Interview skills and CVs
How to prepare for an interview and perform well on the day
Many people say that they find interviews difficult and stressful but actually they can be a very positive experience for both you and the employer.
It is all about planning and preparation on the one hand and having confidence in yourself and being ‘you’ – remember it is ‘you’ they want!
It is only natural to be nervous, but good employers recognise this and will do all they can to help you so you can be at your best because that is what they want to see.
Also, all interviews can be positive even if you do not get the job:
- it is good practice, helping you perform better next time
- you can ask for feedback – which will help you prepare differently in the future.
Remember: Not getting the job does not mean you did badly or failed, rather that on this occasion someone else had a little bit more of what the employer was looking for.
Your skills, experiences and qualities are not made less by someone else getting that job – you still have a lot to offer another employer.
- interview skills – good practice guide [PDF] - how to prepare for an interview, different types of interview, typical questions and how to answer them
- developing interview skills [PDF] - general fuide – introduction to interviews
- interview preparation action plan [PDF] - tool to help you be fully prepared for your interview
- assertiveness skills - good practice guide [PDF] - how to recognise the areas where you are assertive, identify your skills, and apply them to other areas of your life.
Guidance on how to write an effective CV
Think of your CV as an entry ticket – it will not get you the job, but it will help get you through the door so you have a chance to present yourself in person.
There is a huge amount of guidance in print and on the internet about CV writing.
There are also professional CV writing companies and individuals who offer their services to help people write better CV’s but be wary, often these are no better than something you can do for yourself, and often not as good. Such support can be helpful in very specialist or highly competitive work areas.
Below are two CV writing guides, but there are many more on the internet.
The internet is also a good source of CV templates. As a general rule it is better to choose simple layouts with standard fonts and avoid shading/colour (as this means the CV will not photocopy well).
Good Tip: Rather than send one general copy of your CV to everybody, create different versions of your CV tailored to the particular employer and the job.
- CV writing guide 1 [PDF] - general guide
- CV writing guide 2 [PDF] - general guide
- positive words and themes [PDF] - stuck for a word? Not sure how to say it positively? Here are some ideas and themes you may want to bring out in a CV, application form or interview. Important: remember, if you claim a skill or quality, you have to be able to support that with evidence.