Hints and tips?

Getting your dream job doesn't have to be difficult.  There are plenty of resources available online to help you with your search, but to get you started we’ve provided some top tips below:

CV and Covering Letters

Your CV and covering letter are the first chance you will have to impress your prospective employer.

You should aim to keep your CV to two pages long and ensure that the information is clearly presented, easy to following and free from spelling mistakes.

The key areas you should cover are:

  • Personal details – include your name and contact details
  • Education/Qualifications – include all details of your education and qualifications from GCSE’s upwards, listing the most recent first.
  • Work experience – summarise each job role you have undertaken, starting with the most recent and clearly stating the employer name, employment dates and a description of the role.
  • Interests/Achievements – summarise anything else which you feel is relevant to your application.
  • Personal profile (optional) - this should be a short summary of your attributes and specific career aims and should always be in the third person.

Covering letters

Your covering letter should always be tailored to the role you are applying to and is your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation and industry.

You should ensure you outline why you are attracted to the role and use the opportunity to highlight your selling points.

You should try to fit your letter to one side of A4 and also address it to a named person.
Ensure your spelling and grammar are correct and that your tone is professional.

When applying by email, add the letter as an attachment rather than using the body of the email.


There are a variety of interview types so it is a good idea to find out which type you are going to have so that you can prepare.

The competency based interview is the most frequently used and looks back on your past experience for examples of when you have demonstrated specific competencies such as communication and influencing skills.  The best method to follow is the ‘STAR’ method, to think about the Situation, the Task, the Action and the Results.

Many firms now use a telephone interview as part of the selection process.  You should consider this as just as important as a face-to-face interview and ensure you have prepared yourself thoroughly.  Make sure you are in a room where you won’t be disturbed.

With face-to-face interviews remember that first impressions count, so ensure you are smartly presented, look confident and shake hands firmly.

Preparation is key - ensure you know your application form/CV inside and out and why you want the particular job you are applying for.

Ensure you research the company thoroughly and be prepared to talk about the company in the interview. 

Demonstrate enthusiasm, drive and commitment and make sure you maintain eye contact.

Have a number of questions prepared.

Don’t under any circumstances criticise your current or past employers, fidget, swear or draw attention to your weaknesses.

Assessment days

An assessment day is an important part of the recruitment process for many employers; this is because an assessment day gives employers the opportunity to assess individuals in a variety of situations. 

Assessment days generally require you to participate in both individual and group exercises.  There may be tests, group exercises, presentations and interviews.

For group exercises recruiters will be looking for how you work as part of a team.  They will be looking to see if you are able to follow instructions and manage your time appropriately.  You should ensure you get involved but that you are not overbearing.  Make your points diplomatically and try to encourage everyone in the group to have their say. 

Presentations can be overwhelming but in fact they are your opportunity to shine as you generally have free reign over the subject you choose and how you present it. 

You should consider carefully the topic you choose.  It should be something you are enthusiastic about but do consider your audience.  A general presentation about your favourite football team wouldn’t necessarily be the best choice, but a discussion about the business strategy of your favourite football team might be a very good option. 

If you can use visual aids then you should do so, but don’t overload PowerPoint slides with too much information.

Make sure you know your topic well enough to be able to answer questions, don’t rush through your presentation and keep eye contact.  If you lose your place, take a deep breath and resume.

Psychometric tests

The aim of psychometric tests is to provide employers with a reliable method of selecting the most suitable job applicants.  They aim to measure intelligence, attributes and personality and provide an insight into how well you work with other people, how well you handle stress, and whether you will be able to cope with the intellectual demands of the job.

Generally psychometric tests fall into two categories; personality and aptitude - which may include numerical and verbal reasoning tests.