February 25th Column

Q. I have had a fair bit of Gaelic football success in my life, and am still heavily involved at a high level. I always put it down on my CV. My girlfriend is adamant it turns employers off because they’re afraid I’ll always be leaving work early to go training etc. What do you think? I am in interested in sales and I’m currently unemployed.

Your CV paints a picture of who you are. This does not always correlate exclusively with your work career. Demonstrating success in another area shows that you have acquired skills such as teamwork, determination and motivation. Thus your sporting success can be attractive to employers as it demonstrates that you have specific traits that are relevant to the job.

Your sporting success also enables you to acquire contacts. This is very important in a sales environment. Include a section near the top of the CV to place emphasis on your career highlights.

Once you reach interview, always ensure that you focus on the particular requirements of the position. Rather than preaching to the interviewer what a fantastic centre half-forward you are, link it to the role for which you are being interviewed.

Advisable comments such as ‘I believe my sporting success to date is based on focus and determination. These traits are integral to be a good salesperson’.

Then support this answer with a real-life example of how this happened in your own work career to date. It is equally important to show that you will be committed to the role in hand. Be prepared for questions on your dedication to the role, especially if it clashes with your training schedule.

Always tell the interviewer that the job comes first. You can also have real life scenarios ready to demonstrate to the interviewer.

Q. I hate my current job. What should I say in interview when I am asked my reason for leaving?

Most individuals have had a bad experience at work. A cardinal sin in interview is criticising a former employer. The interview is not a chat and the interviewer is judging your comments throughout – maintain diplomacy at all times.

Just as an interview is not your opportunity to offload your doubts about your confidence levels, why should it be an opportunity to tell them about a bad experience? Although you may feel very comfortable with the person sitting across from you, do not report anything negative about a previous experience.  There are a number of ways around this.

Tell the interviewer that you have gained excellent experience in your jobs, but that you are now looking for a new opportunity. You can mention that you feel that you would like to expand your skills in the position.

If the position is in the past, tell the interviewer that it was a challenging environment and that you learned valuable lessons. I is helpful to try to gain the positive from a bad work experience – whether it is gaining a new skill, becoming more assertive or leaving your comfort zone.

If you are only a short time in the job, you can say that the job was not as testing as you had hoped and that you are looking for a bigger challenge. Remember that in interview, negative signals are singled out very quickly and will jeopardise your chances.

Replace negative words like difficulty and problems with more positive words such as challenging and opportunities. This not only has an impact on how you come across, it also changes the way that you feel about certain situations.

Sli Nua Careers (Watson’s Lane, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo / Drum East, Bushy Park, Galway, 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/.