February 11th Column

Q. I have worked as a carpenter since I school. I am finding it difficult to get work and feel that I can’t do anything else.

A. Although you have only worked in one field, remember you have developed and picked up various skills along the way. Termed ‘transferrable’ skills, these are skills you acquire during one job and are useful in another.

Emphasise the skills most relevant to the job for which you’re applying. When looking at a job in a new sector, take the following steps:

1. Research the new industry;

2. Talk to people in the industry (they can give you an excellent insight into what is important in the role);

3. Tailor your CV to suit the job.

Working in carpentry involves communication and organisational skills, and the ability to work to demanding deadlines. If you are looking at a new role, ignore the ‘job title’ and look at the general content of the role.  Highlight the necessary attributes required to do the job.

For example ‘sales’ involves ability to work in a target-driven environment and strong communication skills. A stores-based role involve adhering to health and safety, and working as part of a team. A great tip is to include an additional section on your CV bringing attention to your relevant skills for the post. This is the first section the interviewer will see.

Always remember who your target market is, and tailor your CV to reflect this. Look at your transferable skills and how they can relate to a new industry. Many people make the mistake of using ‘jargon’ in the CV and the interviewer finds it difficult to ‘picture’ them in the job.

So in your case, avoid using terminology applicable only to the ‘trades’ field. Make it easy for the interviewer! Before applying for the job, write down all the common factors between your last job and the one that you are applying for.

Q. I am going for a group interview. What does this entail?

Group interviewing is becoming more common with employers, especially larger companies, as it is cost-effective and runs for a longer period of time which allows the interviewer to learn more about the candidate. It also gives the interviewer an opportunity to watch their candidates ‘in action’ and see how they solve close-to-life scenarios.

The main areas that the interviewers are looking for are:

  • Your ability to mix and work in a team environment and interact with your colleagues;
  • Communication skills;
  • Presentation skills ;
  • Your ability to lead others in a task – especially for managerial positions. A person’s ability to lead others in a non-aggressive manner is a very crucial skill that needs to be highlighted;
  • How you process/solve problems.


Ensure that you are assertive without being arrogant with others. Leadership and motivation are very attractive traits in a candidate, but very off-putting if the person is condescending.

Prepare well – i.e. research on the company, presentation well-drafted and practiced. Remember to communicate well within a group situation. It is a good rule of thumb to listen to others, and and then contribute.

Be natural rather than false, as falseness can be spotted a mile off.

Sli Nua Careers (tel 094 95 42965, www.SliNuaCareers.com) carry out CV Preparation, Mock Interviews, Interview Training, and Career Direction. For your free e-book on interview & CV tips, email GetThatJob@SliNuaCareers.com. They provide online CV makeovers at SliNuaCareers.com/cv-preparation/cv-makeover/.