As a careers and employment specialist, I am continually amazed by the lack of preparation many people put into their job hunt. Lacklustre CVs, poor interviewing skills and a bad attitude seem to be the norm for countless candidates who embark on seeking out a new job. Therefore, what are the five key things you need, to successfully transition into your next role?

CV that "sells" you

Your CV is your 'brochure' that must "sell" you to the reader. In many ways, your CV is more important than your passport, as it dictates how much you earn for the rest of your life. Sadly, many people just throw together a list of their previous jobs the night before the application is due, and then hope for the best.

To be successful, your CV must do three things. The first is to clearly show your career path in reverse chronological order. Secondly it must highlight not only your responsibilities, but also major achievements throughout your career. Finally, it must be tailored to the keywords in the job description, making your application relevant to not just the human reader, but any applicant-tracing software that may be a part of the screening process.


Tailored Cover Letter

You almost always would include a professional cover letter, which provides the initial context about you and your application. As the frame to the Mona Lisa provides context to view the painting within, your cover letter becomes the "frame" to your CV.
A quality cover letter presents you as the "solution" to the employers "problem". However, it also allows you to proactively answer any tricky questions, before they become an issue in the employer's mind.

Interview wisdom

Even a cursory Google search for interview tips will give you an incredible range of great learning points you can take into your interview. Excellent information on body language, interview dress, behavioural interviewing and questions to ask an employer abound. However, do use your common sense when trawling through the internet, especially when experts provide contrary tips.

Quality referees

Having the above points is all well and good, however nothing will sink your career ship faster than poor referees. Make sure you have identified, ideally, three people you have worked for in the recent past, and, most importantly, ensure they are aware that they are to be used in this capacity. These days each verbal reference check can take up to an hour, so your referee may end up investing considerable time talking to recruiters and employers, depending on how many applications you have out in the marketplace.

Positive attitude

Probably the most important attribute a candidate can have is a positive attitude, seasoned with a large amount of resilience. Job hunting is tough, and though you feel you might be an ideal candidate for a role, the HR person may not agree. When this happens, remember Winston Churchill's great quote: "Success is the ability to move from failure to failure, without the loss of enthusiasm."


Contact Tom O'Neil and the team at CV.CO.NZ for a free CV or LinkedIn assessment or to be your personal career coach. Visit or to find out more.