Welcome to our candidate advice centre where you can download useful advice sheets to help produce the perfect CV and prepare for up-coming interviews. We try and keep these updated with the latest job hunting tips for you and should you want any further advice, the Cantello Tayler team are always happy to help, just give us a call or drop us an email.
Usually the best CV format is a reverse one in reverse chronological order:
- Basic/contact information (name, address, email address, phone number).
- Profile section detailing your experience and areas of proficiency.
- Reverse chronological employment history emphasising recent achievements.
- Education (Recent graduates may put this at the top).
Use plain white paper and black ink. Use a clear font, ideally 10/12 point. Make headings bold and use space to break up the page. It makes the reader feel immediately negative towards you if they are confronted by a full page of small, tightly spaced text.
Although you may like unusual fonts and may be proud of your large clipart collection, many people will not share your views. It is better when writing a CV to aim for a smart, professional look rather than a flash multi-coloured masterpiece.
A one page resume is unlikely to contain enough information for people to decide they want to interview you. Likewise people do not want a slipped disk lifting your CV. Obviously use your judgement, but it is more important to include detail on your most recent positions and avoid great detail on what you did in 1973. Typically between two and four pages will suffice for most people.
Make sure you spell check and proof read your CV before submitting and be especially careful with names etc. that will not be in a spellchecker. Also keep your CV up to date, it is amazing how many people just add their most recent position to their old CV without updating previous positions to the past tense or giving leaving dates.
Use dates to show when you did things and avoid vague references such as “one year”. Include months as well as years for start and end dates for previous positions etc.
Your profile/summary statement should sell your skills and experience and avoid vague meaningless generalisations that could apply to anybody.
Many candidates lose their readers in the beginning. Statements like, “A challenging position enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement,” are overused, too general and waste valuable space. If you’re on a career track, replace the objective with a tagline stating what you do or your expertise.
Avoid using personal pronouns such as “me” or “I”.
Cut down on personal information that is not relevant to your career. At this stage nobody needs to know you height, weight, children’s names, marital status etc. don’t go overboard on a hobbies/personal interest section unless they are relevant to your job.
Before the interview
- Research the organisation, check the company website and search for them on the internet
- If you’re changing career make sure you research the industry and job role
- Prepare answers to common interview questions
- Make sure you know the name of the person or people interviewing you
- Check the format of the interview
- Research your interviewers – Google their names and check LinkedIn
- Print a copy of your CV to take with you
- Re-read your CV
- Plan the journey and check for delays
- Take a contact number with you in case there are any problems
- Print out a map of your route
- Leave a good half hour before you think you need to
At the interview
- Switch off your mobile phone
- Ask questions about the role and company
- Ask when you can expect to hear back
After the interview
- Contact your consultant to let you know your feedback
Serious candidates prepare
You’ve heard it before, but that’s because it really matters. So many people, especially first-jobbers, make the fatal mistake of not doing their homework before walking into an interview. Interviewers expect you to prepare and chances are they’ll know if you don’t. So show them you’re serious about the job:
- Practice common interview questions
- Research the company and your interviewers
- Be aware of topical issues affecting your industry
The first five minutes count
It takes most recruiters just ten minutes to make their mind up about a candidate. And a quarter of interviewers make a judgement after just five minutes.
So how do you go about making a good impression in those crucial first few moments?
- Don’t arrive late
- Use positive body language
- Don’t be rude or personal about current or previous employers
- Don’t be too familiar, it’s important to set a professional tone
- Switch off your mobile before you step into the room
Curiosity is crucial
Ask an intelligent question towards the beginning of your interview to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. And when you get to the end, ask a few more. Just spending half an hour on a company’s website can give you a definite advantage.
Look for recent press releases, product launches, career biographies and awards which could spark talking points. An interviewer will assume you’re not genuinely interested in their company if you ask nothing about it.
You’re only human – and so is your interviewer
Good employers understand the pitfalls of interviewing and they know you’re only human. Try not to panic if you get lost for words or a question throws you. You may leave the room berating yourself for your mistakes but the interviewer will make allowances and chances are you weren’t as bad as you think.
It’s all in your technique
You can vastly improve your performance with a little care over your technique:
- When answering interview questions, relate parts of the job description to relevant experience on your CV.
- Make the most of your research and quote it where appropriate.
- If you face a panel interview, make sure you talk to everyone rather than directing your answers at one person.
- Never mention salary unless prompted to do so
- Always let the interviewer finish speaking before giving your response.
Dress for success
Jobseekers and promotion hunters find that a good CV will gain them access to an interview room, but from then on, it’s important to make sure your image measures up to your aspirations.
Think of yourself as a brand,employers want to see your core values, which you can show through appearance, behaviour and communication skills.
Visual, not vocal
Psychologists estimate that just 7% of the impression you make at interview will be based on what you say. The rest will depend on how you said it and whether you looked like a convincing candidate. Dress for the job you aspire to and people will picture you in the role.
Plan of action
When you research the job you want, build the clothes you need to wear into the equation. Find out beforehand what the job entails,If it involves going out to client meetings, for example, dress as though you could bring in new business.
Check out the company dress code, even if it means standing outside their offices to see what employees wear. If you are seeking promotion, use the staff restaurant or foyer to monitor the style of key people.
Upwardly mobile dressers
Never dress down to an interview. If you want the job, you should have made an effort with your appearance,
You have to show intelligence and a passion to work at the company. If you arrive looking scruffy, you have to work even harder in the interview.
Casual means caution
Don’t assume that the weekend starts early. According to the Vodafone Working Nation survey, only 25% of companies now offer dress-down Fridays.
Be known for your skills, not eccentricities. It is wise to take a low-key approach to looking individual at work. It is advised to simply to add one interesting accessory (a brooch for women, for example, or a bright tie for men) to well-tailored clothes if you want to stand out from the crowd.
For the girls…
It pays to make-up: women who wear subtle make-up earn 23% more than women who go without. Make-up emphasises eyes and mouth (the primary means of communication).
Cover up: 88% of people feel that it is unacceptable to display a bare midriff in the workplace, making it less acceptable than visible tattoos (77%), body piercings (69%) and low-cut tops (64%).
Suits command respect: women have so many choices that they often shy away from the more formal suit, and so come over as less powerful than their male colleagues.
For the boys…
Beard blunders: facial hair is not taboo anymore. One in three bosses now view stubble as acceptable in business. But concealing lips and mouth is still a barrier to communication. If you’re going for beard or stubble, you’ll need to spend more, not less, time on grooming.
Don’t be a schoolboy: badly-fitting clothes generally look like hand-me-downs.
And all the rest: don’t think you can get away with a stain on your tie, lunch in your teeth or smelling of cigarettes.
Practice interview questions.
Q. Why do you want this job?
It’s the natural next step for you and this is the right organisation in which to further your career. Show off your knowledge about the business. Make all that research worthwhile.
Q. Where does it fit in with your career plans?
It’s good to talk about steady progression and cementing your experience. But ambition can be good too, and there is no harm in aspiring to the boss’s job in five years’ time!
Q. What are your strengths?
Ensure that these are relevant to the job. Try and relate your strengths back to the job spec and give examples of why you’re strong in these areas.
Q. What are your weaknesses?
These should be positive weaknesses. Perhaps you have a tendency to work too hard or are a perfectionist.
Q. What’s been your most significant success at work?
This is about your personal achievements and contribution. Interviewers aren’t interested in the great team you work with. If you have limited work experience, you could talk about achievements outside work. But relate them to the job you are applying for.
Q. What is the biggest mistake you ever made?
We all have one, but what’s important is how you dealt with your biggest mistake and what you learnt from the experience.
Q. What is the greatest challenge you have ever faced?
Keep it relevant to the job and be positive. Again, interviewers want to know how you met the challenge and what you might do differently, with the wisdom of hindsight, in a similar situation.
Q. How do you cope with difficult colleagues?
It’s all about trying to understand a situation from someone else’s perspective — that’s team work.
Q. You’ve changed jobs three times in the past five years, why should I think you are more serious about this one?
Great opportunities came your way and you would have been foolish to turn them down. Or, you took a job to achieve a particular goal and, having succeeded sooner than you expected, it was time to move on.
Q. What do you do outside of work?
You want to appear active but not so busy that you could not get to work on time or stay late occasionally.
Q. What’s your current salary?
Include all your perks and bonuses, but tell the truth. The interviewer can always contact your current employer to check.