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Prepare to get that job with Allena Clarke Appointments helpful hints and tips
Use the scroll buttons to read through our hints and tips on getting that new job or select a topic below to go straight to that article.

What is a CV?

Your Curriculum Vitae is essentially a selling tool, and it’s selling you. It outlines your skills and experience so that a potential employer can see at a glance how you might perform in a given role. It's an opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light.

Do I need a CV?

Yes. Definitely. Writing an effective CV is one of the most important things you will do in your professional life. Quite simply, it will increase your prospects of getting the job you want. Most advertised vacancies on the internet or in newspapers ask for a CV, so having one prepared in advance will allow you to respond quickly whenever the ideal job comes along. Most of your CV will be generic…the vast majority of it will apply to all positions you apply for. However, you will still need to tailor your CV to make it relevant to each job. We’ll have more about this latter point very shortly.

How will having a CV help me find a job?

A good CV will get you interviews that lead to job offers. If properly produced, it will highlight your skills, accomplishments and work experience in a way that distinguishes you from the hundreds of other candidates in the recruitment market. It will position you as a serious contender who is worthy of being interviewed. Recruitment agencies will often ask you for a CV so they can submit it to companies who are looking for your skills. And when you are called on to complete application forms, your CV will act as an excellent memory jogger.

How should I prepare and write my CV?

There are no universal formats or rules for writing CV's but, here are a few suggestions.
Start by jotting down notes on your education, experience, skills and any professional or academic organisations you belong to. When recalling your previous employment, don't simply give job descriptions: think through the purpose of each job, the responsibilities you handled and the specific results you achieved.
Write down the details of when you started and finished each job. Take care to avoid unexplained jobs. If you had spells of unemployment, describe what you did with your time, for example, you may have been travelling, working voluntarily or even developing your skills on formal courses.

Tailoring your CV for better results

Matching your skills and experience to the employer's needs will improve your success in securing an interview. What aspects of your education, experience and skills are most attractive to an employer? Remember, a CV is like a personal brochure. It must promote your strengths and aptitudes and demonstrate the benefits you can bring to the employer's organisation. That means tailoring your CV to a specific position wherever possible. It means finding out as much as you can about the company and the requirements of the role. Above all, it means thinking like an employer, in other words, what are they looking for? What key elements did they ask for in the job description? How specifically are you suited for this particular role and organisation? Go online if they have a website, check the company details, this will equip you with knowledge about each company.
Always be honest and accurate in your information. Often a prospective employer will use your CV as the basis of your interview and for references.

How should I present my CV?
Once you have identified the key information to be included in your CV and decided on the most important elements, you need to write and organise your points. Here are several suggestions.

  • Make your CV as simple and clear as possible. That means keeping descriptions brief, factual and to the point.
  • Your CV should be no longer than two sides in length.
  • State clearly the type of work you want and why you are qualified.
  • Use active verbs that describe your skills, abilities and achievements. For example, "I can contribute / have experience in organising / am trained in..." Use such verbs at the beginning of each sentence (managed, developed, created, coordinated, etc.) to make them even more powerful.
  • Use a clear and logical format. You could organise your CV by job titles, with the most recent position listed first or arrange your employment history into sections that highlight key areas of skill and achievement.

Since your personal career history, achievements and academic credentials are unique, the way you organise and express them may be equally unique. Whatever your choice, make sure that you highlight your strongest points. Also use clear headings, simple language and adequate margins and line spacing.



The key to success at interview is often in your preparation.

Prepare yourself - Identify your skills and abilities, strengths, achievements and any areas for improvement. Think up the phrases and descriptions that 'sell you'.

Prepare your answers - Questions you'll be asked fall into these main categories:
  • You as a person
  • Your work history, skills and experience
  • What you can bring to the position, why they should choose you
  • What you already know about the company

Try and anticipate topics and questions you may face. Write them down and then list the crucial points you want to make in response. Don't learn phrases parrot fashion, as you won't sound natural, but think of specific examples from your prior work experience you can use in the interview to show how well you fit the job vacancy.

Transferable skills are one of the most important factors to highlight when looking for a new position.

For example, if you're looking for a call centre job, even if you haven't worked in this environment before, make sure you emphasize your customer facing skills.

For clerical jobs and administrative work, describe how organised you are as a person.
If possible, practice your answers, so that you are comfortable and confident in responding to different types of questions.

Prepare your questions - You're sure to get the chance to ask questions yourself, so prepare some in advance. Asking questions will make you sound interested in the role.

  • What future plans are there for this position?
  • What opportunities are there for development and promotion?
  • Who are the people you would be working with?

Try not to ask questions that have already been covered during the interview. If opportunities for development are limited and that doesn’t pose an issue for you…tell the interviewer!

Research the potential employer - as an employment agency that aims to offer you the best customer service, we'll provide you with as much information as possible, but you can add to this by contacting the company (customer service or marketing departments) for brochures and information, or by checking their website. Make sure you know what the company does, its size, turnover, locations and its market position and competitors. The more you know about the company, the more you will be ready to answer questions in a positive manner. This will also increase your confidence as you go into the interview.

Your consultant will help you prepare for the interview. Make sure you're aware of:

  • Who will interview you?
  • Will they have your CV or skills evaluation results?
  • Will there be a practical or skills test at the client premises?
  • Any specific format to the interview?
  • When and where it is and how to get there!

Good luck!

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