CV Writing Tips
The quality & appearance of a CV plays a significant role in the job-hunting process: present a concise, focused summation of your life & work experience, relevant to the job you are applying for. No fancy borders or big artistic fonts that take up the whole first page of your CV, nor repeating info in the content of your CV. A CV must contain all your personal & contact information, spend time compiling it to the best of your ability & apply for positions that match your skill set / level of experience. Stand out with the important facts pertaining to your relevant horse/vet experience, specify your qualifications & what will potentially set you above the next candidate - why *you* should be chosen for interview.
Be precise & critical. Don’t overdo the content by including everything about yourself you can think of – a CV is not a biography nor a novel! Keep it to a maximum of two pages, stick to one font type, headings 14pt & normal text 12pt.
Decide what aspects of your personality / qualifications / skills / experience are your strengths, e.g. “I am well-spoken, hard-working, responsible, organised, self-motivated, efficient & pay attention to detail. I have managed equine establishments; coordinated people, events & training shows. BSc Hons degree in Animal Science - studied & achieved personal & professional excellence; solid references from extensive involvement in volunteer work experiences.”
Be honest & truthful. Show confidence in yourself & your achievements. Start with your best achievements that match the crucial requirements of a job spec. List your employment from current to past, make sure that there are no gaps or overlapping dates in your employment history - if so, give the explanation. Include a professional presentable ID photo - make an effort to make a good initial impression! A properly presented & formatted CV will not require a cover letter - type the "cover letter" into the body of your CV. Provide the information in your CV & application form to secure the interview - there you will have the opportunity to speak about your many achievements!
- be professional: include your full name (& known as), contact details, date of birth, address/place of residence, marital status, dependants (& pets if applying for a live-in position). Include a summary of your horse/vet-relevant experience; educational history; courses completed, work experience/employment history (include name of company, job title, dates of employment, reason for leaving, brief description of duties); skills; computer literacy; hobbies & interests; Drivers & transport info; current salary (the "norm" for increase in changing jobs is 10-20% on your current salary); availability/notice period; recent referees contact details
- phrase your CV in positive language, avoid too many superfluous adjectives
- emphasise your horse work competencies & key areas in your employment history relevant to the job you’re applying for
- provide written references: if you have good relationships with experts in the equestrian/veterinary field, check with them if you may use them as your referee / ask them for a written ref.
- check your grammar & spelling - then check it again! Spelling errors represent carelessness or that you lack attention to detail - get someone to proof it for you
- formulate & submit your CV in Microsoft Word
- ensure you keep your CV up to date
Apply for positions suited to your qualifications, experience & personal requirements.
- lie / exaggerate / make promises you cannot live up to
- repeat information nor include endless detail not relevant to a position - rather list a summary of your roles & responsibilities
- apply for a position you do not have the experience for
- include negative reasons for leaving or “bad mouthing” your previous employers
- spread your name/address/contact details/info over more than one page
- put your mom/dad/brother/sister/best friend as a reference
- provide unprofessionally named e-mail addresses
- expect life-coaching from the recruiter...
DO NOT send photos of you riding a horse not wearing a crasher - nor send photos that have Copyright branding on them!
Interview Preparation Tips
Should you be considered for interview you will be notified the client’s full information, so that you can also do your homework & research the organisation, formulate some questions of interest you may want to ask. The employer will then give you a call to arrange an interview.
Make a professional impression: turn your phone off before entering the interview, offer a firm hand-shake, speak audibly & confidently, sound friendly & interested, show enthusiasm, have a positive attitude. Maintain eye contact, sit up straight, don't fidget. Watch your body language. Listen, answer carefully. Don't smoke (or go to your interview smelling of smoke). Don't chew gum. Don’t go to an interview on an empty stomach. Have an early night, appear refreshed & rested. No excessive jewellery. No body art visible. Don't panic: pause & take a deep breath if you need to regroup.
Know your interview objectives: have an idea what questions you will ask e.g. What will your responsibilities be? What is a routine day like? What will after hours & weekend work entail?
Talk about your values, don't get too detailed about your specific career plan, discuss things that are important to you professionally & how you plan to achieve them - no porky-telling…
The 'salary question’ – be prepared for it! Think about the salary you require, the salary at your most recent position & the industry-related salary for the job.
Discuss elements of the advertised job spec to show that you understood the requirements for the position. Stay determined, keep focused.
Examples of interview questions you can be prepared for:
Give examples of: a time when you functioned as part of a team, what your contribution was;
a crisis in in a (stable yard) & how you responded & recovered from it;
where you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction;
your strengths & weaknesses...
What to avoid in an interview:
- being overly familiar
- getting emotional: treat an interview as the professional business meeting it is
- don't try fill up a silence with unnecessary talk, treat an interview as a conversation
- don't only answer the interviewer's questions: ask specific questions
- excessive use of slang ("like"; "ya I know"; "ummm")
- asking about whom you're up against (but you may ask how many in the potential pool of candidates)
- requesting any form of special treatment: make yourself a more competitive candidate - you're probably not the only candidate for the job!