Improve you CV and Interview Technique – Business & Social Etiquette Blog

InterviewWe all at some time or other find ourselves applying for a job or a course. This blog is going to give you a few tips for writing your CV and improving your ability to manage yourself in an interview situation.

When you are applying for a course or job, ask yourself why you are putting in an application.  Do you want a career advancement, is it to provide you with some pocket money, finance your education or help you to make your way in the world?   Do you want to be independent, do you need to pay the bills, pay off debt or do you have career ambitions?  Whatever your reason this will dictate the sort of position you are applying for.

Your prospective employer will make their decision on whether or not to invite you to interview based on your CV.   Your CV must be of a very high standard; the employment market is such that employers can pick and choose the best people based on the quality of their  CV.

There are a few rules to remember when writing your CV.  Begin with general information and go on to provide the most important information first. Make the layout really simple to read with headings in bold. If your work experience is limited include other things you have done eg.  courses, voluntary work, caring for parents or others, Saturday jobs, Duke of Edinburgh Award, etc.

Below is an example of the information you can  include in your CV

  • name
  • full address including post code
  • DOB if necessary
  • e-mail address
  • telephone number:  landline and mobile,
  • a summary of your skills or personal profile related to the position  you are   applying for
  • your education and qualifications (written with the latest dates first)
  • other courses without certification
  • your work experience (usually written with the current employment first)
  • your transferable skills or related your life skills
  • your interests and hobbies

Make sure that you check your CV for spelling and grammar; if you don’t feel confident ask someone who you feel can help you.

Prepare mentally for the interview

If you can, set yourself a mock interview with a friend or colleague and go through all the questions you imagine might be asked on the day.  If you do not have someone to do this with, you can role play it in your head or verbally in front of a mirror. Imagine how you would like to see yourself during the interview.  Remember to be calm, self- composed, confident and articulate.  Don’t rush and remember to breath from your diaphragm.

When you arrive

Arrive between five and ten minutes early, let the appropriate person know that you have arrived. Give your name, the name of the person you are meeting and the time of your interview.

When you meet the interviewer,  introduce yourself, smile and look into their eyes as you shake hands,  saying your name confidently and clearly, “Hello I’m David or Sandra Brown”.  Do not put Mr. or Mrs. in front of your name.

At the interview

You have to convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. Face the interviewer and sit up straight, do not slouch or fidget.   When answering questions speak clearly and calmly. Do not talk about your weaknesses even if asked to, make your weakness into a strength.

Be prepared to answer any questions and if you are unclear about what you are being asked, say that you are unsure of how to answer and could they repeat the question.  Listen carefully to the questions and give a considered answer.  It is fine to stop and think but not for  too long.

Be prepared to answer questions about your CV, portfolio etc. so make sure you know them well and can explain anything you might be asked. For instance, “Why is there a nine month gap in your CV? Could you tell me what you were doing during this period?

Don’t go into more detail than is necessary, but if required do provide explanations and examples. Also let the interviewer know that you are willing to learn. Do not criticize previous employers, or discuss personal issues which are irrelevant.

It is not normally appropriate for the interviewer to ask questions regarding your age, religion, race, ethnicity or marital status. There may be the exception to the rule.

For more information visit my website at The courses are also certified for continued professional development (CPD) if required.

Good Luck

About the author

Ellen is our Business & Social Etiquette Blogger. You can reach Ellen on: Etiquette and Manners, Facebook, Linked In

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