Your resume should be easy to read. Your prospective employer should find it easy to extract the relevant information. Your resume should be no more than two to three pages long — the purpose of the resume is not to get you a job; it’s to get you an interview, so make it snappy and punchy. The interview is your chance to go into detail with your prospective employer, not your resume! To help you with this, try to use bullet points where applicable to and keep the statements short and to the point.
Make sure you use the keywords which appear in the job description as this will make the job of matching your resume to the position a lot easier. If you’re including qualities and strengths about yourself, it’s best to back these up with examples of how you demonstrate this day to day.
Proofread your resume twice. Print it out on paper; don’t check it on the screen. Look at every individual word on its own to make sure the spelling is correct. If in doubt, look it up. Candidates have been overlooked for less than a typo, so make sure you do the easiest part the best. If using numbers, one to nine is displayed in words and anything from 10 and above is displayed in numerals. Ensure your font is legible, for instance in Arial or Helvetica and make sure the font size is at least 10.
Include information that outlines what your long term professional goal is. This can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going and how you want to arrive there. You don’t need to have a special section devoted to your professional objectives, but overall the resume must communicate it. If you decide to list them, make sure they are not generic.
There are three essential parts to any resume; personal details, work history and references. Always include copies of your licenses, any other qualifications you hold and any supporting documentation.
Each section should contain the following details:
LinkedIn Profile URL:
Start & Finish date:
Reason for leaving:
(Note: it is acceptable to state “referees can be provided on request”)
The information included in a cover letter should be clear and concise and most importantly, relevant. Your letter should be easy to read and the information contained should be relevant and in response to the criteria stated in the advertisement.
Whilst you must tailor every letter to the advertisement you are responding to there is a basic template you can use which includes the following:
- The purpose of your letter
- Your previous experience addressing the technical criteria, including years of experience
- Your personal attributes relevant to the role
- What relevant material requirements you have
- Always include your availability and contact details
A cover letter should be addressed as requested, be typed, one page in length and be attached to your resume or any supporting documentation requested.
Tips for Cover Letters
- Be clear and concise
- Address all the criteria included in the job advertisement
- Guarantee there’s no grammatical mistakes or spelling errors
- Make sure the formatting of the letter is clean and neat
- Include your full contact details
Your ability to demonstrate your interest in the organisation and enthusiasm for the position you are targeting requires considerable research and preparation. There are some basic and effective ways to prepare for a successful interview. These include:
- Researching the company/organisation, their values and mission statement
- Match your strengths and attributes to the company profile
- Read the job description and memorise it
- Prepare to answer difficult questions in relation to your previous experiences, competence, abilities and knowledge
- Prepare questions to ask and list them so you don’t forget
Common Interview Questions
Here are some frequently asked interview questions. Read through them briefly and prepare quick notes for each:
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why did you leave your last position?
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Tell me what you know about the company?
- What skills and attributes can you offer the organisation?
- What is your most significant achievement?
- Describe the sort of culture you are looking for in an organisation?
- What is your expected salary?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why haven’t you found a position before now?
- What is your ideal role?
- How would you evaluate your present/last company?
- What do you think of your current/previous boss?
- Do you work better in a team environment or own your own? Why?
Remember: When you are in an interview, the interviewer is usually interested in the following:
- Can you do whatever he/she wants done?
- Will you solve her/his problems? Are you motivated enough to do that?
- How well do you fit in with the organisation?
Behavioural Based Questions
A job interview is designed so an organisation can gather further information about your skills and experiences in relation to a particular role. In addition to the commonly asked questions, companies are now asking behavioural based questions that focus on your past experiences.
The questions may be based on your past performance, hypothetical problem solving scenarios, case studies, demonstrated interest in the job, knowledge of the organisation and industry, or professional ethics and values. Examples include:
- Accountability & Performance
Describe a time when you took on additional work to help your team meet a crucial work goal?
- Analytical Ability
Have you ever been in a real dilemma at work? What did you do to get out of it?
- Attention to Detail
Give me an example of an assignment that you found difficult to finish? How did you go about it?
Tell me about a time when you delegated a project/job/task effectively?
- Conflict Management
Describe a time when you had a disagreement with a colleague at work. How did you manage to work it out?
- Customer Service
What is your definition of "excellent" client/customer service? Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty to help a client/customer?
- Decision Making
Describe one of the most difficult decisions you have had to make in the workplace. How did you overcome some of the hardships? What alternatives did you consider? What were the key elements that triggered your decision?
Answering 'difficult' questions
If you have had a negative experience with an employer (retrenchment or redundancy, sexual harassment, or clashes with colleagues), prepare to be asked about them in job interviews. The best strategy is to be honest, positive, and to avoid criticising former employers or expressing grudges.
"I was asked to leave that company. The grounds my employers gave were dissatisfaction with my performance / attitude...
"but I disagreed with their assessment and believe that the termination was based on personal differences rather than performance issues. If you check with my referees from other positions you will find that I have not had problems of a similar nature anywhere else and I am confident that they will not occur again."
"Unfortunately, that year I had some personal commitments that I had to deal with. I had to make a choice to focus on these commitments or on my job, and I chose to concentrate on personal commitments. Unfortunately, this did mean that my work suffered, but I am now able to fully commit myself to my work again and am confident that I will be able to meet your performance requirements"
Sexual harassment / personal clashes:
"I decided to leave because of some personal issues within the workplace which I would rather not discuss."
If legal proceedings took place: "There have been some legal proceedings regarding my position there and so for confidentiality reasons I would prefer not to discuss it."
If you are uncomfortable with any question, politely and professionally refuse to answer it or request clarification on its relevance to the position. Some suggestions are:
"I don't think we need to talk about this. I would rather focus on issues relevant to the position and the requirements of your organisation."
"I don't understand how this question is relevant to the position or my ability to perform in the role. Could you clarify for me why you think it is important, and I will try to provide you with the relevant information."
Preparing questions to ask in an interview
Typically an employer will ask you if you have any questions towards the end of the interview. This is a great opportunity to show your interest in the job and the company.
Doing your research and writing some questions down before the interview will ensure you don't get flustered and come up with something 'off the cuff'. We recommend writing down more than one as invariably some of them will be answered during the interview.
If all of your questions are answered, you could refer back to one of them to get some extra clarification, or simply say that the questions you had were covered by the interviewer.
Here are some questions to consider asking and ones not to ask:
- Show you've done your homework.
Example: "I read on the company website that employees have recently done presentations at XX conference. Is that a typical opportunity in the job for which I am interviewing? Are there specific professional organisations employees have been encouraged to join?"
- What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
- What are things your organisation has done recently to show how it values its employees?
- What are the organisation's/company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
- How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
- Do not ask questions that are clearly answered on the employer's website and/or in any literature provided by the employer to you in advance. This would simply reveal that you did not prepare for the interview, and you are wasting the employer's time by asking these questions.
- Never ask about salary and benefits issues until those subjects are raised by the employer.
Interview Tips and Etiquette
Bluestone would like you to take note of the following suggestions to help further your opportunities to obtain positive feedback and future permanent opportunities when attending an interview.
Remember first impressions last!
- Arrive at least 5-10 minutes early before your allocated interview time.
- Always attend each job interview appropriately dressed. A suit is always preferable within a corporate environment, otherwise appropriate clothing must be worn to suit the client.
- Introduce yourself to the receptionist or secretary.
- Be courteous and show respect to anyone you meet. More than one applicant has fallen short in their job application because of a rude remark or patronising manner at the reception desk.
- Make sure you give a firm and steady handshake upon meeting the interviewer. Everything from your appearance to your body language sends signals to interviewers about you and your fit in the company. They're looking for anything to distinguish you from the pack, so they will let the handshake set the tone for the rest of your meeting.
- Maintain an “open” body position and lean into the interviewer slightly to show interest.
- Look at the interviewer when making contact and talking. Direct eye contact is important.
- Maintain a warm and friendly demeanor and treat the interviewer like a potential colleague. Establish rapport as you would with a peer.
- Relax, be confident in your answers and remember that you can make a valuable contribution to the organisation.
Things to Avoid:
- Irritating habits like chewing gum, staring outside the room or on the floor, drinking coffee during your interview.
- Avoid playing with your hair, pen clicking, pencil tapping, foot swinging.
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Being made redundant is very demoralising and can be a traumatic experience. Whether it is unexpected or foreseen, it can affect your mental and physical health.p>
It is important to know that there are many avenues of support for you if you have been made redundant. The average worker will experience redundancy during their working life, so you are certainly not alone.
We've come up with a guide that should help you manage this situation.
http://bluestonerecruitment.com.au/media/bluestone/Bluestone Recruitment_Redundancy guide.pdf