You’ve found the perfect job and you are all ready to apply. But how can you make your application stand out and have a successful interview?
I recently spoke with Jon Graham who is a GIS and Geospatial Recruiter at Triad with over 16 years of experience. I asked him what makes a great CV and sets someone apart in an interview. His answers are well worth reading.
How To Write A CV
1. Tailor Your CV To The Job
One of the most important aspects of your CV is that it is tailored to the role in question. As Jon aptly put it, you should never lie on your CV but you should tailor your CV to match the job description. One of the worst things you can do is send out a generic CV to multiple jobs hoping one will offer you an interview. You must take the time to write a bespoke CV.
For instance, imagine a company states that they are looking for someone who has experience using a Leica RTC360. If you have genuine experience using a Leica RTC360 you need to emphasise this. Don’t be generic and say you have experience using laser scanners if you can afford to be more specific.
2. Consider A Key Skills Section
One way to highlight your skills which relate to the role is to include a Key Skills Section. This consists of around 6 – 8 bullet points which you consider to be your key skills, in particular those which are relevant to the role. Suppose you are applying for a job as a land surveyor. Your key skills section may look a little like this:
Chartered Surveyor MRICS with over 5 years experience
Experience conducting land and measured building surveys
Proficient using Leica survey equipment in particular Leica P40
Experience using AutoCAD and LSS
Able to manage projects from award through to delivery
Experience in meeting with clients and providing quotes
3. Consider The Format Of Your CV
How you format your CV will depend on your experience and the role you are applying for. If you have no commercial experience, you might want to place the focus of your CV on your education, whereas a more experienced person may want to highlight their work experience.
You might begin your CV with an opening paragraph, this can be a good way to introduce yourself. However, try to avoid being overly specific about what you are looking for.
Then you can go into a key skills section, followed by either education and / or work experience.
When talking about education or work, consider breaking your experience down into smaller points or short paragraphs as it makes it easier to read, and helps the recruiter quickly understand your experience.
Finally you can add in some personal details such as any hobbies or interests, to give your CV a bit more character.
4. Be Consistent
Especially if you are a graduate, where you are competing against people with very similar CVs, it is important to have good presentation. Here is a quick checklist:
- Same font type and size
- Same formatting
- Spelling and grammar
Hopefully by following those tips you will have landed yourself an interview, so how do you now stand out – especially if your interview is online.
Jon’s advice here is that it is all in the preparation. The more prepared you are the better chances you stand of succeeding. Here are some practical tips he gave as to how you can prepare.
5. Research the company
Try and read a few recent articles about the company and memorise some of their recent work. If you get a chance to drop this into the interview it really can help set you apart and show your interest in working at that company.
6. Research your interviewers
Have a look at your interviewers on LinkedIn, learn a little about them and their experience. There may be some things which you have in common.
7. Test your equipment
If you are doing a remote interview make sure that your equipment works! Do a test Zoom or Teams call with a family member. Make sure that your microphone and camera are working as you want them to.
This will help to keep you relaxed in the interview. Also make an effort to be well presented (as though it were in person) and try to find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
8. Prepare the questions
If you are wondering what questions you may be asked, you could try and find out what the format of the interview will be – will it be a relaxed conversation, a technical conversation or one where you will be asked to give examples of when you have demonstrated a specific skill.
To find out, Jon recommends asking the company or interviewer if they can let you know the format of the interview ahead of time. For example you might email them saying:
“So that I can prepare for the interview as best I can, could you please let me know the format of the interview”
You may not get an answer but it will show that you are keen to put your best foot forward.
I hope that these tips have helped you and I wish you the best of luck in finding the next step in your career. If you want to get in touch with Jon you can email him at: Jon.Graham@triad.co.uk
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