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Career Advice – Cvwritingindia
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Interview Coach: ‘What questions do you have for me?’

If you think by the time you are asked ‘what questions do you have for me?’ the interview is over, think again. A good interviewer knows the importance of this question. Employers look to recruit inquisitive, considered and well-prepared staff. Having good questions to ask demonstrates many skills.

 

From personal experience, candidates with good questioning techniques generally get the job. Most interviewees prepare a few vaguely relevant questions – the sort of stuff you can get in 5 minutes following a search in Google.

 

nterview Coach: ‘Tell me about yourself’

What appears a harmless ice-breaker is a critical component of your interview. Your answer to “Tell me about yourself” is often the first spoken opportunity (think body language) to create a positive impression...and you know what they say about first impressions.

 

The interviewer often looks relaxed at this point, sitting back, sipping coffee, listening. This can create a false sense of security, almost encouraging you to stray from the point. Beware – a long winded story about your love for art-house films or a shaggy-dog story about how well you service customers may seem interesting to you, but may not hit the spot for your suitor.

An interview is a 2-way process, an interaction. If you talk for too long you are giving a speech, not interacting.

 

Why do interviewers ask this question?

The Cover Letter Masterclass

The cover letter is the first opportunity you have to impress an employer, so best not treat it as a formality.

This is your chance to convey your suitability and enthusiasm for the role. It gives you a little-used opportunity to impress by showcasing your knowledge about the company and/or its industry. Better still, show a personal or professional link between you and the employer.

For the employer, the cover letter says a lot about you: your ability to communicate, influence, degree of professionalism, attention to detail.

3 Critical Rules

  • All covering letters should adopt a simple, concise and formal style. Most employers are conservative so play it safe.

  • Tailor every time and be specific.

  • Check, check and check again. Be meticulous about spelling and grammar.

Failing on any of the above will mean your application is consigned to the dustbin quicker than a New York minute.

 

Is your personal profile helping or hindering your application?

A good personal profile helps an employer reading your CV to quickly grasp who you are, what you offer and what you are looking for. Many job-seekers omit this section but since some recruiters expect it, maximise your chances by including a short profile. After all, the other recruiters will not think negatively of you for including a profile.

However, a poor profile will damage your CV. Keep away from bland and often nauseating clichés. Play it safe if you can and follow the 3 sentence rule:

Sentence 1: Explain who you are / summarise your experience

Sentence 2: Describe your skills and the value you offer an employer (use 2 sentences if you must)

Sentence 3: Convey what you are looking for from your next role

4 Vital Rules for Changing Career

Many are apprehensive when it comes to changing career but there is no doubt doing so can revitalise your life. Successful change comes from mature attitudes and just about anything is possible if you want it enough and are willing to do the work rather than rely on luck.

When considering a change of career, there are 4 vital rules:


1.      Ask yourself why you want to change

Be rigorous in finding out exactly what is motivating your desire for change, otherwise you risk finding a new job with the same problems you encountered in the one you left. Reasons for seeking an alternative career vary from the simple, e.g. to earn more money, to the complex, maybe you feel jaded and fed up with your current position, but are not entirely sure why.

Take a close look at your working life to see which aspects you would like to change: is it the actual content of your job and if so why? Perhaps it is possible to gain promotion, to move to another department or area, or to receive more training to overcome difficulties in your current job.

Interview Question: ‘What do you know about us?’

An employer can grasp your experience by reading your CV. Getting a feel for your skills is a far tougher task. How many people do you think write in their personal profile “an excellent communicator” or “commercially astute” or “an eye for detail”? The truth is interviewers often don’t believe it until they see you in action.

The question “What do you know about us” can define the direction of your interview. This is the chance to demonstrate the skills you have. Too many interviewees make the fatal mistake of treating this question lightly. Giving a great answer will demonstrate your ability to research, prepare, analyse, understand business issues, communicate, empathise, etc.

When is an achievement a good achievement?

The work experience section on most CVs usually mirrors a job description. A strange phenomenon when you consider employers look for evidence of achievement, skill and value.

Clearly stating your achievements separately from your responsibilities is a very positive way to give information about your skills, abilities and value. The work history within your CV could read, for example:

 

How to manage your career like a successful business?

Many entrepreneurial types harbour a desire to one day be business owners. The truth is we are all already running our own businesses in the form of our careers. If you can look upon yourself as a company with a product or service to sell and apply a few simple business rules, success in your career should follow.

Businesses have to work hard to win new clients. In trying to do so, they are evaluated against many different criteria. Good business owners, therefore, spend considerable time developing a plan before going to market.

Preparing for tests – why and how

It is common-place for many employers to use tests as a standard part of their selection process. Swamped with applicants, they want to find the best match between each person’s skills, abilities, aptitudes and personality and the demands of the job they are applying for.

Taking time to practice, whether for a verbal, numerical or personality test, is a must. It will help you perform better on the day, put you at ease for the real thing and teach you valuable insight into where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

 

SPECIFIC TIPS FOR PERSONALITY TESTS

Competency based interviews, behaviours, emotional intelligence: confused?

Attracting and retaining staff has long been a top priority for most employers. To hire more effectively, interviewers are focussing less on applicants’ past job responsibilities and more on how they carried those duties out.

When faced with an interview the likelihood is you will be told it is ‘competency based’ or that the interviewer is looking for certain ‘behaviours’ or evidence of ‘emotional intelligence’. I want to make sure you know exactly what this means...

First of all a simple tip that most don’t bother to follow: find out the format of the interview. It’s fine to ask beforehand so give yourself a chance to prepare.

 

Test: is your CV specific or generic?

Great news: 90% of job-seekers still use generic CVs. So, if you’re in the 10% minority you stand a great chance of success. Truth be told it’s hard work creating a tailored CV. Take the test below to see what camp you’re in.

Most job seekers have a CV documenting a series of responsibilities (“managed a team of 5”, “responsible for delivering a sales target of 1million per annum” or “reconciled accounts on a monthly basis”). Some go on to offer a profile highlighting the key skills and perhaps weave in a few examples to back this up. Very few compose their CVs according to the specific requirements of a company.

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