Resume Writing Tips
Your resume is usually the first thing that an employer will have to assess your ability to
do the job. It is extremely important that your resume gives them the best impression
possible. It must get across the key points in a concise and clear manner, as you only
have about five seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
Exaggerating your responsibilities or achievements is not recommended and could
greatly impact your future chances of securing a role. Never falsify dates or jobs to
hide periods of unemployment. Basic checks will expose your deceit and ruin any
chance of you getting the job.
A maximum of three pages is preferable; your resume
only needs to get you an interview. Use bullet points
with your most recent experience at the top of the
list. This will help to keep your resume concise and
relevant to the role that you are applying for.
You do not need to include names of your
references or ‘references upon request’ at this
stage. If a recruiter asks for names, ensure you
have spoken to your contacts and that they are
willing and able. The more senior/executive, the
• eep the language
simple; avoid jargon that a
recruiter/employer may not
• ighlight achievements in
bullet point style so that they
are easy to skim
• Do not include a photo
• nsure your resume is in
• Use a clear typeface
• nsure there are no spelling
mistakes or grammatical
• ny roles over 10 years ago
do not need much detail
Regularly revisit your resume
and maintain the content.
Trying to remember what
you did when you started
your role 5 years ago may be
to be funny
Other people’s sense
of humor may be very
different to your own
and it can come across
as rude or insulting.
Keep to the facts.
Highlight any key skills you
have which are requested in
the job description. These
should appear on the front
page as a summary.
If it has been more than five (5) years since you have graduated,
place your education at the bottom. If you have not finished your
degree and do not have a diploma, do not claim to have one. It
is extremely easy for an employer to find out from the institution
whether you have graduated or not.
• ersonal details: name, address,
cell phone, email, visa status (if
• ualifications: professional
• echnical skills: eg IT software
• areer highlights: short bullet
point synopsis of your recent
positions and achievements.
Highlight anything that sells your
(Pages 2-3 if no room left on page 1)
• utline your work history in
reverse chronological order.
• here possible, include
quantitative measurements of
• lace emphasis on the most
relevant role to the job you are
now applying for.
Work history should be detailed with
experience and achievements as
shown in the following example:
• Company name, dates employed.
Key experience areas:
• verview of responsibilities
(5 - 10 bullet points depending
on the seniority of the role - the
greater the seniority, the more
detail will be expected).
• ist any key achievements
within the role, key projects you
participated in, etc.
• heck the location before the day and explore alternative options of transport
• ead through the job description, know where your role will fit into the organization
• xpect the interviewer to do a resume walkthrough, spend some time going through your resume,
making sure to familiarize yourself with your previous roles and projects along with dates
• e prepared for any technical questions that could arise from reviewing your resume
• e prepared to explain your reasons for leaving each role
• ave a mental note of all key achievements in each role
Find out as much as you can about the company you are applying to - their products/services, scale,
structure etc. In addition to the information your Greythorn contact will supply, there are a few other
sources you can try to find this information:
• he company website
• nnual reports
• ompany directories
• ompany brochures
Best of all, if you can, speak to someone who works for the company. Of course, this is not always
possible, but it is a very useful source of information.
Day of the interview and arrival:
• lan to arrive 15 minutes early. Always leave plenty of time. Assume you are going to be held up
and check for traffic reports if necessary
Types of interview
Competency Based Interviewing (CBI)
You may also be aware of the term CBI being known as behavioral based interviewing. In essence, a CBI
interview is a series of scenario-based questions designed to examine your strength across a number of
soft skills. The concept behind this type of question, where you are asked to give a specific example of a
real-life situation in the work place, is that the interviewer is able to determine how you will behave in the
future, based on how you behaved in the past.
A competency question will start with something like …. “Describe a situation when……” or “Tell me about
a time when…..” It is important that you respond accordingly, with one specific example, rather than saying
what you would, could or should do.
To prepare yourself for the competency questions you will need to understand the STAR (situation, task,
action, result) method of structuring your answer; prepare examples for each of the competencies; and
rehearse your answers. Remember that the word ‘we’ should not form part of your answer, replace it with
‘I’. It is you they want to hear about. The hiring manager after all, is looking to hire you, not your team.
Replacing ‘we’ for ‘I’ is important, but in the right situations, if you were managing a team, be sure to
convey that. Try not to discount your ability to work as part of or leading one.
• a minimum you should brush up on the company’s business structure,
clients, products, industry terminology, or anything else that may relate to the
position you are applying for. Spending an hour or two researching these things
before an interview can make a great impression on your interviewers and
possibly land you a second interview or even a job
• Keep a glass of water handy
• mile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the
tone of your voice
• peak slowly and enunciate clearly
• eep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, so it is at your
fingertips when you need to answer questions
• ave a short list of your accomplishments available to review
• ave a pen and paper handy for note taking
• ake sure your phone is charged and you are in an area with reception
2. During the interview
ntroduce yourself politely
rrive on time or early if possible
xpress yourself clearly
mile as much as possible during the interview
how how your experience can benefit the company
sk questions concerning the company for which you are being interviewed
onstruct your answers carefully
how willingness to learn and progress
e assertive without being aggressive
urn your cell phone off during the interview
repare 10 relevant questions; you will probably cover 5 in the interview
efrain from answering questions with a yes or no. Expand where possible
nswer all questions truthfully and honestly
o not talk about the salary and benefits package - getting an offer is the main priority and salary negotiations
• tay positive about previous employers
• how that you have put time and energy into planning your career and that this a crucial step toward your
For every responsibility/requirement on the job specification, ensure you have at least one example of an
experience or a transferable skill that covers that requirement for the interview.
Talking about your experience
• Keep examples recent and relevant from the last 5 years. Use a variety of different examples. It is often seen
as a weakness to use the same scenario for different questions.
• Think about the different interviewers motivations:
• An HR interviewer’s main concern will be to ensure that you fit the company culture, but they will not be able
to assess your ability to do the job.
• A manager will be able to test your skills and assess whether they will be able to work with you on a daily
• If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification.
• Take your time in answering a question – it is better to give a decent answer after a few seconds pause,
rather than a garbled, nonsensical answer immediately.
• Avoid clichéd answers to questions such as “I’m a great team player”, which you cannot back up with
examples from the workplace.
• Refrain from criticizing your current employer – it will make the interviewer question your loyalty.
2. During the interview
Questions to be prepared for:
• escribe a situation in which you were able
to use persuasion to successfully convince
someone to see things your way.
• escribe a time when you were faced with
a stressful situation that demonstrated your
• ell me about a difficult decision you have made
in the last year.
• ive me an example of a time when something
you tried to accomplish and failed.
• ive me an example of when you showed
initiative and took the lead.
• ive me a specific example of a time when
you used good judgment and logic in solving a
• ell me about a recent situation in which you
had to deal with a very upset customer or coworker.
• ive me an example of a time when you set a
goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
• ive me an example of a time when you
• ell me about a time when you had to use
your presentation skills to influence someone’s
• ell me about a time when you delegated a
• ive me a specific example of a time when you
had to conform to a policy with which you did
• ell me about a time when you had to go above
and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job
• ell me about a time when you had too many
things to do and you were required to prioritize
• ive me an example of a time when you used
your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
• ell me about a time when you missed an
obvious solution to a problem.
• escribe a time when you anticipated potential
problems and developed preventive measures.
• ell me about a time when you were forced to
make an unpopular decision.
• hat are the reasons for leaving your last role?
• ive me an example of a time when you had to
make a split second decision.
• hat are your expectations for your next role?
• hat is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
Give me an example.
• hy do you want to come to work for us?
• ell me about a time you were able to
successfully deal with another person even
when that individual may not have personally
liked you (or vice versa).
• hy did you choose this career?
• hat is your most noteworthy achievement?
• hat do you know about this company?
• ow was your last review?
• hat has been the biggest challenge in your
career to date?
Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
This is a good time to find out more about the role. At the end of the interview, it is fine to ask how the
interviewer felt it went and when you can expect to hear from them. You should re-affirm your interest in
the role and thank them for their time. Some questions you could prepare:
• ow do you see this role developing over the
next two years?
• hat are the biggest challenges to be faced in
the first 6 months?
• hat are the company’s growth plans?
• hat is the company culture like?
• hat are the 3 most important things you are
expecting this person to deliver in year 1?
• hat makes this a great company to work for?
• ow would my performance be managed?
• ow do you like to manage?
• hat new initiatives or technologies have recently
• s there any internal training available for
2. During the interview
• e aware of the tempo of the interview, if your interviewer is talking and asking questions slowly or
quickly, respond in a like manner.
• ry to maintain eye contact.
• e aware of your audience; try to gauge the understanding of the individual(s) you are meeting with.
Don’t become too technical and lose someone who is unfamiliar with what you are talking about, the
same applies for the reverse. Don’t talk high level when you have a technical audience, they will be
looking for detail.
• ry to talk the interviewer’s language - if they’re formal, you are formal. If they make a joke, laugh! But
be careful if you want to make a joke yourself.
• f there are multiple people interviewing you, share attention between them and be sure to answer
questions to the person that directed them.
• void talking too much - this is a difficult one, but the talking should be fairly even between interviewer
and interviewee. Make sure you pause if you’re in the middle of a long answer to allow the interviewer
to speak if they need to.
Other important notes
• f you are late, apologize once.
• f you have more than one interview, remember what you have said to each interviewer. It is fine to
duplicate information across the interviews, but make sure you are not repeating yourself to the same
person. Sometimes, interviewers may have a short chat between interviews and the second interviewer
may be given the task of probing a particular area, so expect some repetition.
• ever say overly negative things about your current employer or reasons for leaving. Try to keep this
brief, and professional. Focus on the future, not on the past.
• our recruiter will handle compensation negotiations. If you are asked, feel free to answer appropriately
if confident, or say you would rather they spoke to the recruiter on that topic.
3. fter the
After the interview it is essential that you call Greythorn and provide prompt feedback. In most
situations the recruiter will not be able to get feedback from the client without speaking to you first.
Any delay in providing this feedback can slow down the whole process.
One of the most important learning aspects of interviewing is the feedback that you will receive from
Greythorn after they have spoken to your potential employer. Whether it is positive or negative, it
is essen¬tial that you take it on board and use it for future interviews. Feedback is a great learning
opportunity for you and even the very best candidates often need several interviews in order to secure
their ideal role.