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CV/Interview advice

There is no such thing as a perfect CV and there are many different schools of thought on the best approach. However, a CV must be easy to read, structured and contain the relevant information. Your People First consultant will be able to advise you individually on how to write a CV and its content and layout. However, here are a few pointers to get you started:

  • Presentation

    • Use only one typeface

    • Use bullet points where possible

    • Keep the layout clean and organised

    • Limit your CV to a maximum of two sides of A4

    • Print your CV with black ink on white paper

    • Double check your CV for spelling and grammatical errors and ask a friend to check your CV before you send it out.

  • Content

    • Make sure your CV is factual and concise

    • Back up your skills with examples when possible

    • Always be honest about facts including qualifications

    • Provide all your work history and explain any gaps – never try to cover up any gaps by tweaking the dates

  • Layout

    • The most important information should appear on the first page

    • Write a personal profile of yourself to highlight your strengths, achivement and qualities (this should be about 50 words)

    • Include details of your education and qualifications, as well as names of schools and results achieved

    • Detail your work history in a chronological order, starting with your present or most recent job

  • Information at your fingertips – key details you need to know

    There is no guaranteed way to ensure success, but your People First can help. We will provide you with all the information you need prior to interview, so that you will be fully equipped to perform to the best of your ability:

    • Contact names and titles of the interviewers

    • Dates and times of the interview

    • Full job description

    • Company background information and web address

    • Directions or a map

    • Information about the interview process – will there be tests? How many people will you meet? How long will it take?

  • Planning for Success – do your research!

    • Make sure that you have done some research on your potential employer. You can look at the company website, Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn profile

    • Download a map

    • Many employers favor competency-based interviews. They will be evaluating your responses to see that you can demonstrate you have the core competencies required for the role. Think of good examples to back up your statements and prove your suitability for the role

  • The Interview

    • Be punctual – we recommend arriving about 10 minutes early

    • Make a good impression: Start with a firm handshake, maintain eye contact throughout and make sure that your body language is confident, but not too relaxed

    • You should be forthcoming with information, but also ensure that your answers are succinct and to the point

    • Support your answers with examples from your own work experience; relate your skills to the job description

    • Always be positive and enthusiastic. There is always something positive in even the most negative experience. Don’t be too critical of former colleagues or employers. It may set alarm bells ringing for the interviewer that it is you, not your colleagues, who are difficult to work with

    • Prepare questions for the interviewer

    • If you are interested in the position, don’t be afraid to let the interviewer know. Enthusiasm can be very persuasive. You could even write a letter after the interview, to reiterate your interest

    • Most of all, try to relax and be yourself and remember that this is a two-way process – the client has to impress you, too!

  • The follow up – next steps

    • It is vital to call your consultant to let him/her know your feedback as soon as you possibly can

    • If you are interested in the role, then make sure you tell us – and tell us sooner rather than later!

    • Clients will ask us for feedback, so if you haven’t called us, they may assume that you’re not interested

    • If you have any questions or concerns, then we can find out more for you

    • If you decide the position is not for you, let us know quickly so we can have a fuller understanding of what you’re looking for. We will also inform the company on your behalf

  • Advice for Candidates with Japanese as a Second Language or Japan-related Experience

    What level of Japanese is required?

    The level of Japanese necessary varies according to the role. Native level Japanese would usually be required for customer service roles.  Fluency in Japanese ( equivalent to Level 1 of the Japanese Proficiency test) could qualify you for a role in translation, helpdesk, localisation, sales or procurement. A good working knowledge of Japanese (equivalent to Level 2 of the Japanese Proficiency test) could qualify you for a role in localisation, liaising with head office in Japan or a PA role. But rest assured, there are plenty of roles, where Japanese cultural affinity (gained by spending time in Japan or studying Japanese) will be sufficient.

    Japanese Plus a Skill

    Although proficiency in Japanese can open doors,  employers are looking for additional skills. Many fresh graduates or JET returnees possess other skills but fail to market them effectively.
    These might include:

    • Degree level equivalent in a European language: There is an increasing demand for candidates with European language skills as Japanese companies often choose to set up their European headquarters in the UK

    • A vocational or technical first degree discipline such as Business, IT or Engineering

    • Numeracy and analytical reasoning demonstrated by ´A´ level Maths or higher

    • Computer and keyboard literacy

    • Soft skills – i.e. interpersonal, adaptability, team player, communication skills etc. These can often be demonstrated by extra-curricular activities and achievements, eg. membership of clubs, participation in sporting events etc

    • Skills gained during work placements, voluntary or casual work, international experience, or roles of responsibility held at university