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Preparing For Job Interviews

A bit like exams, job interviews can cause you to feel nervous as the day approaches.


However, you’ll find these start to fade somewhat if you are well prepared,

and can help you secure a job offer.


Writing an Effective Resume

Present your resume well and it can be the tool that propels you to the top of the shortlist; present it poorly and you could be rejected before you even get to interview stage. Your resume is a marketing tool designed to sell you to potential employers, and with this in mind it must tell them everything they need to know about you in a concise way.

We have compiled the following hints and tips designed to help your resume really stand out from the crowd:

BE SPECIFIC

  • Be specific in the way that you list the skills on your resume. For example, refer to yourself as an ‘expert in underwriting performance management’ rather than possessing ‘excellent communication skills’.

  • Outline what makes you different from other candidates, not only in terms of your experience but also in your style and approach to work.

  • Tailor your resume depending on who will be reading it. We know that the Insurance Industry loves acronyms but remember to remove technical jargon if you are submitting it to a non-technical person and add it in if a technical expert will be reading it.

  • Study the person specification and work out how your experience meets the criteria set out. Recruiters are rigorous in matching candidates with the criteria of specific posts so reflect this in your resume.

  • Support your list of achievements with some written or numerical evidence. Also, remember to include Authority Limits and Portfolio Size where appropriate.

THE RIGHT PRESENTATION

  • Present your details in reverse chronological order with your most recent job first. Also, there is no need to list every position you have held; not everyone will want to read that you were an Operations Support Officer in 1976 if you are a Chief Executive now.

  • Include education and personal information to the rear of your resume.

  • Use a decent size font and neutral typeface that is easy to read.

  • Do not include photos as some email systems will simply bounce back any documents with digital images attached.

  • Use a professional sounding email address; don’t just borrow one from the kids!

We have compiled the following hints and tips designed to help you prepare for your interview and again really stand out from the crowd:

RESEARCH THE COMPANY

Have you visited the company website and do you have a clear understanding of?
  • what their services

  • where they are based

  • what are they known for?

  • how big they are (in terms of revenue, employee size etc.)

  • who their main competitors are

ROLE REQUIREMENTS

  • Have you read the job description thoroughly?

  • Can you talk about at least 2 key professional achievements relevant to the role?

  • Have you prepared a list of 3 questions to ask the interviewer about the company or role?

  • Do you know the name, job title and role/responsibilities of the interviewer?

INTERVIEW PREPARATION

Before the interview

  • Take a common sense, approach and make sure that you know the time and location of your appointment, as well as the name and title of the person who will be interviewing you.

  • Write this information down and remember to take a map as an added precaution. If you are going to be late call ahead and let the interviewer know.

During the interview

  • Have confidence in your research and preparation. Relax.

  • Listen carefully to the questions and keep your responses concise and positive.

  • Use practical examples to illustrate your skills and show how they suit the role and the company.

  • Maintain eye contact and remain attentive throughout.

After the interview

  • Write down a short summary of the interview while it is still fresh in your mind.

  • Note the areas in which you feel you went well, as well as any questions you found difficult to answer.

  • This will help you to prepare for a possible second interview, or with future interviews for other roles.

  • Immediately call your Blake Oliver consultant and provide feedback.

  • Your consultant needs to know your views on the interview and the role before contacting the employer.

  • Relax!  Regardless of whether you think the interview went well or not, there is nothing more you can do now.​

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