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Your CV (Curriculum Vitae)

First step in getting the job you want is getting your CV right! A better CV means more Interviews, guaranteed...

Free CV Template

This Free CV Template is available for you to use free of charge. Simply copy and paste the below CV Template into a word document, follow our guidelines and amend it to add your own personal information. That’s it you’re then ready to go get that job you REALLY want.

CV Template (Curriculum Vitae) starts below;


Your Name

0400 000 000

99 Example Street, Example Town, Postcode Example SW7 8HJ


Your personal statement is perhaps the single most important part of you CV. Get it wrong and your chances of being invited to interview are drastically reduced.

Its aim is to highlight your professional attributes and goals, summarising why someone should consider your application and your career objectives.


Job Title Company Name – Location Dates of Employment

Key Achievements:
  • Provide a list of the key achievements you have made in your job

  • Try to show evidence such as percentage increases or financial figures

Key Skills Gained:

  • Show that you have the relevant knowledge required to succeed

  • Include computer software or skills you have used during this period

  • Key Point: Use Keywords that you think employers will search for

Job Title Company Name – Location Dates of Employment

Key Achievements:
  • Try to avoid cliché phrases that don’t differentiate you

  • Always tailor your CV for each job application

Key Skills Gained:

  • Avoid abbreviations that may not be known to your potential employers

  • Always remember to get your CV checked by at least two people

Job Title Company Name – Location Dates of Employment

Key Achievements:
  • Consider contacting your old manager if you can’t remember what you accomplished in the role

Key Skills:

  • If something isn’t relevant, don’t be scared to leave it out


  • University Name

Location – Course Title – Grade – Date

  • High School Name

Location – Course Title – Grade - Date

  • Explain how your course helped you develop your knowledge in the areas that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.

  • If you have switched direction from the topic you studied, you may want to briefly explain the reasons behind this decision.


  • Include some of your main attributes that are vital to the role, maybe you are a fluent German speaker or a great administrator

  • Flexibility, problem solving abilities, good communication and creativity are qualities that all employers look out for

  • If you are changing career these transferable skills will add weight to your application

Professional Qualifications:

  • Professional Body

Location – Course Title – Grade

Short description

  • Add any professional associations of which you are a member

Title – Period – Rank (member, president)

Short description


Outside interests enable a potential employer to gain an understanding to what motivates you, what personal skills you may have and how you will integrate into the team.

Look at how job advertisements stipulate certain personality traits required for positions. Identify what they are and show how your hobbies can relate to their requirements.


References are available on request.


The above CV Template is provided free of change by and available for all to use as a general CV Template. However, we do suggest you add specific sections and information based upon your industry and career. If you don’t exactly know how to write a CV, check out our How to Write a CV & CV Writing Tips or maybe you’re in need of more professional help. Well, you’re in luck because we got Professional CV Writing services as well.

How to Write A CV? Our Free CV Writing Tips

The best way to start to know how to write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) is to break the CV writing process down into three simple steps …

1. Research: Many applicants undersell themselves by not ‘targeting’ their CV towards the industry in which they are seeking employment. How to write a CV well is to do your homework; read about the jobs you are targeting, talk to friends in similar jobs.

Ask yourself, “how can I add value to this company?”, “how is my previous experience relevant to the job I am applying for?” For example, an ex bar manager seeking a job in marketing will demonstrate competence by listing supervision and cashier roles, but detailing ways in which he increased beer sales by arranging a quiz night, darts team or a ‘happy hour’, will show an understanding of how promotions can boost sales (an essential skill in marketing!).

2. Plan: With your research complete. You should make quick lists under each of the following headings: ‘Profile’, ‘Career History’, ‘Education’, ‘ Skills & Qualifications’, ‘Hobbies & Interests’, and ‘References’. The lists will ensure that you don’t miss anything out when you come to put your CV together. Also a good CV should be:

- Targeted (demonstrating the relevance of experience, skills and qualifications to the job you are seeking).

- Concise (graduate/school leaver CVs should span no more than 2 pages).

- Correctly organised (sections labelled and ordered).

Clear visual layout (do the content justice).

- Free from spelling or grammatical errors.

Profile: List personality traits, attributes, ambitions (ask yourself, “how are these suited to the job I am targeting?”)

Career History: Write a short paragraph outlining your previous job title (20 words max), then list the roles and achievements related to this employment (use your research to expand on these roles, how are they relevant to the job you are targeting today?)

Education: For each institution, list all course programmes, subjects studied and grades achieved (if the grades were poor, or not relevant because it was such a long time ago, then leave them out). If applicable, you should also list other achievements (e.g. school prefect, captain of the hockey team – anything that demonstrates skills that might help you add value in your new job role – refer to your research!).

Skills & Qualifications: These might include languages, a driving license, health & safety accreditations.

Hobbies & Interests: You’re there to work, the employer doesn’t care what you do in your spare time, right? Wrong. Sporting interests, socialising, and family values are all relevant and will play a role on how well you fit into the team. Be as honest as you can.

References: Use no more than three. Previous employers are preferable. If you are new to the job market, or have a poor relationship with your previous company, you could use a teacher, or an acquaintance with a senior/respectable job within a well-known company.

3. Putting it all togetherOur Free CV Template will help you through all of the below points, but here’s a quick rundown on how to write a CV if you’d rather start from scratch.

Personal Information: Your name should be at the top of the document, preferably in larger text (this is, after all, what the document is trying to sell). As a minimum, you will need to add your address, date of birth (optional), and contact details.What next? ‘Education’ or ‘Career History’? Choose whatever is most relevant, a university graduate, with limited related work experience, should almost certainly place ‘Education’ before ‘Career’, whereas a 30 year management veteran should always begin with ‘Career History’. To make it easier for you to compose the sections we’ve put together a list of Joining Words for you to use.

Education: Entries should be dated and placed in chronological order (starting with the most recent). Refer to your plan. Give a brief description of the course studied (add your grade if beneficial) and add a list beneath to illustrate points of interest.Career History: Entries should be dated and placed in chronological order (starting with the most recent). Refer to your plan. Give a brief description of your role within the company and add a list beneath to illustrate points of interests.

The final sections, ‘Skills & Qualifications’, ‘Hobbies & Interests’, and ‘References’, should be presented in a similar manner to the above. Your CV should be no longer than two pages (from picking your CV up, a recruiter should know within 20 seconds if they want to read more, a short CV packed full of information will ensure that the reader sees all of your key selling points straight away).

And that’s all there is to it! To help improve your confidence, why not send your new CV to friends and family for proof reading or if you want a professional opinion we are there for you. Just click Professional CV Writing Services to find out more details.

Good luck! Hope our how to write a CV section helps you get that job you REALLY want!

How to write a Cover Letter

What is a cover letter?

Basically a cover letter is a sales tool that allows you to personalise your approach to an employer. A cover letter enables you to explain why you are applying for a job and to highlight the particular skills and experience that help make you the perfect candidate for their job vacancy.

What should I concentrate on?

The key points that an employer is interested in are:

  1. Why are you interested in seeing them?

  2. What are your relevant skills and experience?

With a cover letter you have an opportunity to explain to the hiring manager your interest in their company or the job vacancy. One approach that people often take is to describe why your background is a good fit for the organisation’s ethos, goals or future plans. For example, if the company is an innovator and well known for their ground breaking products you may want to explain how your background matches this. Remember that it is not enough to say you are an innovator. You must back this up with evidence from your background.


XYZ is a company I have long admired for the way its innovations constantly change the way consumers view everyday products. In my own career I have sought to achieve a similar outcome, such as introducing Web 2.0 applications in client presentations that have helped to demonstrate the breadth of our company’s technical expertise.”

Think about why you would like to work for Company A and then review your own skills and experience. This should help you to find a match for the cover letter.

You can concentrate on specific areas that are relevant to the situation. Your CV might mention some of the relevant tasks among your other activities but when you know what the key criteria for a job are you can highlight it clearly for the reader.

As a tip, if you are emailing your CV or application, you can paste the content of your cover letter in the body of an email. Obviously remove the address details.

Remember, use the cover letter to match your skills and experience with the company. Keep it under one page and make sure the tone is professional and polite. Here you can find some Cover Letter Templates to help you get a better understanding.


If you decide to write a cover letter, then it becomes equally as important as your CV, often being the first document a prospective employer sees and better demonstrating your writing skills. Rather than a generic letter for all prospective employers, your covering letter should be targeted towards a specific company or position, showing that you’ve researched and put some time into the application process.

Cover Letter Layout:The cover letter should be set out much the same way as a standard formal letter. From the top:

- Date

- Recipient’s name and address (where applicable) set to the left margin.

- ‘Ref: Insert role targeted‘ (optional).

- ‘Dear…’ ‘Sir/Madam’ or ‘name of individual’.

Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself.

Paragraph 2: Why you are interested in this job.

Paragraph 3: Why the prospective employer should be interested in you.

Paragraph 4: Conclude.

- Sign off: Use ‘Yours faithfully’ if addressed with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. Otherwise use ‘Yours sincerely’.

Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself.

- Why have you sent the enclosed CV? “I write in response to a recent advertisement for the vacancy of Mortgage Advisor”.- Relevant background: “My previous experience in IFA roles (Independent Financial Advisory) and experience of successfully selling related products make me a good candidate for this vacancy”.

Paragraph 2: Why you are interested in the job.

- Why do you want to work in this role?

- Why do you want to work for this particular company?

- Why do you want to work in this industry?

Show that you’ve done your research – you need to convey extreme interest, motivation, and hunger, for the job you are applying for.

Paragraph 3: Why the prospective employer should be interested in you.- Sell yourself. How do your experiences, skills and achievements make you a suitable candidate for this role? Demonstrate to the employer how you might add value to his or her company, that you tick all the boxes.

- For clarity, you may want to use bullet points to make a brief list.

- Be careful not to exaggerate or sound arrogant – be modest, support your statements with brief evidence.

- Be careful not to use the exact wording of your CV.

Paragraph 4: Conclude.

- Be positive, “I thank you in advance for taking the time to review my CV, I look forward to discussing my application further with you.”

Your cover letter should be kept to a maximum of one A4 page. If sending via email, place the cover letter in the body of the email (rather than as an attached document) and omit the address.

Good luck!

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CV’s reflect who we are; it’s the first image the employer sees of you. For only £17 we can make sure that your image is impeccable.

If you already have a CV and want a professional opinion we can review it and maybe optimize it if necessary. Or maybe you don’t know where to start and you just don’t have the time and patience to put together all the things you need for the CV. If that’s the case don’t panic, don’t worry, Apply4U is here to rescue you!

Buy your credit now and book a time when you’re free to receive a call from us in order to get the details about your work experience, education, skills, hobbies and interests, etc. Thereafter you will receive a draft from us that will need your approval and then you’re all set!

Your Interview

So you’ve got an amazing CV and have interviews lined up. What now?

Free Interview Questions & Good Answers

Prepare for answers to the interview questions below and practice your responses with a friend / family member. Practicing interview questions helps you be more confident and relaxed when it really counts. Don’t be mistaken, each interview is different but most will ask the same or similar interview questions. More importantly, there is no right or wrong answer to interview questions, so you can use your rehearsed answers to which ever interview questions they may be relevant.

When you enter the interview put a smile on your face. Keep interviews conversational but don’t sound rehearsed. Remain relaxed, calm and avoid fidgeting in your seat.Listed below are some interview questions you will probably be asked:

Q) Why do you want this job?

The interviewer wants to know that you have researched the company and know what they do. Focus on what you can do for them. Show knowledge on areas such as;

- what the organisations products or service is- history, image & goal of potential employer- latest turnover figures, awards, facts etc.Good example answer:"Apply4U has a solid reputation for their quality work & results. I’d like to be part of that success and add value to the team."


Q) What qualities do you think will be required for this job?

Mention transferable skills relevant to the job description advertised.Communication, Leadership, Supervisory, Interpersonal, Problem Solving, Analytical skills. But don’t just list them off, explain from where you have gained these skills and give examples.Good example answer:Communication skills are key, I’ve been successfully dealing with customers now for 3 years at Company A. My consistent top 5 performances, landed me a promotion into a Leadership role, which will help me manage the team you mentioned..."


Q) What can you contribute?

Interviewer will want to know how you can benefit the company. Talk about your accomplishments in the past and relate experience of what you can do for them in the future. Relate your abilities to the employer’s goals.Good example answer:"I work effectively to meet goals & deadlines. Challenges are faced every day in my current role and I am not the type to shy away. We were recently faced with losing 3 of our 5 major accounts and I knew the only way to keep going was to replace them like for like, therefore I worked on closing new business with 2 other major firms which are known growing in value month on month"


I am native German, which means, I can help you grow your business into Europe, some of my new business in my last role was from Germany.”


Q) Why do you want to work for this company?

The interviewer wants to know that you are seriously interested in the job. Be prepared with knowledge about the company. Let the interviewer know how you can be an asset to the company.Good example answer:"My findings found that Apply4U are an innovative company looking to expand its sales within the IT sales arena. My previous experience of selling IT into Investment Banking and my expansive network in this space can be used to find niches in the market place.”“I’m always looking to challenge myself and I feel that my can do attitude will be a major asset to your company”


Q) What do you know about this company?

Research the company. Interviewer will ask this question to test your knowledge about the company. (Give them a run-down of their product/services, sales figures, news, company figures. size of company/operations, ethics, goals etc.) Research the company first…Good example answer:"I’ve read that your organisation has 6 offices and plan to open more.” Show you are interested and let a conversation around this topic begin.


Q) Tell me about yourself?

A frequently asked question in interviews… Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for. (e.g. examples of skills and achievements to date) Keep it short. Sometimes the interviewer will specify what you should say. Never lie


Q) Why did you leave your last job?

Never speak negative about previous employers, co-workers or the organisation. Stay positive and be confident with your answer. Focus on the benefits, opportunities & development.BE CLEAR & PRECISE – Don’t over complicate your reason. The interviewer just wants to know the honest answer.Your interviewer will want to know:a)what you have done in you previous joba)what your hoping to gain from moving to another company. 


Q) How ambitious are you?

Show your enthusiasm for the job. Short term goal should be in getting the job and long term goal is to progress higher. Don’t give the impression that you are after the interviewer’s job.

Q) Why are you looking for in a new job?

Stay positive and be confident with your answer.Good example answer:"I have experience bringing new business for high profile companies’. ‘I’m looking for an opportunity to repeat this success or do something else. Talk about your career and accomplishments.

Q) Tell me about your last job?

Try to relate your previous job experience to the current job description. Don’t lie or exaggerate Interviewer wants to hear detailed answers (e.g. sales skills – examples how you have done the job already)Good example answer:"I spent 3 years in telephone sales, mainly business to business and recently I have looked after a team of 10 working on differing sales types…. Ranging from… I achieved….

Q) What are your key strengths and weaknesses?

Mention strengths that are relevant to the job your being interviewed for (assets that employer desires for the position). Employers look for good: communication, team working, IT, Problem solving etc skills. Recruiters want to know why you think it is strength and where it has been demonstrated.Turn your weakness into positive statements: Interviewer will want to know that you have learnt from your weakness.Interviewer will want to know:1. What risks are they taking in hiring you?2. How you deal with this stress question3. They do not want to hear that you weakness cannot be corrected4. Interviewer does not want to hear of a personal trait (e.g. being messy at home) that is not related to the jobBe honest about your weaknesses & turn the negative (weakness) into a positive. (I.e. Interviewer wants to see that you are aware of your weakness & doing something about it.Good example answer:"I can be over enthusiastic and work quickly and I have now learnt to work at other peoples paces, ensuring we all deliver the best work possible.’I used to have bad time management skills now I have learnt to priorities my projects/workload every time ‘‘During busy times I can become unorganized & now before I leave work I make sure that I organise itineraries for the next day’

Q) What were your greatest success / achievement?

The interviewer wants to gain an insight into your previous role or role’s. Try to keep your answers focused on your work. Keep discussion to work related issues.A problem you had overcomehistory, image & goal of potential employerIdeas that were implementedGood example answer:I set up a sales accounting system that reduces costs by 30%I improved sales by 45% throughout Europe & America by restructuring the sales team … Tell them how….


Q) What motivates you?

Interviewer wants to understand what inspires you in work situation. Try and relate answers to work experience rather than personal (E.g. career progression, opportunity to learn more skills, work ambience, competitiveness, working in a team, etc)Good example answer:‘I have always worked in sales/recruitment and was motivated to hit targets ahead of schedule’‘I always ensured that Apply4U’s clients got the best customer service’‘I’ve have always worked within sales and hitting record breaking results in my last 2 firms’

Q) Are you competitive?

Interviewer will want see how you handle this question. Your answer depends upon the requirements of the job advertisement & company goals. Interviewer will want to see an indication that you can work within a team & not just for yourself.If you say very highly competitive (interviewer perceive you as highly aggressive)If you say not very competitive (interviewer may perceive you as weak & not proactive)Put a positive spin in how you answer the question

Q) Are you a leader?

A leader or team leader generally sets targets and margins and possesses good conversational skills. Interviewer wants to gain in insight to your experience in leading projects or managing people.Good example answer:‘I managed a team of 3 and devised a motivating day once a week every Monday morning to keep everything in order & to increase energy levels.

Q) What problems did you encounter in your last job?

Keep it brief. Talk about job experiences that you may have solved.Good example answer:I’ve experienced a problem with the sales accounting system and I managed to resolve this by devising an account system that increased production

Q) What are your career goals?

Your answer should relate to professional goals not personal goals. Short term goals would be getting the job and long term goals would relate to progression within the company.Good example answer:

My long term goal would be to grow with the company where I continue to learn with added responsibilities and contribute as much value as I can to companies aspirations. 

Q) How would you describe yourself?

The answer should relate to the job in which you are being interviewed for. The interviewer is looking to see how you can benefit and add value to the company. Centre your answer on what you have to offer and why you would be a good for the job.Good example answer:

My ideas have led me into introducing and implement new procedures such as a new accounting system for the sales department that increased production for the company. I can use these ideas to improve production within the company.

My enthusiasm and energy influences those around me… 


Q) How could you improve yourself?

Try not to be too negative. Interviewer wants to know that you are always looking to improve yourself.

Q) What level of salary are you looking for now?

You can ask to discuss this later on after discussion of job responsibilities. You don’t want to be seen as greedy & emphasis you’re potential. Final remuneration package could include (pension, company car, private health care insurance etc.)

Sector specific interview questions:

Q) Why do you want job in recruitment?

Interviewer will want to know:If it’s a career change they will want to know Why you have chosen Recruitment as a chosen career. If you have experience in recruitment, interviewer will want to know why you have chosen their sector (i.e. media recruitment, recruitment agency etc.)Good example answer:If it’s a career change stress what skills are transferable to recruitment job objectives“I love recruitment as I enjoy meeting & getting to know different people. Recruitment is a varied career & I don’t believe there are many careers as rewarding….”

Q) Why do you want job in sales?

Interviewer looks for your eagerness and attitude. Keep a positive attitude. A sales person is in a position to make things happen. Recruiter intends to hire people who possess their core competencies and have a desire to sell. Process of sales is problem solving for potential buyer or enhancing business.Good example answer:I enjoy challenges and interacting with people. Selling is a challenge and each day is different from the other…

Other Interview Questions

  • Are you considering any other positions at the moment?

  • Do you consider yourself successful?

  • How do you handle criticism?

  • What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?

  • Can you act on your own initiative?

  • What do you think of the last company you worked for?

  • Why are you leaving your current employers?

  • What interests you about our product (or service)?

  • Why should we employ you?

  • Can you work under pressure?

  • What problems did you encounter in your last job?

  • Why did you choose a career in …?

  • Why are you changing careers?

  • What would your ideal job be?

  • Are you considering any other positions at the moment?

  • How would you describe yourself?

  • How would others describe you?

  • Are you considering any other positions at the moment?

  • How would you describe yourself?

  • How would others describe you?

  • What were your greatest success / achievement?

  • How did you achieve it?

  • What has been your biggest failure?

  • What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?

  • What motivates you?

  • Do you know how to motivate other people?

  • Can Are you competitive?

  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

  • Do you How do you handle stressful situations?

  • What have you learnt from your previous job?

  • Why should we hire you over all other candidates?

  • What have you done since the last job?

  • What qualifications do you have?

Free Interview Tips

First appearances count: Always dress and look your best. Immaculate shoes, a clean shave or a freshly pressed suit are easy ways to pick up extra points. Maintain eye contact as much as possible and avoid the obvious pitfalls of slouching, folded arms or hands in pockets.

Research: Learning about the company you are interviewing with is essential, but your research doesn’t have to end here… Who are the company’s main competitors? What are the industry trends? How might this company improve its current product or service offering? Are there any opportunities for revenue growth?

Your level of knowledge will play a large role in determining how much value you can add to a given company (exactly what the interviewer is trying to assess!).

Prepare for difficult or common questions such as:- Why should I hire you?- Why haven’t you found a job yet?- How many jobs have you applied for? Why didn’t you apply for more?- Why did you leave your previous employment?- What did you dislike about your old job?- There is a gap between these two employment entries, what did you do in this period?- How can you add value to our company?- Aside from financial reward, what do you hope to gain from this employment?- How would you describe our brand to a person that had never heard of us?- What attracts you to this job?- What are your weaknesses?- Tell us about a role you performed badly in.- What are your strengths?- What is your biggest achievement?- Describe yourself in three words.- How would your friends describe you?- What do you get up to in your spare time?- Where do you see yourself in five years?- Where do you see yourself at the height of your career?

Click here for more Interview questions and answers and maybe make a visit at the ‘Questions to ask & not to ask in an interview’ section too.

Know your CV: Employers will often use your CV as a loose structure for the interview, so be ready to speak extensively about every point you made on it. Be ready to talk about any unexplained gaps in your career history (a common line of question), any specific achievements, and the circumstances surrounding each of your previous jobs. Don’t expect the interviewer to know your CV, don’t be afraid to mention and re-mention the key points you have already highlighted on your CV.

Interviews don’t have to be one-way: Have at least three well-researched questions ready for the employer. The quality of the question will demonstrate interest, level of knowledge and encourage the interviewer to interact with you on a less formal level.

Take your time: Pause and think before answering difficult questions.

Be aware of current affairs: A good way of finding some common ground.

Relaxation techniques:

- Begin your preparation well in advance (24 hours before if possible).

- Get a good night sleep.

- Leave yourself a few hours before to go over your interview checklist.

- Get to the interview early.

- Avoid caffeinated drinks.


It’s not always WHAT you say it’s HOW you say it!

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" (Maya Angelou)

Our studies show:


VOICE & TONE = 38%


Your body language is a reflection of your level of confidence, and a candidate with a lack of confidence isn’t one that can be an asset to the company. It’s actually very simple. Your body can betray your words if you aren’t careful. I’m not saying control all you movements and the way your body acts, but you have to pay more attention to the ones that can give away ‘inside information’.

For example:

- eye-contact: if you are confident and strong you will most likely keep the eye-contact, but if you lie or you are unsure about your chances you will look away.

- smile: a smile can make a big difference especially at the interview, can relax the tensioned atmosphere and it shows the others that you are a warm opened person.

- sit up straight: do not slouch, it shows insecurity

- hands and legs calm and relaxed: don’t start playing with your fingers or bounce your leg, just act normal and natural.

- keep distance: don’t get in the face of your interviewer; I know that you are excited and all but it will become like a threat, just leave some space between you and him/her

If you want to see how you react in these kinds of situations just repeat with a friend and ask him to pay attention at your body language; you might be surprised.

Also don’t forget about the tone of your voice. Don’t be monotone and boring, be enthusiastic, motivated, interested, after all your talking about yourself, if you not excited about yourself why should others be?


There are 2 things that you MUST take into account at an interview:

- talk in first person

- storytelling

believe me, they are crucial!

1) Talk in FIRST person… Sell YOURSELF

What can YOU bring to the company?

Often people will slip into a type of conversation called “second person” when they are really talking about themselves. Use “I” or “my” instead of “you/your” as this simple word shifts the story from being about us to being about the person listening. You run the risk of losing the interviewer’s interest in the story–because they feel spoken at rather than spoken to.

For E.G:   “You have to be able to get into work on time and you need to hit your targets” NO

“I’m always the first one into work and haven’t missed a sales target yet” YES


While this shift in language may not seem like a big deal, becoming a skilled communicator is. If you talk in second or third person, your prospective employer will be waiting for that ‘other’ person to walk through the door.

 2) STORYTELLING… Be specific & give examples


Elaborate on answers as a simple Yes or No is not impressive.


Treat the interviewer’s questions as if you were in an exam

- Repeat the question

- Use full sentences and avoid bullet point answers

- Use examples & explain your reasons

For e.g: What are your key strengths?

Bad answer:     Determined… Passionate…A winner

Good answer:   My key strengths include my determined attitude and passion for my work; most importantly I strive to win.


Think “STAR” when giving an example                    Getting the weighting right

Situation  - Outline of what you faced                          - 15% Setting

Task       - What you decided to do                                     the scene

Action     - Detailed description of the process           - 70% What you did

Result     - The outcome                                             - 15% Result

For E.G: “Describe a time when you demonstrated creative thinking”

Simple answer:

It was last summer, summer 2008.  It was the GM group.  I helped them with their

website.  We made it a lot better than it was and people really liked it.  They’re still using it.”

Using STAR:

S:  I worked at the GM group in Summer 2008 and

T:  assisted in the development of their new website.

A: I conducted an audit of similar sites and presented my findings to the development team, recommending the use of ‘pop-ups’ to advertise forthcoming events. Mindful of industry scepticism regarding their use, I researched available data and prepared visual design ideas.  Despite their initial concerns, I persuaded them to allocate funds for an initial trial period. 

R: Click-through rates were encouraging & the pop-ups are now a permanent addition to the website.

Be specific… Give examples… You are the STAR of the story so remember that!


  1. Only use positive words

Don’t say: I am quite strong at new business

Say: I am strong at new business

  1. Talk in 1st Person

Don’t say: You need to be resilient in recruitment

Say: I am a resilient person that’s how I have managed to be successful in recruitment

  1. Use Present or Past tense

Don’t say: I will work hard

Say: I have been working hard in my current / last position where I ...

  1. Always Sell Yourself

Use your Unique Selling Points - What makes you different?

e.g. Languages / Achievements etc...

  1. Use the Feature + Benefit Rule

Feature = I speak fluent German to business level “Which means” Benefit = I can help build strong relationships with both candidates and clients in Germany)”

  1. Always Be Specific

If you say I have the skills for the job, then be specific about WHAT SKILLS you bring. Always explain yourself in as much detail as possible, using facts and figures

  1. Give Examples

Use work and life experience to prove what you are saying is accurate

e.g. I am hard working, currently I start work at 9am and don’t finish till 8/9pm everyday...

  1. Tell them Stories

Build a relationship, make them like you... get them involved in your story – Practice around 5 stories before your interview and then use them as and when possible

  1. End Answers on a High

Save a strong point or example to the end of your answer so that the interviewer remembers you. Normally the first point that comes to mind is your best, save it to the end so you know what your ending on. Let the rest be natural and when you can’t think of anything else or you feel it’s time to end. Drop in your “killer ending” and end your answer with a bang!

  1. Most importantly remember – IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAY... IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT!

So be energetic, enthusiastic and confident – you have nothing to lose.


Here are six factors that can help you remain in the unemployment zone:

(1) Being unprepared for the interview. Prepare, plan, and practice! In today’s tough job market, you MUST do everything you can to give yourself an edge… preparation is the key.

(2) Not being able to communicate clearly and effectively. This is important during the interview and on the job. Being nervous can really mess up your communication skills, so being well prepared and practicing what you’re going to say are always your best bet.

(3) Being aggressive, arrogant, or acting in a superior way. No one wants to hire or work with people who think they’re better than everyone else. Be careful with your attitude, even if you think you’re surrounded by incompetent fools. Being confident is good. Being an arrogant jerk is bad.

(4) Making excuses for failings. Your teacher never bought “The dog ate my homework!” and your boss isn’t going to buy “The finance department gave me the wrong figures!” In the grown-up world, you have to take responsibility for what you are responsible for! You’ll never earn respect by blaming others when things go wrong.

(5) Saying unfavourable things about previous employers. Even if you left a job because the boss was an egomaniac who took credit for all of your hard work, verbally abused you in front of others, and poisoned the plant on your desk, don’t say anything bad about him/her during an interview. When asked “Why did you leave your last job?” say something like “My manager and I both agreed that my advancement opportunities were limited there and obtaining another position was the best option for me and my career goals.”

(6) Having a poor/limp handshake. Why do people think you’ll be a lousy employee if you have a lousy handshake? That’s not really logical, is it? Doesn’t matter. It just turns people off and gives them a bad impression of you. So make your handshake firm and confident but not bone-crushing. (It’s not a competition to see who winces first!)

If you DON’T want to be unemployed, don’t let any of those traits apply to you!


Questions to ask in an interview:

  1. How many other people work in the team? What are their job roles?

  2. If the job is in a new department, ask about the reason for establishing the department and what the plans for growth are.

  3. If the job is an old one, ask who you are replacing and why they have moved on.

  4. Ask about appraisals and performance reviews – how often, will they be tied to pay increases or bonuses?

  5. How will my performance be measured?

  6. Can you describe your ideal employee? This is a great one – use it early on to find out what they are expecting so you can tailor your later responses to suit them!

  7. A slightly more subtle approach than the last point would be to ask, “what skills and experience would you say are necessary for someone to succeed in this job?”.

  8. Not suitable for senior management really, but asking interviewers what they like about working at the company can be a good way to start a conversation about your new workplace.

  9. Likewise, asking your interviewer when they started with the company and why they have stayed with the company? In a polite way – try not to ask this with a grimace on your face! You want to get them talking a little – it strengthens your relationship with them just that little bit more which can make a difference.

  10. (If you are being interviewed by the MD / owner) Hypothetical question – if you had to leave, how would you like to see the company be managed?

  11. What scope for progress and promotion is there within the company?

  12. What kind of work will I be responsible for over the next year?

  13. Will I be expected to work late nights or at the weekend?

  14. Can you describe a typical day or week in the job?

  15. What makes this company stand apart from the competition?

  16. In your opinion, what is the most important attribute / achievement / quality you would like to see from me within my trial period?

  17. Do you have any questions about my ability to do this job? This one ain’t great most of the time – they would have brought any questions they had already. However, the point you are trying to make with this is to show them your proactive attitude and confidence. This could add a positive to your interview if other areas haven’t been great (lack of experience, etc).

  18. Having reviewed my CV and interviewed me, what qualities do you see in me?

  19. Are you interviewing more people for this position?

  20. Are there any areas you feel I would need to work on in order to become your top choice for the job?

  21. Do your employees socialise outside of the workplace? OK, with this one you don’t want to seem like you will be out of the door 4pm Friday and straight to the pub! But it is worth getting an idea of how the office life will be – perhaps ask if they have any company sports teams, etc. Basically ask them to quantify the atmosphere of the office.

  22. How would you describe the core responsibilities of the position? Only if this hasn’t been covered – you don’t want to seem stupid!

  23. Will the job involve much travelling? If so, how much?

  24. When are you looking for someone to start?

  25. When can I expect to hear from you?

  26. Would you like a list of references or any additional information from me?

  27. Does the job involve any form of training? How will this be implemented and monitored?

  28. (If there are other people in a similar job role to you) What attributes / traits would you say are necessary for someone to be successful within this job role?

  29. Could you explain the company structure to me? This lets them clarify the management and departmental structure within the company. It will also help you get a better idea of how your role will fit into the company.

  30. Does the job role have any pressing concerns that you will need me to tackle as soon as I start? This could refer to accounts / clients that need managed because someone left, or it could be asking them for a timeline of priorities if you are setting up a new department.

  31. Does the team or job role I’ll be working in have any specific weaknesses right now that you would like to be address? This is a softer version of the previous question really.

  32. What software / systems does your company use? Know your industry so you know how to ask this question properly.

  33. What are the company’s plans for the future? This can be a great question – it will allow management to boast and you can nod and seem like you are interested. Try to keep this discussion going with some follow up questions about the interviewers answer.

  34. What challenges might I face in this position?

  35. Have any previous employees failed to perform in this position and what would you say was the reason for that?

  36. What misconceptions do people have about the organisation?

  37. What are the company’s core business goals?

  38. How effectively have these goals been communicated over the past 12 months? These 2 questions are great although they can throw off less organised managers and could work as a negative!

  39. How does the company reward or recognise outstanding work and excellence?

  40. Will my roles be limited to what has been outlined in my job description or will I be expected to take on other tasks as needed? If so, to what extent do you foresee this being the case? This is good for you – you need to know if you are going to sign up to be a shoe maker and eventually end up being a belt maker or not!

Questions NOT to ask in an interview

Can I do this job from home?

If this is a telecommuting job, the job description would have said so. Asking to work from home implies that you dislike working with others, you do not work well under direct supervision, or you have a difficult schedule to work around. Occasionally, employees who have held a position for a long period are allowed to telecommute, but this is not a concession you should ask for on a first interview.

What does your company do?

Avoid asking any questions about the company that you could have researched beforehand on the company website. These questions demonstrate that you have not done your research, and imply that you are not interested in the position.

When can I take time off for vacation?

Do not discuss previous commitments before being offered a position. Asking about time off before getting a job offer implies that you are not going to be a fully committed employee.

Did I get the job?

This question puts employers on the spot and makes you appear impatient. Instead, you could ask for more information on the next step in the hiring process. For example, you can ask, "Do you generally do multiple rounds of interviews with job candidates?" However, if they are interested in you, most employers will give you this information before the end of the interview.

How many hours will I be expected to work each work? Will I need to work on weekends?Questions about hours and extra work imply that you are hoping to work as little as possible. A better question would be, "What is a typical workday like?" The answer will likely give you insight into expected work hours.

How long would I have to wait to get promoted?

This question implies that you are not interested in the position for which you are applying, and that you are merely waiting to move on to something better. Instead, you could ask the employer, "What are some of the opportunities for growth at this company?"

What type of health insurance does this company offer?

Wait until you are offered the position before you begin asking questions about benefits. However, if there is a benefit that you require from a job (such as a particular type of health insurance, a daycare program, etc.), bring it up with human resources rather than the interviewer.

More Questions Not to Ask

  • What is the astrological sign of the company president?

  • Can I see the break room?

  • How late can I be to work without getting fired?

  • How long is lunch?

  • Can I bring my dog to work?

  • Will I have to take a drug test?

  • Does this company monitor Internet usage?

  • How many warnings do you get before you are fired?

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Your Job Search

The whole job search process can become a little more complicated than it looks. Don’t forget, the most important part of your day, is your job!

Job Search Guide

1. Choosing a career (Careers Advice)

Deciding on which career path to enter may seem daunting, but it is also an exciting new beginning that you should embrace. Remember that the careers path you choose could account for the majority of your working life – investing your time and effort in making the right careers choice here will pay dividends later on!

First, set aside some time to focus on choosing a career, when you are alone and stress free, perhaps at the library or your home. If you’re short of inspiration, a good way to start is to make a list of your skills and interests (what are you good at? what do you enjoy? what is important to you? what makes you happy?) – writing ideas down and comparing notes with friends and family can often lead to career paths that you may never have considered.

With a short-list in mind, you can begin your careers research – there is a wealth of resources online and now you are on one website that has great information. Essentially, you need to answer the following questions:

- What does the job ask of me? e.g. time, travel, focus, responsibility

- What are the good points?

- Do these outweigh the bad points?

- What else is important to you (e.g. friends, family, hobbies)?

- Will your new career infringe upon these?

- Is there opportunity for personal development and career progression?

- What will the job give me aside from financial reward? 

- Am I being realistic?

Essentially, the more research you do, the better informed your careers decision will be!

Once you have narrowed your career options down, try getting some work experience to gain some first-hand insight. A single day working within an organisation can be far more insightful than anything you will find in books or online (and you’ll meet some great contacts too).

2. Applying for a job

Persistence, research, and some more persistence! ‘How do I apply?’ ‘What are they looking for?’ ‘How do I get them interested in me? The key to success is perseverance and learning as much as possible about the company or industry you are targeting – not only will this approach help get you noticed, it will help you get hired – companies actively look for people who have ambition and want to learn.

So where do I start?

This will of course largely depend on the job you are targeting.  If the employer is advertising a position than simply reply with your CV and cover letter. If there is no contact address, always begin with a phone call (this gives you a chance to gain an edge on other applicants; find out exactly what the company are looking for, who you should address your application to, what you might do to improve your chances).

In some cases, you may be required to complete an online application. This is relatively self-explanatory so we won’t dwell on it too much but a good exercise is to use your CV to ensure you cram as much as possible into the form and always support your answers with evidence (‘I am a team player because…’, ‘My role as cashier demonstrates that…’).

Other companies are much less formal. Often restaurants and bars will require you to drop by in person for an informal chat (these companies are much more concerned with finding someone who is presentable, friendly and outgoing rather than finding out where they went to school). When meeting an employer, make sure that you are presentable and have all of the information they may ask of you, ‘do you have any relevant training?‘, ‘ When are you available? Do you have any holidays booked in the next 6 months?’. It’s a good idea to take a couple of copies of your CV along to the meeting.

In cases where there is no vacancy advertised you will need to cold call. This may seem daunting at first but just bear in mind that the only people you’ll actually have to meet in person are the ones that want to meet you (rejection is just part of the process, smile and move on).

The follow up…

Follow up all job applications with a phone call or email (if nothing else, it shows that you care and gives you a chance to gain valuable feedback, good or bad!).

Get a head start and Job Search now!

3. Lack of career progression?

According to research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), a significant proportion of employees are dissatisfied by the pace of their career development and feel that it is not where they would like it to be. In a survey of 2,000 employees conducted last year, the CMI found that 42 percent of respondents felt that their careers were stalling. The most common complaints were: being overlooked for promotion or not receiving pay increases.

If your organisation has frozen promotional or sideward opportunities then you have two basic choices. You can accept the current situation and wait for an improvement, or else consider options externally.

However, if colleagues are being promoted ahead of you it is a clear sign that opportunities exist but that you are not being considered for them. Why is this? Possibly it is because your line manager is unsupportive, but often the answer lies in an employee not having enough of the skills required for the targeted job.

If you are looking for a move upwards or across then you need to take a look at your current skill-set and review what is missing that you need in order to progress. This could be a lack of qualifications, IT or language skills, or experience in key areas.

How to identify what’s missing?

If progression means promotion into a more senior role then your performance appraisals can help you to identify your development areas.If you are seeking a move into a different type of role then try to obtain a job description. Job descriptions are very useful in helping us to identify the qualifications, experience and competencies that are required.

Information on internal positions may be available from HR or the company intranet, while information on external roles can be found on company websites and job boards. Full or abbreviated job descriptions are reasonably easy to find and this will help you to identify key areas.

Strengthen your weaknesses

The good news is that there are plenty of resources available. Firstly, your employer may be willing to provide you with internal or external training opportunities.

Find out what training is available – from the Internet, company intranet or from HR or training officers – and ask to be allowed to participate. If your employer is reluctant to give the time off you can always offer to make up the time or even use your holiday allowance.

You may find that external training is your best option. Of course this often has a cost attached, but if the accompanying qualification will help you to progress in your career, it may be seriously worth taking on the cost, even if your employer is reluctant to fund it.

Also look at informal training opportunities. Can you strengthen your experience by helping colleagues? People with knowledge in areas you are lacking can be a source of expertise that will benefit you if you are prepared to learn. Are there possibilities for participating in projects with other teams in the business or even outside the organisation?

When you have identified the areas that you need to improve, your next step will be to put in place an action plan of how you are going to work on these. The four steps are: ‘What?’, ‘How?’, ‘Plan it’, ‘Do it!’

1) What is your greatest need?

2) How can you address it?

3) Put a plan in place – contacting the relevant people, signing up, making the time and travel arrangements and doing any preparatory work.

4) Do it!

4. Choosing a new career

Deciding on a new career is a tricky decision to make and it’s important to distinguish why you are even considering making a switch before you begin your search…  Is it something you feel you need to do because you need a new challenge? Are you bored at work? Do you need to change your work/life balance?  Have you reached your ceiling at work and feel there is nowhere else for you to go in your current role? For some people the choice is obvious – a burning desire to accomplish something they have always wanted to do but for others maybe it’s just time to take a different path, but what path?   It can be a hard and somewhat confusing choice, which may be marred by limitations you place on yourself and on your self-confidence.  Most people’s reasons to change their job is purely for job satisfaction rather than economic reasons, but remember that either are valid reasons to undertake this challenge.

Think Big

Once you have made the decision to change your professional life, you need to ‘Think Big’ and base your choice on what you think you will enjoy and can grow within.  Be bold and rule out no career or profession.  While this may seem like a huge statement to make, with confidence, motivation and a desire to change, you will be surprised at what you can achieve. OK – some of these career choices may be a daydreams, but by allowing yourself to do this, you are not ruling anything out.  Think back to childhood – what did you want to be? Are you envious of other people’s jobs that you think you would also like?  Do you have a hobby, passion or skill that could be built upon?

Confidence and Motivation

Without confidence in yourself and a motivation to change and succeed doing it, you are fighting a losing battle.  Once you have narrowed down some new career choices, a good way to boost both these essential traits is to write down next to each new job choice what is holding you back to achieving it (be it economic, emotional or practical).   Now write down what is motivating you to change your job and compare the two.  Hopefully, the motivation list will be longer than the other list.  Keep this document and once you have started to apply for new jobs in your chosen field, and you feel your confidence start to waver about if you have done the right thing or not, look at this and remind yourself what you are striving to achieve. Be Practical and Proactive

One way to find out if a new career is for you is to undertake some voluntary work or work experience in the sector you choose before you take the plunge.  Not only will this give you a taste of what the job may be like in reality, it will also impress prospective employers on your CV.

Job Search Tips

The key to a successful job-hunt is to adopt a multi-pronged approach, both in terms of where you look and how you promote yourself…

1. Online Job Boards

Job boards are a great place to start. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of public forums through which employers advertise positions. Often seekers can sort by industry, salary or level of experience. Many websites also offer email alerts for new jobs matching your criteria. You can search for jobs in universities, studentships and more at

You will also find specialist websites focusing on specific industry types (e.g. Again, Google is a great place to start, and at you can find it ‘all under one roof’, from jobs adverts to companies profiles, reviews and job search / recruitment services. If it’s a job you want, there are hundreds of jobs we got! ….

2. Upload your CV to a directory

Let recruiters find you by uploading your CV to one of the many online directories. Often job seekers can specify a criteria (targeted roles, salary, distance) which will make it easier for the right recruiter to find them. Upload your CV Now!

3. Recruitment consultants

Let somebody else do the leg work for you. Consultants often specialise within a particular sector, building up a wealth of contacts and knowledge (particularly useful for job seekers with considerable experience within a certain specific sector). One word of warning however; recruitment consultants are often motivated by fees alone (not a candidates job satisfaction) so be sure to do your research on the companies that you are introduced to.

That’s why is unique. Not only that we are the middle ground between you and the company, but we are interested in the happiness of both parties. Also, here’s a tip: we do the leg work for you but you are still in control and Employers don’t pay a placement fee for you!

4. Networking 

Family, friends, friends of friends – they all count! Having an introduction to an individual working within your target company can be a great head start (however junior that person may be). Of course, industry contacts aren’t a luxury enjoyed by everyone but if you have them, use them!

5. Cold calling   

Just because a company isn’t actively hiring doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t consider the right person – cold calling shows courage and persistence, traits that most employers look for. Again, Google is a great place to start and be sure to do your research on every company that you call or you can appeal to one of our Apply4U specialists to do that for you.

6. Other job boards

Job search is increasingly moving online but many local companies, such as restaurants, shops and bars, will advertise locally. Great places to look are job centres, public notice boards, local newspapers and magazines.

7. Persistence 

Finding the perfect job is not easy, it could take one week, it could take six months. The key is to stay focused and to never give up searching. New jobs come onto the market every day, by adopting a multi-pronged approach, one of those will be yours!

Start your job search now with

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Remember when you were little you were often asked ‘What do you what to be when you grow up?’ Well that time has come. What do you what to be?

A little bit confused at what exactly are you good at? Or you know your skills and you have a CV and job but that’s not something you are proud about and definitely not something you would like to do for the rest of your life.

If that’s the case, it’s time to take drastic measures. For only £7 we can offer you professional job search guidance / careers advice through telephone if you are a busy busy bee or we can arrange a face to face meeting and have a little chat… about you!

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