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by Sally Sparrow

Its a dog eat dog world out there, so when you put yourself forwards for a new job opportunity, you want to be certain that youre not barking up the wrong tree.

But how can you be certain of getting your best attributes over to your potential employer, within the space of a single job interview? Like many things in life, its all a matter of being prepared.

The CV of Champions

Put some real effort into writing your CV. Its a laborious, boring task, but its also a chance to actually brag about some of your achievements, so theres every reason to enjoy making yourself sound as good as possible.

Be concise – for once, bullet-point lists and plenty of sub-headings are a good thing. Make sure you get the facts across, including job titles, dates, key skills and so on, without cluttering your CV with too much unnecessary content.

Use a simple typeface, with subtle serifs (or no serifs at all), and stick to black on white for your colour scheme – you never know if the interviewer will want to print your CV and refer to it while youre there, and theyre unlikely to relish an outlandish colour scheme with background shading or images.

Why not read our guide on making sure you have a good CV ?

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Just as your CV is about picturing you in the best possible light, so is the interview itself. Dress well – and appropriately for the position youre applying for. Be punctual, and alert, and try to avoid smelling of sweat, beer or stale cigarettes.

Not everybody finds it easy to talk about how good they are, so learn how to sell yourself. Look to professional coaching services like Phoenix Training & Development if you need some third-party assistance.

Those sorts of firms can not only help you to learn sales skills that you can put to use in the interview itself; they may also be able to help you gain professional qualifications that you can add to your CV.

Get the Best Deal

If things are going your way – or if theyve already told you that youve got the job – its time to switch from your sales persona to your negotiation mode.

The nature of business is such that your new employer will probably try to get you for as little money as possible, so be sure you know how to negotiate a better deal – if not by raising your core salary, then by whittling down your working hours or improving your benefits package.

Once again, there are coaching companies to help you improve your skills in this area, such as The Gap Partnership, who can help you to make sure that your negotiations are carried out in a persuasive way, but do not put your new employment at risk.

Dont decide to wait until later to start trying to improve your working conditions – you need to get everything agreed before you sign your contract of employment, or youll have no real room for manoeuvre.

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