During such harsh unemployment conditions, kindly find below my 2 cent personal advise on the CV structure, application and handling interviews:-
1. Keep it simple, short and easy to read.
2. Customize every CV, placing focus on the profile of the job you applying for. Read the Requirements and job profile then structure your CV in a manner that addresses it by bringing up relevant experience upfront.
3. A panel goes through thousands of CVs, don't make them look for your relevant experience. Remember, you have the obligation to sell yourself.
4. Give accurate information and the dates on your work experience must follow a structured sequence. The panel must not be in a position where it has to assume things about your CV or what you meant.
5. Ensure that all your work experiences have a start and end date coz without that the panel won't know how many years of experience you have. People make a mistake of saying 2006 - 2007, this doesn't prove that you have two years experience coz it could just be December 2006 - January 2007. Have at least a month and a year clearly indicated.
6. Detail your duties or key responsibility areas. Dont just use post titles only coz an Administrator in one company may be responsible for something totally different to the responsibility of an administrator in another company, detail your experience in each post focusing on what is relevant to the position you applying for as per job profile.
7. Ensure application forms are signed and always deliver your application on time and keep it neat with an application form on top, Motivation letter (where applicable), CV, certified ID copy then all certified copies of qualifications.
Pre-Interview - Research
1. Research about the company and the post you have been shortlisted for. Check the job profile and consider what role it has in a company and what challenges the work itself may possible present.
2. Arrive early for the interview just to ease yourself and have a moment to just read the vision and mission of the Department and company (these would normally be at the reception pasted). If you have enough time, ask around about what the job entails, if possible find someone who does the job and just have a conversation with them to get an idea (if they are kind enough they will assist you).
*Interview date (pre-interview - Managing perceptions).
3. Dress appropriately- remember first impressions last. So, dark colours make you bright. You don't want the attention of the panel to be on anything else except you. Do not dress to kill, they may focus more on your clothes and not you. Don't be half naked, they may focus on your body more. Neither of this is good.
4. As you walk in, walk confidently with a simple smile (not too much but just enough to bring life to the room). Remember the point about first impressions. Also remember the importance of perceptions. Panel members are human beings as a result they are victims of perceptual biases - this means that they may conclude (subconsciously) as you walk in that this is our person or nope 👎. This however doesn't make it the end, you may still blow their minds or you may still disappoint them.
5. Have manners, greet them and wait to be offered a sit. After you seat down say "thank you and seat up straight with your hands NOT folded, advisably keep than on your chair or if you put them on the table don't lean on them. Keep your face visible so that they can see you clearly.
*During the interview
6. Listen carefully to all the preamble. Seek clarity where you are unsure. Ease up, have a glass of water when offered. Seek clarity on the process if you really have to (just one question if you really have to, avoid too many questions coz it may become annoying). Thank them for the opportunity before you start answering the questions.
7. Listen to the questions carefully, and if you not clear ask for clarity but then again don't do it too much coz it may appear to be a delay tactic which could imply that you came unprepared.
8. When answering questions, BE DETAILED. Don't assume that people understand coz some things are obvious - nothing is obvious to the panel. If you don't say it you get no point for it. Answer step by step, don't jump all over. Where a scenario is asked for, give a scenario and if you don't have one that is related create it.
9. Use one language consistently, if answering in English try not to mix it with other languages, it just makes you look causal not taking the panel serious. With most interviews conducted in English, use the simplest of English possible. Avoid use bombastic words, avoid twanging and avoid using slang words.
10. Remain calm yet confident(remember there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance, avoid appearing arrogance and Mr or Ms know it all), keep an eye contact and that smile🙂. Have some sense of humor but remain focused and professional. Have that sip of water to calm your nerves when you feel the need.
11. When given an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview, ask about opportunity to further your studies, take them through their own vision, place your interest on one or two aspects of it and ask for platforms to enrich means towards achieving that vision. This shows both interest in your growth and in the company's success.
12. Appreciate the opportunity, appreciate their time and wish them a great day.
Hope this assists someone.
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