Here are some Hints & Tips when applying for a job

Writing your CV

Writing your CV and a covering letter is your chance to show an employer exactly what you’ve got. It’s about selling yourself, your skills and experience, and showing the employer that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

How you write your CV and covering letter is up to you, but there are some basic rules to follow if you want to create the best impression. And don’t be worried if this is your first CV – with our help you’ll soon have a professional CV and covering letter that are ready to be sent out and get you interviews.

Basic rules 

Include everything that illustrates your talents and achievements. Do not be modest, be comprehensive, but do be brief.

CVs shouldn’t be longer than two pages.

Do not spend too much time on self-congratulatory phrases such as “I am a dynamic self-motivated student with a strong ambition to succeed.” Employers want to see evidence.

Review your life and career to date carefully, and do not miss out significant events.

Employment should include vacation work, even though it may not seem relevant. It helps present you as someone who is hardworking.

You can also provide information on interests and hobbies (concentrate on those you pursue actively), positions of responsibility, your skills (many people overlook important skills such as computer literacy). You could consider a section on ‘achievements’ to cover events where you have been successful or have had to assume responsibilities such as charity fund-raising.

It is common practice to include two references at the end of a CV – one academic and one employer if possible.

Your CV is likely to be read in one or two minutes, so clarity is essential.

Avoid long sentences by writing in notes and use bullet lists if it makes your message clearer.

Use capital letters, underlining or bold type for headings. Break your document up into easy-to-read sections. If you do not do this, much of what you have written may be missed.

Print your CV on good quality paper.

Covering letter

When you send off a CV or application form you need to include a covering letter. It is your personal statement and you can use it to highlight which particular skills you possess that would prove invaluable to your new employer.

Covering letters should be organised into logical sections:

First part to include why you are writing/where you saw the advertisement.

Second part to highlight your most relevant skills and achievements and refer to your CV or application form.

Third part to close the letter – often asking for what you want i.e an interview.

Key points

Keep it short. Never make it longer than one side of A4, with a number of brief paragraphs.

Send the covering letter to a named person (ie don’t use Sir or Madam). If you do not have a name then contact the organisation. Most switchboards or reception desks will give you the information.

Hand write your letter unless your handwriting is illegible. This helps to dispel the feeling that many employers have that they are merely one of the hundreds of employers to whom you are applying.

Know your stuff

You will definitely be asked specific questions about the company you are interviewing with, so make sure you’ve done your homework on the company. Also make sure you know about the latest developments in the industry so you can ask questions with confidence.

Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. You should prepare answers to some of the most common interview questions about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job.

The Interview

You should always have some questions prepared for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. Two or three questions are enough some which will give you more information about the job and some maybe about the culture of the company. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have any reservations about you doing the job.

Remember to speak clearly, smile and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and the may be nervous too!