Navigating the jobs market can be a daunting, but with the right approach to CV and interview preparation, you can maximise your chances of success.

Here are my top five tips for making a CV stand out and to make a lasting impression in an interview.

CV preparation

1 CV format: aim for a neat, two-page CV. Use clear headings – personal profile, key skills, work history, education and interests – and bullet points. Good CV templates can be sourced online.

2 Highlight work achievements, not just duties: as well as listing work duties, highlight key work achievements and how you have added value. This will demonstrate what you can bring to the role you are applying for.

3 Mind the gap: do not leave gaps in the CV. If there are breaks in work history dates, include and explain them, eg travelling from January to May 2023.

4 Tailor your CV to match the job description: tailor your CV to match the job description, highlighting relevant skills and experience which match role requirements.

5 Proofread: typos or grammatical errors in CVs can suggest poor attention to detail. Read and re-read your CV, check spelling and grammar and ask someone else to do a final check on it.

Sarah Buckley, HR manager, Irish Farmers Journal.

Interview preparation: the road to your dream job

1 Research the company and role: look at the company’s website and social channels, recent news, attending industry events, etc. Review the job description to get an understanding of the role, responsibilities, skills and experience requirements.

2 Prepare answers to interview questions: these typically include questions on education/career history, skills and experience related to the role, motivation for the role, salary expectation, etc.

3 Prepare your own questions: prepare some questions about the role, company culture, career opportunities etc, to show that you are interested and engaged.

4 Dress for success: first impressions count. Consider the role and the industry and dress appropriately. A suit or dress may not be required, but a neat appearance is essential and business casual is probably best for an office-based role.

5 Be confident and be yourself: at the interview, be confident, stay calm and be yourself to showcase your personality as well as your skillset. Nerves are natural but these can be minimised with good preparation and a friendly manner.

Best of luck with your job search and landing your dream role.

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