Tips for a successful CV and FAQs in a job interview

CV / Resume Preparation Tips

1. Be neat and error free. Ensure that your CV is well presented in an easy to read format. Make sure it is grammatically correct with no spelling or typing errors. Have someone proofread your CV, preferably someone attentive to details. Even the smallest error could land your CV in the bin.

2. State specific objectives. Form a solid, clear objective that will help you carry a focused message throughout the CV. The objective summarizes your skills and emphasizes your strengths.

3. Why does the employer need you? Focus on highlighting accomplishments that will arouse the interest of employers who read CV’s asking themselves: “What can this candidate do for me?” Remember that the goal is to get the interview

4. Make a good first impression. On average, recruitment consultants and or employers spend less than 30 seconds scanning each CV. Most employers are more concerned about career achievements than education. Place the most interesting and compelling facts about yourself at the beginning, such as a list of accomplishments in order of relevance.

5. Use keywords and buzzwords. Include specific key words and phrases that describe your skills and experience, such as Product Launch, Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Sales, Account Management, C++, Visual Basic, Word Processing, MS Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Graphic Design, and Advertising.
Use industry jargon and acronyms to reflect your familiarity with the employer’s business, but not to the point where it makes your CV hard to read or understand. Spell out acronyms in parentheses if they are not obvious, such as TQM (Total Quality Management).

6. Use action verbs. Portray yourself as active, accomplished, intelligent, and capable of making a contribution. Examples: Managed, Launched, Created, Directed, Established, Organized, and Supervised.

7. Avoid Personal Pronouns. Never use personal pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘me’ in your CV. Instead of complete sentences, use short action-oriented phrases: “Managed and supervised a team of 10 direct sales agents” instead of “I managed and supervised a team of 10 direct sales agents”.

8. List only recent information. The general rule of thumb is to show your work experience only for the last 10 to 15 years.

9. Quantify your experience. Numbers are a powerful tool. Instead of saying “Responsible for increasing sales in my territory,” use “Increased sales in my territory by 190% in 1 year. Managed a portfolio of 45 accounts for AED 400 M”

10. Be honest. Lying or exaggerating your abilities will always come back to haunt you. Since recruitment consultants and employers conduct a thorough reference check into short listed candidates, you must make sure all information on your CV is accurate and authentic.

11. Stick with common section headings. Use common section headings like: Career Objective, Work Experience, Education, Skills, Accomplishments, Professional Affiliations, Publications, Licenses and Certifications, Honors, and Reference.

12. Be positive. Remove any negative comments or feelings conveyed in your CV, especially when it comes to previous employment experiences. Emphasize a positive, can-do attitude.

 

The Top 10 FAQ’s asked in a job interview

Many interview questions are to be expected. The following are the top 10 most frequently asked questions that candidates can expect in an interview. Prepare and practice answering these questions as much as possible so when the time comes, you can answer them confidently. Remember: the best candidates don’t necessarily get the job: the best interviewee does.

1. Tell me about yourself.
Answer in a short and focused manner about your professional career only. Do not mention your relationships, childhood experiences, family etc. Provide a brief history of your educational background, career and special interests. Conclude with why you are interested in the job you are being interviewed for.

2. What are your strengths?
Be honest. Examples of answers that might suit you are: excellent contacts, great network, good team player, work well under pressure, strong credit skills/ quantitative/ computer skills, ability to meet deadlines, good organizational/ promotional skills, management skills.

3. What are your weaknesses?
Do not mention any weaknesses here. Infect you should turn this question around to your favour. Good examples are you are “a perfectionist, over-ambitious, extremely attentive to details’ or ‘like to take on too many projects’. Whatever weaknesses you give should sound positive and to your benefit.

4. Why Should We Hire You? 
Summarize your experiences: For example: “With five years’ experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”

5. Why Do You Want to Work Here? 
The interviewer is looking for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

6. What Are Your Goals? 
Sometimes it’s best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility.”

7. Why Did You Leave (Or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job? Why did you leave your previous job?
Do NOT use this as an opportunity to badmouth past employers or colleagues. Or talk about a failure of any sort. You can say, “ I was looking for a new challenge, your learning curve had flattened in your previous job and you were looking for a new learning opportunity, the company or department was going through restructuring”. If you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20 percent reduction in the workforce, which included me.” If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”

8. What are your Salary expectations? 
It is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point.

9. What other jobs have you applied for?
Don’t mention jobs in different career directions (e.g. banking and advertising). Do however bring up any offers or interviews from competing firms.

10. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Keep your answer focused on your professional career. Don’t talk about your personal life here. Many of us have one or two milestones in our career that we can be proud of. Examples of accomplishments may be: Achieved sales target of 120% or organized and led a team to achieve a product launch or reduced costs by 30%. If you are a fresh graduate, mention any extra-curricular activities at college for example you were president or financial controller of a students union etc.