Career tips

Here are tips on Dos and Don'ts in areas like salary negotiation, your first days at a new job and jobhunting.

Four simple steps to hone your interview skills

by Heather Porter Senior Associate Practice Leader at Charles Aris Inc. InterSearch member firm in the USA

Interviewing is difficult – especially when you don’t spend much of your time doing it. When people ask you to tell them about yourself and your career, it can be tough to know where to begin, what to share and what’s going to be most relevant to them.

Striking the proper balance between style and substance is key to a successful interview. You’ve accomplished a lot and you might want to share all the details. Conversely, you might not remember all the details … and end up sharing too few.

As an executive search team, we interviewed more than 3,000 candidates in 2017. Here are a few tips from us to help you more effectively describe your background to hiring authorities:

  1. Words tell; numbers sell. The most important message that you want to convey is what you accomplished during each step of your career progression. Hiring authorities want to know whether you did what you were hired to do.

Questions you should answer when discussing each step of your career path:

  • What were you charged with doing?
  • What were your top three responsibilities?
  • How did you specifically accomplish X, Y and Z?
  • To whom did you directly report?
  • Did you have a team? If so, how big? Did you hire the individuals on that team?
  • Why did you decide to join your current or most recent organization?
  1. Nowadays, hardly anything in the workplace is done alone – but this is your chance to brag (responsibly). What did you individually contribute? The team is important, but remember: The organization isn’t hiring a team; it’s hiring you!
  1. When asked a specific question, it’s best to answer first. It can be hard not to provide context, but go ahead and give a direct answer and provide clarity as concisely as possible.
  1. Be succinct. We can’t overstress the importance of this. As you’re walking through your background, make sure you’re giving enough detail to showcase your expertise … but not so much that you don’t have time to talk about everything your interviewer wants to discuss.

The executive interview can be intimidating, but with the right preparation and mind-set, you can excel at one of the more challenging elements of the hiring process.

Original Source: USA - Charles Aris Inc.

4 CV Tips You Should Always Give to Your Candidates

The job market is extremely competitive and so, CV’s have to be an enjoyable read, whereby recruiters and employers can extract the information they need quickly.

Getting this right will provide candidates with responses from employers and many interview opportunities. Here are 4 key tips you should always give to your candidates.

1. Keep it Simple

While candidates might think that a complicated looking CV will earn them points with employers as it makes them look sophisticated and clever, it is not necessarily true. Like many things in life, a CV has to be simple. Employers and recruiters for that matter do not want to spend hours trawling through CV’s in order to find what they need. They want CV’s that are quick and punchy, easy to understand and to the point. Therefore, make sure they keep the design and font clean and simple and consider the content more than the style itself because this is what will sell the candidate.

In fact, tell them to forget adding in designs, photos, and logos in an attempt to get them noticed. While it will get them noticed, it will be for all the wrong reasons. The idea of a CV is to showcase your skills, abilities, experience, and qualifications. There is nothing more to it than that.

2. Deliver a Reading Experience that is Pleasant

It is important to remember that your candidates are more than likely not going to be the only one applying for jobs. So, their CV is going to be up against tens or hundreds of CV’s at a time. Those individuals who are in charge of the hiring will have experience of reading many CV’s, so they know what they are looking for and they know what works. This means that they need to keep it simple to read so they can deliver their message in a clear and concise way.

To achieve this successfully, candidates should consider dividing your CV up into sections that are identifiable and will make employers want to read more. This also enables you to gain their attention in the areas that matter. The text has to be clear, so avoid large blocks of text, as that will not entice employers to consider your candidates. Break it up into manageable chunks because that way, they will be able to digest the information easily. When it comes to roles, head them up with bold titles so that they stand out, you need them to stand out because you need them to know what roles you have undertaken.

3. Keep it Looking Professional

In the world of employment, professionalism counts for a lot. Your CV is your way of showing potential employers who you are, what you do and how you can benefit them and so, you need to portray a professional image. If you have an email address that has followed you from your school days then it is not wise to use it on your CV, especially if it is an unprofessional looking email. Create a free and professional looking email that is straight to the point with no fuss.

While candidates are keen to tell employers all about themselves, now is not the time to start using an informal tone. Keep everything formal, informative and to the point and deliver it in a way that is punchy. This will enable employers to get a real feel for who they are without having to wade through too much pointless information.

What use is a CV if it is full of errors? It will become difficult for them to read, it will show employers that candidates have not paid attention to it and it will show them that they are careless. This is their chance to shine so proofread their CV, proofread it again and then pass it on to someone else to proofread. Make sure they root out any spelling and grammar errors because you really want to reduce the chances of employers casting their CV aside.

4. Use the Space Wisely

As mentioned, CV’s have to be short, sharp and punchy. This will enable candidates to communicate their values to readers quickly and efficiently, therefore, they should consider keeping their CV under two pages in length with minimal wasted space.

To achieve this, they should consider altering the margins of their CV so that you can fit more content onto each page. This makes it possible to maximize the space and make it easier for you to fill the space while keeping it under two pages.

Making good use of the space is not about filling it with superfluous information such as their Date of Birth. Employers do not need to know this at this point, making it irrelevant.

Finally, if they have many past roles and find that they are struggling to stick to the two-page rule, consider summarising the older roles. Essentially, the more recent roles will need more space for more information so consider turning older roles in shorter summaries.

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