The one question I am always asked when preparing a candidate for an interview is “how do I answer the weakness question?” The worst reaction you can have to this question is to say I don’t have a weakness. Everyone has a weakness and the reason the interviewer is asking this question is to see how you act outside your comfort zone. People often make the common mistake of trying to turn a negative into a positive. An example of this would be I’m a perfectionist or I work too hard. These answers are boring and show the interviewer you have put very little thought into his/her question. Also you are not actually answering the question you’re just trying to put a clever spin on it. Another mistake candidates make is being too honest. Never mention a weakness that you have if it is going to stop you from getting the job. So don’t answer “I’m lazy” or that “I’m always late” as this is not what your potential new employer wants to hear. The trick to answering this is in the same way you would answer any interview question and that’s by preparing your answer in advance. It can be very difficult to talk about your flaws in a stressful situation like an interview so make sure you spend time preparing your answer. These are a few ways to best answer the weakness question: 1. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the jobDon’t pick a skill or requirement that is on the job spec that you don’t have and say it is your main weakness. This will only put doubt into the interviewers head. 2. Pick a weakness that you can developFor this type of answer you might think of an example where you had a weakness but developed it over the course of your time in prior employment. 3. Describe your weakness in a concise wayDon’t go into loads of detail on this question. They are asking you your weakness so be brief and don’t come across as negative. A common answer that candidates often use when asked the weakness question is on their delegation skills. Here you can mention a time when you used to have the mentality that only you could do the job but over time you realised that it was actually slowing the work down and by delegating to other staff members the job was done quicker. This answer is perfect to give but it depends on what job you are going for. If you are going for a managerial role where managing and delegating work will be part of your job description then don’t use delegating as your weakness. Every question in an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so it is important you never miss a genuine opportunity and the weakness question is no different. Treat it like you would any interview questions that you find hard and prepare your answer.
Face to face interviews can be scary, but with the added pressure of presenting during an interview anyone can become a nervous wreck. Here are our tips to help you ace your interview presentation.Structure Your PresentationA strong structure is the most important thing to get right. The aim is to keep the interviewer’s attention through presenting engaging and relevant content. Plan out what you want to say through brainstorming. Draw a map showing how each point links to the next. Make sure the points you are making fit within the companies aim and objectives, thus showing the research you have done. The key thing is not to waffle. A basic outline for any presentation should have:Introduction: Give a brief overview of the subject of the presentation and what you wish to coverElaborate: Discuss the subject in as much detail as time will allow using as little slides as possibleConclusion: Sum up what you have spoken about adding in your thoughts where necessaryN.B. A useful slide to include would be a “Why Me?” slide. At the end of the day you want them to hire you for the job so this should be one point they take home.Know Your AudienceResearch the interviewers and try to understand their roles and interests. Tailor your presentation to resonate with their specific needs and expectations. This shows your understanding of the company and demonstrates your ability to customize your approach. Be VisualUse your slides to keep the panel engaged as reading from slides will send anyone into a daydream. Use bullet points and images as much as possible to keep your audience attentive. Other things to include:Provide hand-outs for them to read and to take away (but give them out at the end!)Have inviting body language (do not cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets)Do not be afraid to use gestures (it will draw their attention back to you)Use Examples and StoriesIllustrate your points with relevant examples or anecdotes. Sharing real-life scenarios helps to make your presentation more relatable and memorable. Practice Makes PerfectPreparation is a vital part of any interview and this will help overcome nerves. You should be given enough time to prepare your presentation in advance. Use this time wisely and practice until you know everything off by heart. Additional things to perfect include tone of voice and gestures. Worried you might trip over your words? Ask a friend to help you practise your presentation until you’re completely confident. The key is to talk naturally as this will show the panel that you understand your area and that you are the best person for the job. Pronounce Every Word ClearlyWhen you are nervous there is a temptation to speak fast to quicken the whole process; you must resist this. Add commas to your notes to signal where to take breaths and regularly pause to collect your thoughts. Speaking clearly will ensure that the panel understand your points and won’t be interrupting the presentation to ask questions. Eye ContactPresentations can be a lot harder than face to face interviews as the interviewee is the main talker. One sure way to ensure that people stay engaged is to maintain eye contact using friendly eyes. It is important to shift eye contact to everyone on the panel to keep everyone engaged and listening.Show Enthusiasm and ConfidenceDemonstrate your passion and genuine interest in the position and the company. Be confident in your delivery and showcase your enthusiasm throughout the presentation.There Will Be QuestionsDoing a presentation doesn’t mean that you will not be asked more questions. It is still an interview and the interviewer/s will still have questions to ask. They will more than likely ask about you and your presentation so be prepared. For further interview advice and/or to discuss career opportunities call 01-4744624 or send a confidential email to Alan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your CV is your sales document. Make sure to target your CV for each job you apply for. Your CV should mirror the job spec of the job you are applying for, ticking all of the requirements for the role. Create a first draftWrite all your qualifications, experience, employment history, personal history, hobbies and interests, including all relevant information under headings. Now write down everything you’ve gained personally from these experiences – skills, insights, personal growth (in paragraphs). At this stage just write as many pages as you need to get the brainstorming process done – only later on will we be concerned with cutting it down. Filter out the unimportantYou can’t tell potential employers your entire history, but you can highlight the important details for them: these will include skills, insights and abilities that you have been able to develop, as well as your academic qualifications and what you gained from your studies and experience. Keep it conciseEliminate unnecessary details.HR departments have lots to do, so don’t make the mistake of asking them to read through an unnecessarily long CV. HR departments won’t read a lengthy CV if they are short on time, short on patience, or have a lot of CVs to wade through.Remember that there may be a pile of CVs a foot high for some positions!CV’s should be around two pages in length, although it may be longer if you have to describe a lot of relevant work experience. Even a two page CV is of no advantage if it’s full of information that isn’t reasonably applicable to the position you’re qualified or applying for. Use the space only if you need it to fully disclose your accomplishments. Include the Basic informationEven if you have entered this information into this site, you should still include it on your CV. When the recruiter makes the call to say you have been accepted, your CV is the only document he or she will hold in their hands. Make sure it at least has all your personal information such as:NameAddressTelephone NumberDate of BirthNationality, including visa and work permit statusLanguages (level for both written and verbalDriving License (if you have one) State long term objectivesWhat are your short and long term career aims and objectives? Do you have any preferences for the type of work you want to undertake? (Don’t be too restrictive. It is better to be general about your career aspirations at this stage, for example, Business Related, IT). Don’t include short term objectivesYour short-term objectives should be clearly articulated in your cover letter. If you do include objectives, be specific. Vague statements, such as “Looking to utilise my marketing skills” or “seeking a rewarding position” add nothing to a CV and may in fact make you appear insincere. Include your Employment historyAll your employment is important whether it is part-time, temporary, voluntary, vacation work or Saturday only. It should be presented in reverse chronological order, most recent first.Give dates, name of employer, job titles etc. Include your Education historyList your most recent qualifications first, including:Dates, Institution – Name of Degree Course etcDegree Classification. It is not necessary to list all the modules you have studiedTechnical qualificationsAchievements / Positions of Responsibility Include Hobbies / InterestsBe Positive! Use “power words” such as “developed,” “managed,” and “designed” to emphasise your accomplishments. Stick your chest out and don’t be afraid to tell people what you’ve done. Produce a well-organised professional documentYou’ll generate a better response from your curriculum vitae if it is well organised and is packed with relevant information to match and support your professional, academic or career objective. Be honest!There is a huge difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it. A falsified CV can be easily spotted by a recruiter or employer (if not immediately then certainly through the interview process), and if it doesn’t prevent you from getting the job, it will cost you the job later on. Use good document layoutMake your CV easy on the eyes. Use normal margins (one inch at the top and bottom, one and a quarter inch on the sides) and don’t cram your information onto the page.Allow for some “white space” between the different sections.Avoid unusual or exotic font styles; use simple fonts with a professional look.Do not use more than two fonts throughout the entire document. If you aren’t sure of the fonts to use, try a sans-serif font like Arial or Helvetica for the headings, and a serif font such as Times Roman for the rest of the text. Put the good stuff at the startOne big mistake that job seekers often make is to list very important data in the lower sections of their job descriptions. As you compile statements for your CV, prioritise them by importance, impressiveness and relevance to the job you want. Remember that a strong statement, which uses power words and quantifies, will affect every statement under it. Re-read!Read through your CV. Ask someone else to read through your CV carefully once you are finished. When you have been working on your CV for hours, it can be difficult to spot the errors.
Let’s be honest here, the first week of job hunting can feel pretty demoralising, spending hours, days or weeks applying for jobs whilst receiving little to no response from employers. I myself, have been personally guilty of the somewhat selfish mindset when faced with a lack of an immediate response during my days applying for positions, in a similar narrative to ‘Yes, I know you’re a massive company and you’re very busy, but please respond to me!’ The fact of the matter is that employers receive hundreds of new applications every day and must give time to all potential candidates who have shown an interest in the company. Of course, the way to stand out in this particular crowd is to make your CV as eye catching, optimised and applicable to the role as possible, but that’s a blog post for another time. So how do you stay motivated during the job search? You’re Not Alone, We’ve All Been There Everybody has to start with one foot on the ladder before they can start to climb and all successful men and women in business would have started exactly where you are. The payoff with spending time applying for jobs is landing yourself a position where you can flourish, feel motivated and ultimately progress to your career goal. Though things may seem bleak or monotonous right now, have faith in your own self worth and abilities, and trust that the right employer will recognise your skills and potential. The Hard Part is Over Of course, many would consider the most challenging part of the job application process to be the interview, but we aren’t worried about that step just yet! The most important thing to remember is that at this point, your professional materials are in the best shape they can be. You’ve spent time making sure your LinkedIn is professional, your CV is in the best state, and your cover letter is engaging and conveys all your passion you have for the role in question. Perfecting these will have taken time, with a lot of trial, error, re-writing and designing. So with these fully optimised tools at your disposal, you can apply to jobs with confidence that your personal marketing material is bound to turn heads and catch eyes. Set Your Goals By FAR, the best way to avoid getting demotivated or bogged down with repeated job applications and searching is to set yourself a control or goal to make sure you’re not spending every hour of every day at your computer. Namely, a set time or set number that you can work towards. This could be a set number of hours you spend searching for and applying for jobs, or perhaps a set number of applications you can complete each day. By spreading out your time, you’re taking steps towards your future career without compromising on your downtime, which will result in you feeling less demotivated and worn out. For example, you may choose to complete 7 applications a day. That adds up to nearly 50 applications in a week, which will drastically increase your chances of a response! Switch Up Your Location Spending every hour of every day in the same space can lead to cabin fever setting in pretty quickly. So, break out of the routine and find yourself a new setting to complete your applications. Spend some time outdoors if the weather is conducive. Take your laptop into a coffee shop and work from there. You’ll find the benefits of being around others very motivating and being surrounded by life and conversation will stop you feeling lethargic. Don’t have a laptop? Download jobs apps like LinkedIn or Indeed to your smartphone! You can apply to jobs through these apps via an uploaded CV attached to your profile, or even save jobs applications to complete the next time you’re sat at a computer. Surround Yourself With A Supporting Network Never underestimate the value of surrounding yourself with like-minded, motivated people. The positive energy of strong supporting friends or family that want you to succeed will be essential in helping you take the first steps. These people will remind you of your own merits and bring the best out of you, which will stop any feelings of negativity or demotivation creeping in. Listen To Motivational Materials We all like to fill time in our day with audible media, be it during a walk, or a commute, or even just as passive listening in our homes to fill the room with a sound. So why not switch out your playlist for some motivational content. There are many different forms of communicating information than just reading books about business, so do some research, find people in your industry you identify with, and engage in their content, be it podcasts, lectures, talks or even just their Twitter feed. You’ll be surprised how one TED Talk can strike a chord with you and give you a new burst of motivation and energy. And Most Importantly, Be Your Own Biggest Supporter Everyone has the capacity to be WAY too hard on themselves sometimes. When things don’t go to plan, or life throws us a curveball, we often give ourselves a rough time. Recognise your own self-worth, and constantly remind yourself that each day is another step in the right direction to achieving your goals. Visualise where you want to be and remember your value doesn’t decrease just because someone hasn’t noticed it yet. Keep on going until the right person recognises your potential and soon enough, you’ll look back at this process and see that the hours spent job hunting all paid off in the end.