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Ask the expert: How to navigate the recruitment process

Who needs a town crier when you’ve got us shouting, “Bucks Skills Show is back!” from the rooftops? On Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th March 2024, over 120 businesses across a range of sectors will gather in Stoke Mandeville Stadium for the biggest careers fair in the county, including our brilliant headline sponsor SYLO | Beyond HR

As well as providing trusted HR advice, SYLO help local businesses with recruitment and development training, so we couldn’t resist picking their brains on the dos and don’ts of applying for a job. Whether you’re looking for a part-time gig or something more permanent, these tips on CVs, covering letters and interviews will see you navigating the application process like the experts.

  1. Qualifications aren’t everything

Looking for a job when you’re yet to gain any qualifications or work experience can be a bit daunting, but don’t let it put you off. Take time to think about what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at and how you can transfer these skills. If you’re coming up short, ask your friends or family what they consider your best qualities to be. Feedback is always helpful. 

  1. One size does not fit all

You should always adapt your CV to the job you’re applying for. Start by looking at the job description and then highlight how your hobbies or extracurricular activities have prepared you for the role. For example, dance and gaming requires concentration and patience; cooking allows you to practice time management; and taking part in sports demonstrates determination.

  1. Recruiters can sniff out AI from a mile away

When writing a covering letter, keep it concise and, as tempting as it is, do not use an AI text generator. The technology does not go as far as making connections between your CV and the role, which is what you need to do to convince the recruiter you’re right for the job.

  1. You can never be too prepared

You’ve bagged an interview... Now what? The answer is prepare, prepare, prepare. Make sure you know what the business does as this is typically the first question interviewers ask, and practice shaking someone’s hand whilst maintaining eye contact. If possible, you should also do a trial run of the journey to the interview, so it doesn’t cause any unnecessary stress on the day.

  1. Every interview is a lesson

If there is more than one interviewer, make sure you look at both and smile. Concentrate on the questions, but don’t be afraid to ask for something to be repeated (they were sitting in your chair once so nerves can be expected). Whatever the outcome, every interview is an experience – a chance to reflect on what you’ve learnt and what you can do better next time.

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