CV and interview tips

Writing a great CV

If you have never written a CV nor have an out of date one then getting started can be quite daunting; what do I need to include?  How long should it be?  and does it make sense?

Writing a CV can often be easier with the help of someone else who knows you well, they know about all the good things that you can do.  You can also use the internet to look at different versions and approaches.

Our thoughts on what a good CV would be:

  • Keep it simple, short and punchy – no CV should be longer than 2 pages
  • Tailor it for each job you apply for which means reading the job ad carefully so you know what people are looking for
  • Be positive and explain the skills and attributes that you have which mean that you can do a great job!
  • Avoid long descriptions of the company that you work for and the job role, recruiters want to know what you have done and the impact that you have had
  • Be clear on what you have achieved, give examples about the difference you have made i.e. increased number of customers, improved service, won a company award etc.  However be honest, if you put it in your CV expect to be asked a question!
  • Avoid any gaps in your CV – if you weren’t working for any period of time just state why
  • Get someone to check it for you so that there are no mistakes and to make sure that all your positives stand out!
  • Once done make sure you save it and keep it up to date. No-one wants to re-write it again
  • If you are posting your CV online, make sure that the first page has clear job titles, skills and experiences. Think of these as ‘key words’ so that recruiters will find the right information quickly
  • Think about the design.  We have no strong recommendations on this other than:
    • Keep to no more than 2 pages
    • Don’t overfill the pages
    • Don’t make the font size too small
    • Put your name and contact details at the top of the first page
    • What you need to include:
      • Name, address and contact details
      • A short summary or personal profile which is a summary of what you can do
      • Where you have worked, your job title and dates
      • Any training and work qualifications that you have
      • Education and qualifications
      • People sometimes like to finish with personal details about themselves however this is not necessary

If you feel like you need some more help and ideas about writing a CV then we would suggest that you look at some of the job sites who provide free templates which you can easily download.  Our suggestions would be:

Monster   Totaljobs  Reed  National Careers Centre

Prepare before the interview

Before the interview you should do some preparation:

  • Read the job details and think about how your skills and achievements match what is needed
  • Think about the questions that you might be asked and prepare some answers that will show what you can do and where you have been successful – the more specific the better
  • Make sure you have a good look through this site and the main Northgate websites so that you have an understanding of what we do.  It would be good to take a look at our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts too
  • Prepare the questions that help you decide if Northgate is the place for you – you can write them down so you don’t forget to ask them!
  • Remember that first impressions count – you won’t get another chance to impress

Nailing the telephone interview

If you are invited to have a telephone chat and / or interview with our team, remember:

  • Find somewhere quiet where you can speak freely and concentrate on the interview. If you are driving pull over so that you can give your 100% attention
  • If you’re using your mobile make sure it’s fully charged and receiving good signal
  • Have your CV to hand the interviewer will be asking you questions about it
  • Make sure you’ve asked all the questions you have so you know if you want to continue to the next stage if asked
  • Treat a telephone interview or chat as you would any face to face interview.  Decisions will be made on whether or not you progress to the next stage

Face to face interview tips

Then we have the face to face interview…

  • Plan to be slightly early so you can be relaxed and unflustered
  • If you are going to be late then call the resourcing team on 01952 212566 as soon as you know so that we can let people know or make new arrangements
  • Take everything you might need such as a notebook, pen and a copy of your CV
  • Be friendly to everyone you meet – people recruit people they like and who they can see fitting in to their team
  • You can always ask us about the dress code before you go, but if in doubt – go smart!
  • Remember to smile!  Interviews are never fatal and can be satisfying if you relax. Try and avoid showing signs of nervousness such as fidgeting, drumming of fingers etc.
  • At the end of the interview smile (again!), shake hands and say something positive ‘I look forward to hearing from you’.  Check that you have asked all your questions, if you don’t know already ask what the next steps will be