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Tips and tricks for a successful interview

Congratulations, you’ve been invited in for an interview! Something about your RESUME and the way you have presented yourself has felt like a good enough ‘fit’ to get you through the door.

Here’s the most important thing to remember before you go through that door – they want it to be you! They want to know their search is over, so for the length of the interview, the job is yours. So know that those first impressions are incredibly important.

Your first responsibility as the interviewee is to show yourself as a person. Why? Because they want to know if they will like you, if you’re someone they could spend working time with, if you’re a good fit with the other people in the company. The following guidelines will help you overcome any interview nerves and instill confidence for a productive meeting with your potential employer.

How to write a great cover letter for your resume

Treat your resume cover letter as a vital part of your personal marketing literature, which merits attention and consideration. A cover letter introduces you and your resume, and is your first chance to make a good impression. Aim to make it entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other applicants.

An interview winning cover letter can differentiate your resume. Make sure yours stands out.

Following nine key steps, you should…

research the organisation to learn about their business design a professional, visually appealing
attractive format study the job profile / ad to gain insight into the role
draw on your resume for key points / expertise matching the role include examples that
demonstrate initiative, enthusiasm and quantified results make clear what you have to offer that
would benefit the company include just sufficient information to encourage recruiters to want to
learn more
stay away from platitudes (like hardworking, etc) your cover letter should not exceed 1 page
Aim to make it entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other
applicants

Sample Cover Letter – Structure

Your contact information

The heading of the letter should include your full postal and email address, and phone number(s)

Employer or Agency contact information

Name and job title of recipient (if known)

Company name and full address

Date your letter

Salutation

Dear Mr or Mrs (ideally address your letter to a named person)

Dear Sir or Madam (only if you cannot find out the recipient’s name)

Subject

If applying for an advertised position, insert job title and reference.

First paragraph

The first paragraph of your cover letter should express your interest in the position, and indicate why the role is particularly attractive to you. Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organisation or job applied for.

Second paragraph

Introduce your RESUME and briefly summarise your strengths – qualifications and / or experience in or knowledge of the company’s market sector. This demonstrates you have properly read the advert and have done some research into the organisation. Tell them why you are interested in them as an employer.

Introduce your RESUME and briefly summarise your strengths – qualifications and / or experience in or knowledge of the company’s market sector. This demonstrates you have properly read the advert and have done some research into the organisation. Tell them why you are interested in them as an employer.

Third paragraph

This paragraph should draw attention to the most relevant aspects of your career – making strong connections between your skills that dovetail with their requirements. Succinctly emphasise why the employer may want to meet and employ you. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility; what you can contribute; and what makes you different. Mention personality traits relevant to the role applied for, taking care not to appear too subjective. Ensure the letter flows freely however, and does not slavishly match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.

Fourth paragraph

This could briefly refer to experience and achievements in your earlier career, but only if relevant to the job description

Final paragraph

Express confidence in your ability to contribute to the success of the company, and indicate that you look forward to taking your application a step further at interview.

Complimentary close

Yours sincerely (if you know the recipient’s name)

Yours faithfully (if you do not know the recipient’s name)

Tips on How to Write a Resume

Want to make your resume shine? Here’s how to put together a resume that’ll impress any company. Here are some steps, tips and warnings… more

TIPS: How to write a great RESUME

Your resume will in most cases, be the first impression a recruitment consultant or employer has of you. In a competitive market, you need a good resume to succeed in securing a job. It’s the first step in the recruitment process so spend some time getting it right.

A good cover letter should always accompany your resume. Your resume and cover letter should combine to create a picture of you and your career-to-date and illustrate why you are different from the competition! With this successfully achieved (and a bit of luck!) you will secure yourself a place on the shortlist.

Resume Structure

Personal Details

Start with your personal details. Full name and contact details including all useable telephone numbers. Avoid superfluous details such as religious affiliation, children’s names etc. Include language skills, professional memberships and military service if relevant.

Education

Educational history and professional qualifications should follow, including names of institutions and dates attended. List these in reverse order, beginning with your tertiary qualifications, as they are more relevant for a potential employer. List secondary school results (these details will matter more if you have recently entered the job market, than if for example you left full time education 20 years ago). Include computer skills and any other recent training / development that is relevant to the role you are applying for. Time spent abroad or work placements attended as part of your degree or diploma should be mentioned.

Career Details / Core strengths and skills

Briefly specify what you are looking for in your next position: Required Position, Position Type (contract or permanent), Last / Current Salary, Availability and Career Objectives. Include a list of your core strengths and skills.

Work Experience

The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological RESUME. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with your most recent position. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis / information should be put on more recent jobs.

A functional RESUME can sometimes be more appropriate, for example if you have held a number of unrelated jobs. This presentation emphasises key skills that can be grouped together under suitable headings. However, career progression and the nature of jobs held can be unclear with this type of RESUME.

Identify the contribution you made – Rather than just stating a list of duties you had, think about ways of demonstrating success in a particular role. Mention your achievements at work and any concrete results you achieved (in measurable terms if possible). For example, rather than writing, “designed company’s web site,” you could say, “designed company’s web site, which increased company’s overall product sales by 50 percent.”

Rather than writing, “designed company’s web site,” you could say, “designed company’s web site, which increased company’s overall product sales by 50 percent.”

References

References can be listed or simply be ‘Available on Request’