Useful Tips For Candidates

Interview Preparation

Preparation and impression are essential for presenting yourself in the best possible manner during an interview. Here are 10 basic tips to convince a prospective employer that you’re the one for the job.

  1. Thoroughly research the job and company. Gather as much information as you can about the company. Know the history, products, mission, and goal of the company at the corporate level and get any information you can about it on a local level. N.B. Corporate information is easily obtained - most companies have good internet sites that provide all the information you will need. 
  2. Bring an extra copy of your C.V. – just in case.
  3. Make eye contact - apart from anything else it shows that you are focused and confident.
  4. Demonstrate interest and enthusiasm about the company.
  5. Dress professionally - although many companies now maintain a casual dress policy, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed, so regardless of the type of position that you are applying for, look your best. N.B. Sometimes candidates will have to come directly from work and are unable to change clothes. If this is the case, let the interviewer know beforehand - you do not want the interviewer to perceive your appearance as a negative. 
  6. Try to respond to questions within 60 seconds. You don’t want to be monosyllabic but lengthy responses will make the employer lose interest - and you might even lose your own focus!
  7. Listen and respond to answers directly. If you are unclear about a question, ask for clarification.
  8. Be prepared to discuss how what you’ve done in the past will affect how you’ll perform in the future position. N.B. Give examples that show value.
  9. Ask questions - sharp questions show that you are proactive and want to make sure that this company is the right place for you. N.B. Remember that interviewing is a two-way street. You need to determine if this is a good fit for you, as well as being a good fit for the company. Here are some sample questions:
    • Why is this position available?
    • What are the job requirements?
    • Advancement potential?
    • What are the company's future plans?
    • What is the next step in the interviewing process?
  10. Send a thank you note within two days of the interview expressing your interest in the position and thanking the interviewer for his or her time - even if you’re not interested in the job! N.B. You never know who might be a good contact for you in the future.

So don't forget the basics and prepare and rehearse common questions and answers. For example - Tell us something about yourself? What was the nature of your job? What can you do for this company? Three reasons, why should we be hiring you? What special skills did you acquire? What where your Targets? What did you achieve? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Why are you considering leaving your present job? Why are you interested in this company and how can you contribute?

AND last but not the least - References. Have the names & contact numbers handy. Talk about your achievements and if you have done better than others, worked hard, make it count. Highlight your achievements. If interested, show it. If you are keen for the job, let the interviewer know that you are keen for the job. That way he will surely give you a priority over others who he is not sure of.  Be courteous, it will help you. If you're unsure then you can always thank them and tell them that you will need to sleep over it and will revert soon - who knows you may actually change you mind the next day?  Say thank you while concluding the interview and thank the interviewer for the time and consideration given you. Ask when you should meet again to discuss the position further. It often takes several interviews to obtain the job offer. Ask for a business card and give yours in return. Don’t show desperation - NEVER show your desperation for the job. Even if you get it, you will definitely lose your future negotiating power. Besides the company is looking for achievers - not beggars.

CV Writing

CV Writing

A CV or Curriculum Vitae is:

A CV or curriculum vitae is a marketing tool. With your CV you will be able to promote yourself. Imagine the CV as being a brochure that will list the benefits of a particular service.

The service being your time and skills! When writing a CV, look at it from your employer’s point of view. Would you stand out against the competition (the other candidates) and would the hiring manager want to talk you?

Networking and interviewing are essential for your job search and your CV is just the first step in the job search. However a CV will be your first contact with potential employers and will open the door. If you are invited for an interview you would then be in a position to explain and expand on what is in your CV.

CV Heading

In the CV heading you can write your general information:

Personal Profile:

The Personal Profile states "What is the next step in my career?" This should be a short, concise statement that informs the employer what kind of position you are looking for. The type of position, the role (managerial, supervisor, contractor) should be included as well.

Keywords are a powerful tool in your CV and should be used! Use keywords to summarize your experience. Keywords will also help ensure that your CV comes up when employers search in their CV databases.

CV Skills Summary

The Skills Summary section of your CV includes your main skills. You should only include keywords in his section, do not go into lengthy descriptions of your skills. The skill summary is also called personal profile.

Education on your CV

List all of your qualifications in this section. Include all of your education including certifications from non-academic institutions, especially those that are related to the job vacancy. If you have more work experience than qualifications, put your work experience before your qualifications.

Professional or Work Experience description on your CV

This section includes any work experience that you have in the field you are applying for. When listing these work experiences include what type of position it was (Contract, Permanent, Part-time etc)

Each job detail should include this basic information

Honors, Awards or Accomplishments

Academic and related awards are listed here. Relevant Courses which are directly related to the job vacancy you are applying for should be listed in this section. If your degree is not related to this job, highlight aspects of the course that are. List any projects you have worked on that are related to this job.

Skills and Experience:

Computer Skills (include title of software package and proficiency level), Soft Skills and other skills that are not in the rest of your CV.

Include also languages (spoken/written/understood).

Activities and Interests:

Any activities that you do in your free time, can be related to your job. If you worked in the school paper it shows initiative and you are willing to make sacrifices in order to further your career. Participating in student activities, professional associations or enthusiast clubs shows leader ship qualities. Leave out any activities related to politics religion or controversial topics. alienating the reader.