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CV Tips:

Your CV is the first introduction you have to your potential new employer.  It needs to attract and hold their attention.  It should give the reader enough information to understand your background and how it relates to either a specific position or perhaps just potential opportunities.   The CV is designed to promote two-way discussions between the interviewer and the interviewee and most importantly it should be a "selling or marketing" document rather than simply a clinical record of your career history. 



  • Professional job seekers will always tailor and fine tune CVs to different roles. Never rely on a tailored cover letter attached to a generic CV. The person screening may not read your cover letter and simply rely on the CV to base their decision-making. Often the initial person receiving your CV may not be the person who is actually responsible for hiring. Their role may be to short list CVs so you need to be able to make the cut! Therefore, make sure that it contains the relevant skills for the role to ensure you are screened in and not out!  The bottom line is you just can't get away with one CV for all potential job opportunities. So tailoring the CV is a must.
  • Think from the reader’s point of view, not your own - what are they looking for and how would their ideal candidate look on paper.
  • Be objective, honest and factual.
  • Sell yourself.


Content and Layout:

  • Your CV should be in a sharp, clear and concise format. Don’t make it too lengthy. Three to four pages is ideal. Two is a little short and five is a little long.
  • Include up to date contact details – an email address and at least one phone number to reach you on.  Giving your residency/visa status is a relevant detail as it shows your availability to work.
  • Include your interests as this helps potential employers get a picture of who you are outside of work.
  • Your CV is a reference point in the interview so make sure it is accurate as you will be challenged on some of its content.
  • You should summarise your working experience and skills early on in the CV, in a skills table - attract the reader’s attention to encourage them to read on.
  • Develop a CV that expresses clearly what your track record is, rather than just a log of responsibilities you had. Make the CV "outcome focused" with either qualitative or quantitative achievements documented.
  • Work history should be in reverse chronological order.
  • Use appropriate headings and keep the least important details at the back of the CV. Remember, individual CVs are screened by HR, recruiters and line managers within 10-30 seconds, so give priority to the most important points up front. A well-structured CV is one where the decision makers can assess you on the first page of your CV and treat the rest of the CV as supplementary reading.
  • Explain the gaps in your CV, it is not unusual to have gone travelling for a year, so if you were off work explain why.
  • Your CV is a reference point in the interview so make sure it is accurate as you will be challenged on some of its content.



At some point during the recruitment process your referee’s will need to be identified.  It helps if you have relevant contact details and their job title.  It is also important to seek permission to include someone as a referee and let him or her know the recruiter will be contacting them.

So to summarise, take time to create a great CV – this is your first opportunity to shine and make a good first impression!


Interview Tips:

Next to public speaking, enduring a job interview can be one of the most stressful human experiences.  While you will naturally be nervous, work at using the interview to your advantage.

      1. BE PREPARED

  • Re-read your CV and the Job Description.
  • Know your story - education, work experience, career goals, interests, transferable skills etc.
  • Practice / role play!
  • Know the names and positions of the interviewers - utilise LinkedIn.


  • Research the company – What, who, where – services/products, customers, competition, and company culture. Look at their careers pages which gives more information about working for them. Read media articles related to the role, their business and their industry.
  • Research yourself - What have you achieved, what skills have you developed and demonstrated. This helps you to assess your own strengths and weaknesses and gives you confidence. Be prepared to walk through your career history and the choices that you have made.

      3. LOOK SHARP

  • Dress professionally - if in doubt go on the more professional side.
  • Smart business attire - polished shoes and ironed clothes.

      4. BE ON TIME

  • Never be late!
  • Plan/know your route to your interview in advance.
  • Don't be more than 10 minutes early for an interview.


  • Good solid handshake.
  • Maintain eye contact - demonstrates confidence and also shows you are genuinely, interested and self-assured.
  • Don't express any negativity on your past role or Manager


  • Be friendly and genuine - they are your potential colleagues.
  • Smile - we want to work with people that are fun to be around.
  • Try to relax and show your personality.


  • Listen to the question, pause to think about what is being asked and then provide your answer.
  • Be concise – try not to waffle on just for the sake of talking.
  • Make sure you not only listen, but read between the lines.
  • Get clarification if you are unsure.
  • Expand on answers - not just a yes or no, provide succinct answers.
  • Relate your skills to the position.
  • Be factual.
  • Be self-aware - don’t fidget with your hands or objects around you and don't interrupt or talk over the interviewer.


  • Prepare your stories - what you have achieved and the skills you developed/demonstrated.
  • Past behaviour can indicate future behaviour.


  • This shows an interest in the company and the role.
  • Never EVER ask about money/remuneration unless the interviewer specifically asks the question.  You are interested in working for this particular company, not just receiving a pay cheque!


As part of a structured interview you are likely to be asked Behavioural Questions to test specific competencies required for the role. These are the questions that start with:

"Tell me about a time when..."

"Give me an example of a situation where..."

"Describe a situation at work where..."


The interviewer will be looking for you to answer these questions with a specific example from your past work history. A good way to frame your answers is to use the STAR formula:

  • First describe the Situation or Task you were faced with.
  • Then describe the Action you took in this situation.
  • Finally describe the Result or outcome.


In these questions, the interviewer will be assessing your competency in particular areas.


The key to providing good answers to behavioural questions is to:

  • Be specific - talk about one specific time
  • Ensure your response is always in past tense - ie what you did, not what you would do. The interviewer is looking for past behaviour as an indicator of future performance. They are not looking for a hypothetical answer.
  • Be honest! If you try to fabricate an answer to a behavioural question, a skilled interviewer will catch you out in their probing or follow up questions.


Most importantly, stay calm and speak clearly and not too fast.  If you get nervous and feel yourself becoming a run-away train, stop and take a breath, compose your thoughts and then continue.  No point in racing to the end only to realise you didn’t answer the questions properly and forgot to ask your own.


All in all, in your CV and interview, be the best you that you can be.  It’s all anyone is ever after. 


Good Luck!

Natalie Lorenzen

Partner | Talent Acquisition

Natalie is an established IT Recruitment Specialist with 10 years experience in the NZ market. She is renowned for her professional yet personable approach and her experience includes Permanent and Contract recruitment solutions to clients with a focus on quality outcomes.