Work It, Girl

Everybody knows that job-hunting is a huge ball-ache. 
Tailoring your CV for every job, putting yourself out there to be judged, sleepless nights, asking for time off work and feeling like they know it’s because you’re going for an interview. 

But as cringe as the process can be, you’re job-hunting for a reason.  You WANT THIS (and you can damn-well get this). 

Maybe it’s because you think your skills could shine elsewhere, maybe your current company has spectacularly under-managed its gender pay gap, or maybe you’re getting back on the work wagon after a break. 

Whatever your reasoning, we spoke to five managers to get their top tips to make those first impressions work for you.


Get that resume gleaming…

The look

“Make your CV pleasing to look at - no more than 2 pages, not too crowded, professional font, and relevant information only.”

“To get your CV through the door, ensure it’s not too long!  There is nothing more off-putting than feeling that you have to read through masses of irrelevant information.”

“Create a ‘serious’ e-mail address and use that one for job-hunting.”

“If you include emojis or multiple exclamation marks, your CV is going straight into the nope pile.”

The content

“I want to know that you’ve kept up to date with CV requirements and trends.  That doesn’t mean it has to look ~fashionable~ but there’s no need nowadays to include photos, DOB or marital status.  Adding these things can make you look less aware, and if a company cares about these things, are you sure you want to work for them?”

“Tailor your CV (and your letter) to the job you are applying for so that you can keep it short but relevant.”

“Learn as much as possible about the new role, and briefly show how your current experience fits with the new role.”

“Give full but concise detail of your key tasks and responsibilities of your latest, or most relevant previous role.  Don’t make me guess if you have relevant experience.”

“Why would I care if you have a full, clean drivers’ license when you don’t need to drive for this role?”

The cover letter

“There’s nothing that makes me put down a CV faster than a cover letter than begins ‘Dear Sirs…’ If you don’t know the name of who to address, please don’t do a disservice to womankind by making the mistake of sounding like you think it’s 1952 and that business people must be men.”

“Write a nice covering letter, less than 1 page in length, pointing out your relevant skills, your enthusiasm, and providing an explanation for anything on your cv that might raise questions; for example you live in London but you do realise the job is based in Exeter.”

“Keep it to the point.  If you give me a very long cover letter and/or CV and I end up reading it all I will be very unforgiving if it’s not good as I will feel that I’ve wasted my time.  Read the job description carefully and sell your skills accordingly.”

The final touches

“If you include proof reading skills or excellent written communication skills as competencies, make sure you proof read your CV, proof read it again and then ask a friend to proof read it too.”

“If you have a friend who works in HR, get them to review your CV.  CV trends may have changed since you last applied for a job so make sure yours is in a style that’s currently popular.”

“Bad spelling or grammar is inexcusable on a job application – straight in the bin!”

“Be aware your online profile could be accessed (yes, really!) – ensure your public cover photo is 'decent'.”

Interview like a boss…

Get prepped

“Make sure you have read the job description properly and think about the types of questions you may need to answer, and indeed how you will answer.  Also research the organisation and try to show that you have done so during your interview.”

“Take time to prepare – think about the role-specific skills that the interviewers will be looking for.”

“Learn about the company so that you can impress with some knowledge of their business.”

“If you know someone who does the role, don’t be afraid to pick their brains and ask them everything there is to know about it.”

While you’re there

“Don’t worry about being too nervous – it shows your interviewer that you care and the interview is important to you.”

“Make eye contact when you shake hands, it really does make a difference to how you come across.”

“Be keen and enthusiastic.”

“Ask questions, and seem interested.  Ask about the company’s strategy, or something you saw on their website.” 

“Show me that I want to work with you – don’t be afraid of showing you have a sense of humour.”

“Don’t be too negative about your previous workplace or manager.  Even if they were an @sshole, use objective language so I don’t suspect you’re going to think I’m an @sshole in 6 months’ time!”

“Don’t wink at an interviewer!”


Thank you to badass bosses Nancy Rogers, Linda Gethin, Karen Yeates, Marie Coombe and Kate Partner for their insights!

Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips to add...

Lisa DickensonComment