good luck from all at Matrix Recruitment Group