Archive for February, 2013

Ten questions you can expect when attending an interview.


It is really important to be organised your interview and we have popped together a list of 10 questions we think are quite common to be asked in you interview.


1)  Could you tell me why you applied for this job and what relevant experience you have in this field?

2)  Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years? How do you set out your goals and how do you expect to achieve them.

3)  What is your previous experience and why it is relevant to this role?

4)  What training have you had in previous employment? Have you asked for further training and if so why?

5)  What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job and how would you prioritise your time?

6)  How would you describe your personality and what benefit has that had with your choice of career?

7)  Have you got an achievement you are really proud of? What is it and why?

8)   What experiences have you had in your career that have been difficult to deal with? How did you overcome that situation?

9)   If you could introduce one extra element into this role what would it be and why?

10)   In your personal life what have you done to further your learning? Have you got a hobby that shows initiative?


So there you are 10 questions you can be prepared to answer!


Don’t forget to leave some time to go through your answers on the evening before the interview.


Have you come across any unusual interview questions? We’d love to hear!



A short blog with some CV advice!


Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the first thing your potential new employer will see. They will glance over your credentials before even contemplating giving you an interview. Therefore your CV really needs to stand out!

How do you do that?

Your CV is essentially selling you. You want to make it clear, concise and appealing. First and foremost, your CV should be typed in Times New Roman (or very similar font) of size 12. This is legible and recognised world wide. It should be neat and fluid in its layout. Think of a news paper – you have a headline at the top of the front page. Your CV is your front page, so the headline should be your name and contact details. Following on from the headline, you have a subheading. This is a way for the most important news to be seen. So what is your most important news, that is current and relevant to the position you are applying for? You can header this as your Personal Statement. Just keep it short and to the point. This could be summarised in two to three lines.

Now you have the employers attention, you should state your qualifications, certificates, or licences most applicable to the role. What is it that your employer is looking for?  You don’t have to state here that you studied ten GCSE’s and A-Levels if it’s not relevant. For example, when applying for a Journalist role all the editor wants to see is your Words Per Hour Speed and National Certificate of the Training of Journalists exam results. He isn’t interested that you passed grade four in Piano when you were thirteen. This could be a useful bit of information within an interview however, especially if you were applying for a music Journalist position.

It’s always important to show your employment history, but only as long as it is relevant to the position. Often, it is advisable to limit this to the last four relevant jobs . Not only does this save you space, but you can list two to three bullet points of your responsibilities that were integral to the role.

Your CV needs to sell your ability to fit the role the employer is looking for. It is only a stepping stone to getting you the all-important interview. It is in the interview that you can expand on your experiences and knowledge of the subject if required. That is your time to shine and to let the employer see your personality.

Most importantly, check your spelling and get some one else to read it through. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps in your experience. When I was a recruitment consultant, we’d often assume a gap in employment history means either a) sitting at home eating biscuits and watching Jeremy Kyle, or b) banged up in prison.

Here endeth today’s lesson.


Guest Blog: Top tips for job searching


This week we have a guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers who offers advice on creative job searching techniques:

The best way to search for a job is to be as creative as possible.
Statistics indicate that if you only apply for advertised jobs, you should anticipate a 96% failure rate. This sounds harsh, but it is due to the competition that adverts attract. A much more positive statistic is that approximately 45% of jobs are not advertised. So, what can you do to increase your chances of securing a job that you want?


Some top tips…

 Try speculative job search – this involves writing to organisations where you would like to work. Send a targeted covering letter, your CV and a reference from your last employer (if you have one). This works best if you research the name of the Manager or Head of Department that you would like to work for.

 Post your letter. Nowadays, email is the most popular form of communication, so you will get more of an impact if you send a letter.

 Consider Agencies. There are Agents that are sector specific, i.e: catering, teaching, building etc;. Find out which ones might be able to help you and register with at least 2 or 3.

 Research individual company websites. Often you will find a list of their vacancies. You can bookmark the links and check the organisations each week.

 Some large organisations for example, Hospitals or Universities, will have their own employment agencies that you can register with.

 Let people know you are looking for work, friends will often have links with people you might not know about.

 Networking is very powerful. If you know there is an Education Fair taking place in your region and you are looking for a job in Education, go and talk to people, get cards and email addresses so that you can follow up with letters of request later.

 Use local or regional job websites but beware of the big ones. Some of these are after your details for marketing purposes and will sell their databases. However, some of the local or regional organisations can be excellent.

 The national government site ‘directgov’, initially developed by the Job Centre is extremely good and often has immediate vacancies.

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: or visit


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