* Make sure your CV is concise, but provides sufficient details about your current and previous roles, highlights achievements and successes, and accurately represents your responsibilities and functions.
• Ensure you have testimonials and recommendations. Having other professionals vouch for you and confirm your expertise, skills, integrity or other great qualities is a big plus. It’s not just you promoting yourself, it’s your professional contacts who confirm and rubberstamp the things you say.
• Prepare for interviews by researching your prospective employer, their competitors and the people on the interviewing panel. These days, information is readily available – there’s no excuse for going into an interview unprepared.
• Be truthful in all your responses about both your professional and personal history.
• Send a “thank you” note after the interview. It needn’t be effusive or long – keep it brief, but polite, and ask to be considered for future positions that may arise.
• Dress appropriately and look presentable.
* Pad your CV or misrepresent yourself, your qualifications or abilities. If you don’t have a skill required for the position, admit it, but add that you’re very eager to learn and are prepared to attend a course in it.
• Add irrelevant achievements. Your goals in the high school netball team aren’t what prospective employers want or need to know.
• Add colours, visuals, wallpapers or other design features to your CV. These make it difficult to download, are distracting, often look amateurish and will detract from your CV, rather than add value.
• Come across as rehearsed by reciting things you think the interviewer might like to hear. Be the best version of yourself.
• Ask about salary or benefits in your first interview. This will give the wrong impression. Although these are important, you can afford to wait until later in the process.
• Put out material in the social media realm that could reflect badly on you, such as pictures taken at a drunken party, tasteless jokes, sarcastic or angry responses to other people, extreme racial or political opinions or descriptions of your sex life. Prospective employers check Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get a sense of your personal and professional conduct and determine whether you’d be a good ambassador for their organisation.
• Bad-mouth your present organisation, colleagues or managers, no matter how you feel about them. Most industries are small and you could find yourself working for or with them again in years to come. Negative comments about them also reflect far more badly on you than on them. If you’re asked at the interview why you’re leaving your present job, say you want further experience and a chance to grow, and keep it at that.