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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 Presentation A 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 cover Elaborate: Discuss the subject in as much detail as time will allow using as little slides as possible Conclusion: Sum up what you have spoken about adding in your thoughts where necessary N.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. Be Visual Use 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) Practice Makes Perfect Preparation 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 Clearly When 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 Contact Presentations 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. There Will Be Questions Doing 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
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 job Don’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 develop For 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 way Don’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.
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 draft Write 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 unimportant You 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 qualifcations and what you gained from your studies and experience. Keep it concise Eliminate 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 information Even 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: Name Address Telephone Number Date of Birth Nationality, including visa and work permit status Languages (level for both written and verbal Driving License (if you have one) State long term objectives What 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 objectives Your 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 history All 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 history List your most recent qualifications first, including: Dates, Institution – Name of Degree Course etc Degree Classification. It is not necessary to list all the modulesyou have studied Technical qualifications Achievements / Positions of Responsibility Include Hobbies / Interests Be 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 document You’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 layout Make 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 start One 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.
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