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Know matter how good your qualifications, experience or skills are, if your CV does not read well then all of this is in vane. Your CV is primarily a selling tool and as potential employers receive many CVs every day, your CV needs to inspire an employer to read on and hopefully meet you in person.

Below are just a few handy hints to help you write a good CV and get that all important 1st interview:

  • Personal Details only need to include you full name, postal details and contacts details mobile and email address. Remember to give a number where you can be easily reached.
  • Under Personal Profile, you should give a brief synopsis using bullets points on your education, experience and any other points you feel might get an employers attention. Many employers read this part first before deciding to read on, so you should get this part to read well and maximise your chances of proceeding to the next stage – 1st interview.
  • Mention PC skills and any computer packages you are proficient in
  • Under Education, you should again start with your most recent qualifications going back to others in the past. Be carefully to include only relevant qualifications. Remember to include dates.
  • Always include courses that you are currently in progress with including estimated completition dates.
  • If you have you Leaving Cert or A Levels you do not need to include other qualifications leading to these final 2nd level exams
  • Under Employment History, you should start with your most recent job or current job giving details on your position, duties and responsibilities. Don’t forget to include name of employer and dates of employment and length of service. In general you should provide more information on your current or most recent employer.
  • Always provide information with respect to responsibilities, task undertook, general duties, projects worked on and achievements
  • If you have more than one role within the company, structure this to include the dates and separate duties
  • Under References, always give your most recent employers, personal reference are useful for character references but are of no use to a potential employer. Always contact your referee prior to giving them as a potential referee. Always include 2 references on your CV.


  • Restrict your CV to 3 pages
  • Start your careers with your most recent employment
  • Tailor CV to the job applied for – do this in the personal profile
  • Use Bullet Points
  • Spell Check your CV
  • List your Achievements
  • Check Dates


  • Leave GAPS in your employment history
  • Make up information ie job titles/responsibilities/expand employment dates
  • Include referees you have not spoken to with prior to printing their details
  • Expand on why you are or want to leave current job – save for interview
  • Include your photograph as it may lead to some kind of discrimination be it age, gender or personal charteristics


Now that you have got to interview stage you are more than half way there to getting that all important job. Job interviewing is not an exact science, however we feel that the following points may help you maximise your chances of getting through to the second interview stage and getting offered the job.


  • Remember, first impressions count.  No matter what the job is - always dress to impress.  Wear comfortable clothing, if it’s a warm day, bring your jacket with you and put it on the back of the chair. Remember to dress appropiately for the role.


  • Know the job you are going for. Take a few minutes before the interview in the car or on the bus and review your cv and the job spec. What is similar? What can you expand on?
  • Do as much research as possible into the organisation you have applied to, and into the available position. Try also to find out who is interviewing you, and their positions in the organisation.
  • This might sound obvious, but make sure you know exactly where the interview is taking place, and leave yourself a wide time margin for getting there. Arriving late and in a sweat is a bad start to any interview.
  • Try and get the name of the people that are interviewing you prior to the day, it looks more professional when you call people by name
  • It’s a good idea to bring a bag or briefcase with several copies of your CV and some examples of your work and references if you have them. It makes you look confident in your previous employers.
  • Review your CV before the interview, and be careful not to contradict any of its content.
  • Always check with referees to see if they are still contactable before giving their names to potential employers.
  • Shake hands, always express a high interest in the role before you leave.  What can you offer the company that different than the next person.


  • Remember that an interviewer is rarely looking for a simple Yes or No answer, so avoid them. Try to answer clearly and concisely, all the time bringing in your own ‘selling points’. Use ‘for example’ and speak in the ‘I ‘ term.
  • If you get stuck and don’t know the answer to a question, it is probably better to be honest and ask for further clarification on the question or explain that you do not know the answer.
  • A popular question is ‘what are your strong points?’ try to have something appropriate prepared. As for ‘weak points’, handle this one with care. Try to find a negative which is also a positive, e.g. ‘I’m inclined to be a perfectionist and sometimes expect too much of others’ or ‘ I always like to complete all tasks before the end of the day, however this sometimes causes me to be late home ‘ etc.
  • While you need to give full and detailed answers, don’t forget to listen to the interviewer too.
  • Don’t ever criticize your current or past employers. Try to always be positive and forward looking
  • If you are given the opportunity to ask questions, avoid self-serving questions like ‘how long will my lunch break be?’ Rather use this chance to show how much you know about the organisation.
  • Do not be the one to bring up salary at the interview. There will be plenty of time to talk about that if you’re offered the job. If the subject does come up, say that salary is not a priority and you’re open to negotiation.
  • Even if you are not interested in the position with the company, do not indicate this and leave the interview – you will never know what opportunities will be available in the future that might suit your experience and qualifications.
  • If you are very interested in the role, be sure to convey this before leaving, ensuring that you thank them

Company Information
Always have this before going into an interview. Look up their website, or ring the receptionist and ask them to send out information.

  • If they ask you if you know any information about the company, tell them what you know. Also, no harm at the end of your conversation to ask them something about the company, they always would like you to be interested in the company.
Smart Careers and Training. Davenham House, Weatherwell Industrial Estate, Clondalkin, Dublin 22. T: 01 6612374 F: 01 4570934
E: info@smartcareers.ie