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Career Advice

Looking for some CV pointers, interview help or general guidance?

Find advice on making your application stand out, answering tricky interview questions and presenting yourself in the best way possible below! You can even download our tips to save for your job search & preparation. We understand that looking for a job isn't easy, which is why we have put together some helpful tips to make sure you ace every part of the job searching process.

Body Language

How Body Language Can Affect Your Interview

Interviews can be one of the most nerve-racking experiences in your career, some might even say life.

Whilst first impressions can be important, your body language during the interview can make or break your overall performance.

With experts saying that between 75-90% of communication is non-verbal, it is important to think about what your body is saying about you during an interview.

We have summarised some points to remember so that you send the right message.

Maintain eye contact. This shouldn’t be confused with staring, but make sure that you look at the interviewer whilst talking. It can be hard to keep eye contact when you are nervous, but looking away whilst talking may look like you are insecure.
Make sure you keep a good posture. Leaning too far forward can be seen as aggressive and leaning too far back is a sign that you are lazy. The best thing to do is try and adopt a neutral posture so sit up straight!
Avoid fidgeting. It may be tempting when nervous to fidget, whether it be playing with a pen or twiddling your thumbs, try and avoid this. Studies have shown that employers are less likely to hire you if you fidget as it is a sign of under preparation and a lack of confidence.
Try not to touch your face. While it is a fact that on average we touch our faces between 2-4 times a minute, it is best to avoid this during an interview. Touching your nose can make you appear dishonest, whilst touching your forehead may make you appear nervous.
Avoid crossing your arms. Doing this makes you seem defensive and can give the impression of resistance. It is better to keep your arms at your side or place them on your lap when seated.

Conclusion

Body language and the way you present yourself in an interview says a lot about you to the interviewer. Having said this, you can adopt great body language but if you don’t verbally communicate well or answer the questions properly, you won’t get the job!

Download Body Language Tips
Interview Tips

Interview Tips and Advice

So you get the phone call from either your recruitment consultant or HR department, to let you know that you have been invited in for a face to face interview. This is always great news, but don’t get complacent as the hardest part is yet to come.

If you are in the position described above, congratulations! Here are some helpful tips and advice for the next stage of the process.

Research as much as you can about the company and industry (if you are new to it) as you can. There are two main reasons why this is beneficial. The first is that a candidate that has done their research, is often looked at favourably and seen as using initiative. The second is that you can give more informed responses to questions and have confidence when giving them.
Familiarise yourself with the job description. Read through the job description, think about how your experience relates and then think of examples that you can give of this. Telling short stories that include past experiences and achievements, will help you be seen as personable. This is not essential, but worth thinking about.
Show that your experiences are transferable to the desired role. It is one thing to talk openly about your past work experience, but if it doesn’t relate to the job you are being interviewed for, then it isn’t worth much. Make sure that you are able to illustrate the association between the skills you have gained with the skills required.
Think about your appearance before and during the interview. Make sure that you are dressed appropriately. If you are unsure whether the dress code is smart or smart-casual, go smart. During the interview, it is important that you are aware of your posture, speak clearly and that you smile!
Thank the employer for their time. By doing this you will come across polite and shows that you genuinely appreciate the opportunity as well as wanting the job.

Conclusion

The face to face interview is probably the most daunting part of the recruitment process. By researching the company and showing that your past experience transfers to the role, you will certainly have demonstrated that you are capable of performing the job well.

It is important to remember that first impressions count, so make sure that you are dressed appropriately and that you’re polite. By doing this you will give the impression that you’re a smart and personable individual and combined with the points above you will have a better chance of securing the job.

Download Interview Tips
CV Writing

Writing a Successful CV

A CV is the first thing that a potential employer or recruiter will see when you apply for a job.

What is written down on your CV then, is of high importance and can be the deciding factor in your progression to a face to face interview. Equally, recruitment agencies often find their candidates through their CVs, which is all the more reason to make sure yours is up to standard.

So what is the best way to construct a CV? In truth there is no so called “best way”, however there are CV writing best practices that should be considered.

Here are a few tips that we feel separate the average CV from the successful CV.

Make notes on the job description Firstly look at the job description on the job advert. Take into account the key skills that the employer is looking for. Does your CV have all of these skills? Is the employer looking for a “team player” and does your CV show that you are? If you tailor your CV to the job in question, you are guaranteed to be more successful in getting the interview.
Keep in mind the job that you are applying for If you are seeking employment within a specific industry, for example insurance, then your CV should reflect this. For example, you should spend more time talking about relevant qualifications as opposed to ones that are less relevant.
Put your education and experience in reverse chronological order The reason, employers want to see the most relevant and recent experience and qualifications straight away. Remember they may not have time to look at CVs in depth.
Write positively about your work experience and include achievements to date This is important as it helps to support your skill set.
Make sure your CV is easy to read and without grammatical errors This may seem like an obvious point, but it is surprising how many people forget. Use a spellchecker and/or having someone proof read it is the best option.
Make sure the layout of your CV is pleasing to the eye and industry specific Ensure your layout suits your market. There’s a vast amount of CV template and resources across the internet and we would recommend having a look to generate some ideas.

Conclusion

Your Curriculum Vitae is a very important document when applying for jobs. If you are looking for a job in insurance, for example a claims handler or an insurance broker, a CV can be more important than, for example a designer, where a portfolio would display your work.

So to conclude you should make sure that your CV is relevant for the role, shows examples of your skills and that you put you most relevant qualifications first. By doing this you stand a good chance of your CV being seen and getting that all important face to face interview.

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