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Put your Education to Work


Whether you’re a UCT-educated graduate or recently obtained your certificate from an FET college, you can use your CV’s education section to outshine your competition. If you are unsure about the best way to present your education, here are some common scenarios and strategies:

Where to Place Education?

The best placement depends on what you are trying to emphasise.
• Place experience before education if you have five or more years of experience related to your goal. Hiring managers will be more interested in your job accomplishments than your education.
• Place education before experience if you are a recent graduate or have less than five years of work experience. If you are changing careers and have continued your education to support your new goal, education should come first. Academic and scientific professionals typically place education before experience on their CVs.

Our Expert Advice

Divide interviewing into four buckets – the four P’s of interviewing:

1. Preparation.
2. Practice.
3. Personal presentation.
4. Pertinent questions.

The Four P’s of Interviewing

“It’s really frustrating for an interviewer to have someone that they’re talking to who really doesn’t know the company or the position they’re applying for,” and many interviewers are confounded by candidates who don’t do the bare-bones research before the interview. It is estimated that roughly one out of five prospects commits this crime.
Candidates should have “looked at the web site, read the [company’s] brochure, talked to people who have worked there – that’s kind of baseline homework. If you haven’t done that, it can really make it uncomfortable in the interview, because either you’re not going to understand what the interviewer’s talking about, or you’re going to ask some dumb questions.”

“Another thing is not really preparing for the interview itself.” Applicants should “sit down and think, ‘What are they going to ask me when I’m in that interview?’ With a little bit of asking around, you can find out things like, do they use behavior-based questions, do they use case-based questions or do they use a really unstructured conversational interview?”

Finding people to talk to within the organisation can yield a lot of information and it is perfectly acceptable to ask some questions when setting the interview up. These include:

– Who will I be talking to?
– Any suggestions on how to prepare?
– Should I expect a particular type of interview format?

“You have nothing to lose by asking,”. “It shows that a candidate is interested in what’s going to happen. They’re interested in you as an employer and they’re inquisitive, and in most cases, that’s going to be a very positive thing.”

Candidates can often anticipate the kinds of questions, if not the exact ones they’ll be asked during interviews, particularly if they’ve done their homework. Once you’ve determined the probable questions, we advise that you practice in front of someone.

“They always talk about preparing yourself, looking in the mirror and answering the question,” is also a great way. “It’s much more difficult to give your answer to a live person and ask them what they thought of your answer than to look at yourself in the mirror and do it.”
Personal Presentation
Dressing appropriately is sometimes lost on recent graduates, and many times young people will show up wearing a coat when a suit would be more fitting. “Or even if they do come with the right tie or suit, sometimes it’s that they’re not well-presented,” Again, doing your homework should reveal the appropriate attire.

Be sure to cover all the standard interviewing etiquette points as well. “Even the basics like a good handshake, not being nervous, smiling because they don’t see the real you if you’re uptight, and basic eye contact; a lot of people put a lot of weight into eye contact. Maintaining that is really important.”

Pertinent Questions
We found that it is also profoundly disappointing in interviews to “get to the end and say, ‘Do you have any questions I can answer for you?’ and they say, ‘Nope, I think you answered them all,’ and that’s the end of it. It’s just really disappointing and reflects negatively on the candidate.”

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