Job Interview Pointers for 2016

You spend a lot of time and energy getting an interview. To give yourself the best chance of success there are some basic pointers that you should seriously consider.

tough job interview questions

Research your company 

You will be asked by the person interviewing you what you know about the company. Five minutes basic research will give you a good foundation and confidence in the interview to speak with authority about the company.

Think of some questions you want to ask 

It shows you’re serious if you have thought of some insightful questions about the job before hand. If you can’t remember these, that’s fine, write them down and ask them at the end. Usually you’ll be asked if you have any questions at the end of the interview. Use them to make you look good: Don’t ask about the pay, the hours of work or benefits. Make the questions about the job.

You might also like: How to Find Work After Leaving School

Don’t be late 

Arriving at 11.59 for a 12:00 appointment isn’t late, but it doesn’t give you the best chance of success. Why? Because you are flustered, sweaty and rushing if you arrived one minute before your appointment time. Getting there 15 minutes before hand, relaxing, practicing a few questions in your head and then going in is the ideal preparation. If you’re interviewing in a busy city area, it’s often tough to find the correct address and floor, so allow for that too.

Handling the Tough Job Interview Questions:  

What are your weaknesses?  

Try to focus on something not critical to the job. Not something that shows you’re a bad team player. If the company has a system you haven’t used you can let them know, but then turn it around into a positive by saying “however I have used a wide variety of systems in my career and I’ve always been a quick learner with each of them, so this won’t be an issue for me”. This is a sneaky way of turning the weakness question into a positive.

“Tell me about a time when you…” 

Interviewers ask behavioral questions to understand how you worked or reacted to situations in the past that are similar to what you will face in their job. You need to answer them in a deliberate way. Here is the formula – Describe where it happened / describe what you personally did / describe what the outcome was.

Eg. Can you tell me about a time that you were under pressure at work and how you handled it?

Well that happened regularly at my last job with XYZ Co. One particular situation was a day in September when a major tender was due, and I was responsible for coordinating this. We were running behind due to a late change in the requirements, so I had to coordinate between the accounting, marketing and sales departments to get the documentation completed by 5 pm. It was very stressful, however I regularly checked with each department head, called in support from another office and created a checklist to monitor progress throughout the day. We made the deadline by 30 minutes to spare and it was a great relief all around.

Do yourself a favour and just don’t be late, flustered and sweaty. That’s the best way to ensure you get off on the right foot. Add some research to the mix and you’re cooking with gas – good luck and happy job hunting!

How to write a great resume that gets results

We all understand the importance of writing a great resume, some more than others. Your resume is the only thing standing between you and the job interview you want. Yet given this fact people regularly submit half hearted resumes to jobs they apparently care about. Wishing and hoping for the job of your dreams is pointless, write a great resume and you can have it.

resume writing guide

You can write your own resume or have professionals handle it for you. If you have the money, we recommend going with a professional every time, however we will cover both in this post.

Professional Resume Writing Services  

The costs of using a professional can be anywhere from $50 to $1500, it depends on a variety of factors. The benefits are that you will have industry experts write a unique document for you, you will save hours of your own time and typically providers offer a guarantee on their work to get you interviews.

Finding a good company to partner with can be hard. There are many resume writing services reviews available that can assist you, we won’t go over that here, but we will advise on the following:

  • Choose a company that is established and has a proven background of success
  • Find a company that connects you directly with your resume writer
  • Find a resume writing service that offers a guarantee (usually an interview guarantee)
  • Don’t just choose on price – paying $200 + for something so important is worth it

Writing your own resume could take four hours or (lots) more with editing, revising and proofreading. So although it’s a free option you will spend a lot of your own time and energy with the document – so just consider this when making the call about using a pro.

Do it Yourself – The Elements of a Great Resume

Understanding how to write an effective resume is essential to your chances of getting interviews > a job > career progression > more money…so don’t cut corners.

Resume Length 

You have seven seconds to impress a recruiter with your resume. Layout, length and appearance are essential to your chances. Make the length one page if you are a graduate or have 1-2 years work experience. Keep it under two pages unless you are an executive with 10 years experience or more that can’t be condensed down.

The Opening | Objective Statement

There is some debate over this subject, however it’s a good idea to have an objective statement that summarizes your experience in a succinct and professional manner and lets employers know what you’re looking for. Keep it under three sentences and the convention here is to write in the third person. Yes, write about yourself using your name from someone else perspective.

Employment Section 

Reverse chronological order (most recent job first) is a must. For a current job use present tense to describe your responsibilities and past tense to describe your past jobs responsibilities. Start each line with a verb. A good guide is ‘ing verbs.

Eg. Managing a team of outbound call center specialists focused on customer retention. The same example in a past job would be – Managed a team of….

Start with the most important tasks first, leave out filler and keep it to the important stuff.

Resume Achievements Section

You have two options here. One is to create a separate achievements sections, the other is to include them under each job. If you do the later, simply start with responsibilities, then list achievements separately underneath. Give them a sub header to distinguish them for the reader.

The Order 

1 Opening statement (optional)

2 Employment in reverse order (students with limited work experience should place education here)

3 Education

4 Skills | Technical Skills | Systems

5 Interests (optional)

6 References (you don’t need to list their contact details here. Also check with your referees to see if they’re happy to provide you with a GOOD reference before listing them)

Cover Letter 

The resume is the most important element. The cover letter is still important, but recruiters will not generally read this document. If you are applying direct to companies you will need one though. We will deal with cover letters and other job hunting essentials in some future posts. A good resume is step one, and all you need for now.

How to find work after leaving school

When you graduate from high school or university it’s an exciting time of your life. Work, travel and the rest of your life are in front of you, but one thing new graduates all have in common is that they have very little work experience and usually no money.

finding a graduate job

Finding Work After School 

Whether you are moving into a career job or just working to save in any job you can find you will need to give yourself the best chance of success. You can do this in any number of ways:

Prepare a professional resume:   

This is the main challenge you are going to be faced with. The best advice here is to write a one page resume that summarizes your education and professional experience (in reverse order – most recent job first) and any technical skills you have. Basically 3 sections with your name, email, phone number and address at the top. We will cover more on resume writing tips in future posts.


Use your networks to find work

Once you’ve written your resume use the people you know to find work. This is how most people find work around the world. You don’t have to be rubbing shoulders with high society and attending industry events to network, emailing and calling people is networking. Just let friends, cousins and schoolmates know what you’re looking for and send them your resume. Ask if they can send it to their HR department or find out if their company is hiring.

Use recruiters to assist your employment search

Finding a good general recruiter can be a good idea, you can find a company that just works locally or global recruiters – both have their benefits. Recruiters are great for assisting job seekers to find employment. Graduates are difficult for them to work with though as they have little to no experience, making it tougher for recruiters to ‘sell’ to their clients. However, graduates can get temporary office jobs and build up basic experience with these kinds of jobs. Just be flexible, have a great attitude and openness to work in any area and you’ll be an attractive prospect. Don’t be picky on the salary at this stage. Just get started. Any experience is good experience at this stage of the game.

This is a quick summary of the best first steps you can take to find work straight after leaving school. A positive attitude, persistence and a decent resume is all you need to get your first job.