Playing the game: CV & Interview Skills

You cannot get a job if you don’t get an interview. You cannot get an interview if you don’t apply. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

As students look towards their future after completing their Education & studies this summer our consultant, Nadine Gavey, has been going into schools and colleges on the island offering advice and helpful tips on CV’s & Interview skills. Nadine feels that it is valuable time spent with students who are looking to enter the world of work.

Many students know what areas they wish to find employment in and others are unsure therefore coming up with a basis of a cover letter and CV where they are selling themselves to potential employers is so important. This is the first big step for students to be considered for employment so the emphasis on getting this right first time is paramount. Also enabling students to understand the role of the person shortlisting CVs and seeing their point of view to the decision-making process so that students will be put on the “yes” pile of CVs shortlisted rather than “no” pile.

Advice to students on writing CVs has included looking at the layout of documents, the importance of accuracy, adding personal statements and more details of part-time jobs they have held so that a reader can relate to their skillset and see transferable skills that can be valuable to their organisation. However, it is felt this can be included for any job seeker. We, therefore, suggest 5 tips for job seekers for their CVs:

  1. Show what makes you unique 
    For every job you apply for you could be up against hundreds of other candidates so you need to make sure you stand out. Employers don't just buy skills, they buy solutions, so show how can you make the company money and how can you resolve the problems that they have. 
  2. Choose a clear layout

Employers spend around 20-30 seconds scanning your CV so it needs to be clutter-free and easy to read. The last thing the recruiter wants to be doing is searching for the information that they are looking for- so don’t hide it!

  1. Tailor your CV to your audience
    It may sound like a time-consuming process, but making the effort to tailor your CV to suit the requirements of each particular job that you are applying for can greatly increase your chances of securing an interview. 
  2. Keep it error free
    It's deceptively easy to make mistakes on your CV and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. As well as checking your spelling and grammar, make sure your employment dates match up and that you've provided the right phone number and email address. 
  3. Keep your CV up-to-date 
    When you put together a CV it's often difficult remembering the projects you have been involved with and the achievements you have made. To avoid missing important pieces of information out, revisit your CV every month adding anything of importance, and cutting any information that is no longer required.


The next challenge in finding employment is the job interview. A misconception held by many jobseekers is that employers and interviewers are out to get them. Bear in mind at all times that you are not being set up to fail. Recruitment is an expensive venture – no one is going to invite you to an interview just to wind you up! Another misconception is that an interview is just an informal chat. An antidote that I often tell students is- would you turn up to an exam having done no revision? What would happen if you did….you would most probably fail- yes? So why turn up to an interview having done no preparation or practise. Interviews are all about practise as the more you do the more confident you get.


The main advice offered to students for interviews is:

  1. Do your research 
    Fail to plan, and you plan to fail. You are certain to be asked specific questions about the company, so make sure you've done your homework on things like their last year's profits and latest product launches. Also, take a look at the latest developments in the industry so you can converse with confidence. 
  2. Practice your answers 
    Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. You should prepare answers to some of the most common interview questions about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job. Succeeding in an interview situation is all about using the opportunities given to you by the interviewer. This comes down to understanding how to give open answers.
  3. Look the part 
    Appearances shouldn't matter, but the plain fact is that you are often judged before you've even uttered a word. Make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes fit correctly and that your accessories are subtle. Dressing one level above the job you're applying for shows a desire to succeed.
  4. Stay calm 
    Good preparation is the key to staying in control. Plan your route, allowing extra time for any unexpected delays, and get everything you need to take with you ready the night before. Remember to speak clearly, smile and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and they may be nervous too!
  5. Ask questions 
    You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. Prepare a minimum of five questions, some which will give you more information about the job, and some which delve deeper into the culture and goals of the company.


Succeeding in a job hunt is about making the most out of every opportunity, on paper and in person. Keep that in mind, and you will succeed.

Good luck!

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