There is a wealth of advice out there when it comes to CV writing. A google search will reveal literally hundreds of pages of advice on how to create a killer CV that will wow potential employees. Yet time and again, job applicants make the mistake of writing a CV that gets all the right attention from the employer, only to flush it all away when they get to the interview stage.
Here are some tips for making sure you don’t fall into a trap of your own making and that the interviewer will be just as impressed with the real thing as with the impression you created on paper.
Take a copy with you
What can be worse than sitting opposite an interviewer as they look at your CV, being asked a question and responding with a blank stare as you try to read whatever it is they are referring to upside down? This might be described by some as a paperless age, but invest in a printer, log on to Printer Inks to get some cartridges for it and take a copy with you. In fact, take two, just in case. If nothing else, it will give you something to do with your hands.
Have some ready-made examples
Your CV is what has got you to interview, but if you’ve followed the advice that everyone gives, it only touches briefly on the key points to pique the employer’s interest. Be prepared to expand upon each and every point you have made with some real-world examples. Able to work under your own initiative? Prove it – tell the story about the decision you had to make when the boss was unavailable. Accustomed to working to tight time frames? Give examples. Great team player? Describe a project you worked on, and how you contributed your skills to complement those of others. Chances are, your CV is not full of clichés like that or you would never have been invited to interview in the first place, but you get the idea.
Don’t get caught in a lie
It’s natural, and indeed advisable, to craft your CV to meet the requirements of the job, but some people take it to extremes. The above note regarding examples is particularly important here. By running through each point in your CV and making sure you can back up those claims, you are less at risk of being caught out.
Be ready to talk about the negatives
A wise man once said “if in doubt, you can always fall back on the truth.” If you are lacking some areas of expertise that are useful for the job, it is better to have these in mind as aspects you would like to develop than to pretend to be something you are not. For example, perhaps you have no man-management experience. Employers will be more positive towards someone who acknowledges this is something they want and need to develop than with someone who tries to bluff their way through an interview.