Applying for a role

CIHT has put together some practical advice for when you are applying for a career in highways and transportation.

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Writing a C.V.

Your CV is your first chance to make a good impression on an employer. It enables you to demonstrate your strengths and achievements and highlight relevant skills and knowledge. A good, well presented CV will ensure you stand out and secure that all important interview.


Presentation and style

  • Do not hand write your CV. Produce it on a computer, using an easy to read typeface; try not to use a smaller point size than 10.
  • Present your CV on good quality paper and ensure it looks visually pleasing i.e. leave plenty of white space and differentiate sections clearly.
  • Try to keep your CV to no more than two pages and never run over three.
  • Ensure your CV has a simple clear structure that is easy to follow. Employers may only glance at your CV; the information they are looking for should stand out clearly.
  • Tailor your CV to fit the job you are applying for.
  • Use bullet points to break up paragraphs.
  • Use bold text to highlight headings and sub-headings.
  • Avoid an overly conversational tone.
  • Ensure consistency and use positive language.
  • Ensure your CV accurately reflects your achievements. Ask ‘does this CV sell me?’ If the answer is ‘no’, start again.

Contact

Your full name should be the main heading of your CV – there is no need to write ‘CV’ as a heading; it should be quite clear to an employer what the document is.

Personal details should appear next. Include your address, email and telephone numbers (only include a current work number if you do not mind being contacted at work).

List education and work history in reverse order i.e. start with the most recent first. Your most recent qualifications and current job should be given priority.

Do not leave any gaps. For example, if you have been travelling or had a gap year make sure this is apparent on your CV.

Be truthful – ensure you can justify and provide examples for everything you have written. Check for spelling mistakes and typos. It is a good idea to have someone else carefully read through your CV. Never put something on your CV that you will not be prepared to discuss in an interview.


Suggested structures

(for candidates with work experience)

  1. personal details: include your home address, email address, telephone numbers and marital status.
  2. key capabilities: list three core competencies that sum up your experience.
  3. career statement: a summary of what you do in your job; list any people, project and budget management skills.
  4. professional qualifications: list in reverse order i.e. most recent first.
  5. work history: give greater emphasis to your current/most recent job; try and include a flavour of the job and your achievements. Use positive language.
  6. academic qualifications: list in reverse order i.e. most recent first.
  7. membership: of professional institutions, committees, steering groups etc.

(for candidates leaving education)    

  1. personal details: include your home address, term address (if applicable), email address, telephone numbers, and marital status.
  2. key capabilities: list three core competencies that sum up your core skills e.g. leadership, communication, supervisory skills.
  3. personal statement: e.g. a summary of your key achievements to date.
  4. professional qualifications/membership: list student membership of professional bodies and examination results (if applicable).
  5. work experience: include summer and part time jobs; also include any voluntary work you have undertaken.
  6. academic qualifications: list in reverse order i.e. most recent first.
  7. membership: of student committees, professional institutions, teams and unions at school or university.

Interview Guidelines

An interview is a two way process. It is your chance to prove to an employer that you are the right person for a job. It is also your chance to discover whether the job is right for you. Everyone suffers from interview nerves, but by preparing sensibly for an interview you can greatly improve you chance of securing your ideal job.


Preparation   

  • Plan your journey – allow plenty of time to get to your interview and plan your route. If you are going to be late, make sure you call and inform the interviewer.
  • Dress for success – presenting a professional image is important and first impressions do count. Wear a suit in a subdued colour e.g. navy, black or grey and ensure you look smart and tidy.
  • Be prepared – find out all you can about the organisation. Is it a public or private company? Who are its competitors? Does it have subsidiaries? What are its products? Company brochures and websites are often good sources of information.
  • Think of answers to potential questions you may be asked.

Most interviewers will want to know:

  • why have you applied for the job?
  • what skills and experience do you have to offer?
  • why are you better than other candidates?
  • why do you think you will you fit in?

The Interview  

  • Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Try and develop a rapport with the interviewer.
  • If you are being interviewed by more than one person, glance at the other interviewers to involve them in your response.
  • Be aware of your body language. It can tell the interviewer a lot more about you than your CV. Make sure you look the interviewer in the eye; sit only when invited to; acknowledge the interviewer’s comments with nods; smile and do not gesticulate excessively.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic – never badmouth a previous employer or colleagues even if you have good reason to. Listen carefully to what you are being asked; it will help to focus your answers.
  • Try to find out when you will hear the outcome of the interview.

After the Interview

  • Critically appraise your performance – are there any areas where you could have performed better?
  • Could you answer all the questions and back your answers up with examples?
  • Make a list of the type of questions you were asked and your answers – this will help if you are invited back to a second round.
  • If you had to do the interview again, would you do anything differently?
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