In this section, you will helpful resources that offer you advice and guidance in regards to interviews, CV writing and social media.
Interviews make everyone slightly nervous. But, with this clear list of hints and tips, you’ll be well-equipped to impress the bosses and potentially get the job.
Research the organisation
Most interviews will include a few questions about the organisation so make sure you’ve done your homework. Most candidates will have read the ‘about us’ section on the homepage so go a little deeper and find out about what the organisation has planned for the future. Understanding the company will also help you explain why you want to work there.
Read the news
It’s quite common for interviewers to ask you whether you’ve read anything in the news recently that would impact on the work the organisation does. Be prepared by reading a few relevant articles and picking out stories relevant to the sector you’re applying for.
Find out about the interview
Find out as much as you can about the style of the interview before it happens. How many people will be interviewing you? Who are they? Knowing these things will help you prepare and feel more relaxed on the day.
It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an interview. Be smart and pay attention to detail by making sure you iron your shirt, wear smart shoes, wear subtle accessories etc.
Ask good questions
At the end of the interview, you’ll most likely be asked whether you have any questions. Make sure you are prepared for this by asking questions that also offer up some new information about yourself at the same time. For example, saying ‘I’m a keen runner, do you have any sports facilities on site?’ is far more effective than simply asking if there’s a staff gym.
Be self aware
Think about your body language and the way you’re coming across on the day. Greet each interviewer individually, be positive, smile and make eye contact. This will make everyone feel more relaxed!
Fill the silence
Interviewers will often pause once they think you have finished giving your answer to see whether you will keep talking to avoid silence. Answer the question fully and to the best of your ability and then stop. Don’t be drawn into carrying on as you will dilute your original answer.
The thing with telling a few white lies is that they always get found out in the end. Be honest and build a strong reputation for yourself as someone who always tells the truth and can be relied on.
Take your letter of application and CV with you so you look prepared. If you’re worried about forgetting things or not getting your point across, take a few bullet points on reminder cards to help jog your memory if you get a bit stuck.
Talk too much
Answer all the questions fully but make sure you are not talking so much that you forget to listen. Listening carefully and understanding the questions properly will improve your answers.
First day at work
Nervous about starting a new job? Butterflies are completely normal but here are a few top tips to help you beat the jitters and create a good impression on your first day.
- A good night’s sleep
If late nights are a regular thing for you, try and get into a routine of going to bed early and getting up early before starting the job.
- Research is key
Find out as much as you can about the organisation before you start. This will make you feel more confident about asking questions as you’ll feel reassured that you’re not asking something really obvious!
- Practice makes perfect
Work out how you’ll get to the office on your first day and practice your route the day before. That way you’ll be sure to turn up on time.
- Eat well
Have a good breakfast on the morning of your first day and take a packed lunch with you. You may be taken out for lunch but it’s best to be prepared so you don’t end up going hungry.
- Dress code
Take note of what people are wearing in the office when you interview and dress for your first day based on that. If in doubt, it’s always best to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Time is of the essence
Arriving early each day and staying a little later than expected shows that you’re hardworking and keen to impress.
- Take notes
Day 1 is basically an information overload. Make sure you take a notepad and pen with you to jot down as much as you can to avoid feeling totally swamped a week down the line. This is also a good technique for remembering people’s names.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Asking questions shows that you’re keen to learn and makes sure you fully understand what’s being asked of you.
Starting your first day with a positive attitude, being friendly and smiling at everyone you meet will immediately help people to warm to you. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible and remember to thank those who have helped you.
- Avoid office politics
All offices have their own individual cultures, and as part of that, their own politics. It can be tempting to join in with office gossip to fit in but try to find other common ground rather than getting involved.
- Find a buddy
Make friends with someone who seems to know the office inside and out so you can learn any workplace quirks from them.
- Meet the boss
Set up an early meeting with your line manager to find out what excellence looks like and then keep them informed of all your progress. Make sure you don’t overload them though. Find out how often they want to be updated and stick to that, unless you have any burning questions.
- Take initiative
Don’t always wait to be told what to do. If you can see that something needs doing and you know how to do it, go for it!
- Don’t be yourself straight away
This may seem odd advice but waiting until you’ve properly settled in to be yourself can help you to fit in. If you’re particularly talkative for example, try and be a bit quieter until people know you a little better.
- Be confident!
You got the job so you’re definitely capable of doing it. Believe in yourself, work hard and you’ll be just fine!
Finding a work placement
Most job applications will ask what experience you have, so finding yourself a work placement is a great place to start on the path to getting your dream job.
Why should I do a work placement?
- Find out what the job is really like. The good, the bad, and the ugly. This will help you work out if it’s really the job for you.
- They can help you to get your foot in the door. It’s an opportunity to show the company what you’re capable of and you might end up with a job as a result.
- Meet people in the industry. Even if you don’t get a job out of it, you’ll get to meet new people which could lead to a job in the future.
- They look great on your CV and show that you’re dedicated and invested in joining that particular sector.
- Learn new skills that will help you in whatever you choose to do in the future.
So now you’re convinced it’s a good idea, how do you go about getting work experience?
- Visit the IHEEM work experience opportunity page to see what our company affiliates offer
- Ask your friends
- Use search engines, careers services, and specialist work placement websites
- Apply as soon as the position opens. If you’re approaching a company for experience rather than applying for a formal work placement, get in touch well before you want to start
- Adapt your CV and application for every placement you apply for
- Find out if the industry you want to get into has any big events coming up that you can go to. For example, CEOs often speak at events that are open to the public. This is a great way to meet other people in the industry and get some contacts
- Always apply for lots of placements at the same time rather than putting all your eggs in one basket
- Be creative and pro-active. Call people instead of sending emails, find an individual to speak to, and spend time on your application to make it interesting.
CV Top Tips
We’ve all been taught how to write a CV at some point in our lives but it can still be really hard to get it right. Follow the top tips below to make sure your CV is working hard for you.
- Choose your template: There are hundreds of templates available online so it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Go for one that is tailored to your situation to make your CV as relevant as possible. For example, if you have been out of work for a while, go for a template designed for people who have had gaps in employment. Make sure you also choose a simple design to make it easier to read and keep the focus on you and your experience.
- Match your CV to the job: Employers can spot ‘one size fits all’ CVs a mile off so make sure yours stands out by tailoring your CV to fit the job you’re applying for. Pick out the required skills listed in the job description and adapt your examples.
- Length and presentation: A good CV is never longer than two sides of A4. If yours is longer than this, cut out the information that isn’t relevant. Don’t forget to leave a space between sections and don’t use a font size smaller than 11. Knowing that people can read it is important!
- Check, check, and check again: Grammar and spelling right are really important so read your CV a few times to make sure there are no mistakes. Why not ask someone else to read over it too? A fresh pair of eyes will often spot things you’ve missed.
- Try not to be shy: Your CV is your opportunity to show what you’re capable of and convince your prospective employer that you’re right for the job. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet, as everyone else will be blowing theirs.
- Personal statement: Your personal statement is an opportunity to personalise your CV. You should briefly summarise what you have achieved in the past, what you hope to achieve in the future, and how the job you’re applying for fits into that plan.
- Give examples: Most of us are guilty of having written a CV full of buzzwords like ‘teamwork’ and ‘communication skills’ without explaining what we mean by them. Anyone can say they are organised so make sure you give an example to demonstrate how you stand out from the crowd.
- Be concise: Employers receive tens, if not hundreds, of applications for every job they advertise so make sure your CV is as quick and easy to read. Use simple language that gets your point across. Using too many words will make you seem unsure of yourself.
- The digital age: In an increasingly digital age, it’s important that your CV works online as well as on paper. Many employers now use keyword searches to see how relevant your CV is to the job, so pick out the most important words from the job description and use them. Once you’ve finished, save the document as your name so that it is easier for people to find.
- The power of Google: The first thing most prospective employers will do after reading your CV is Google you. Make sure your social media profiles are private and photos of your last big night out are hidden! Also, if you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure your CV matches it so that you appear consistent.