Five questions we get asked all the time

When working professionally in the career development area, many questions come up over and over again. Here we have compiled five such questions, and answers to same. Of course, what we suggest is generalised to suit a catch-all column like this, so you may wish to observe some personal variations. We hope you find them useful.


  • When writing a CV, do I have to put in every exhaustive detail?
    Yes and no. Yes, you should not leave major blanks, but, no, you don’t need to give equal prominence to everything you have done. When writing CV, think relevance as much, if not more, than you think chronology. If it’s a role that might help you get the job for which you’re going, give it loads. If not, perhaps just mention it and move on.
  • How long should a CV be?
    Two pages is the rule of thumb. But we are being general here. Sometimes you need a longer one – academic CVs can run on quite a bit. But if you are going past two pages, ask yourself if you helping, or confusing, the reader with detail. A trend I have noticed is that some very successful people actually have a shorter CV. It’s as if the achievements speak for themselves and need no embellishment.
  • Are there any jobs out there anyway?
    To which we reply, perhaps a touch too smugly: “Do you know anyone working?” Turns out everyone knows loads of people working. Public commentary is overwhelmingly negative right now. Yes, jobs are much tighter than they used to be. But there is still a considerable amount of economic activity in this country. If 14 per cent are unemployed, then 86 per cent must be employed. And, yes, that figure is ‘helped’ by the numbers who have emigrated. We are in the lucky position of meeting people all the time who are getting jobs. The country hasn’t shut down fully, you know. And, remember, you are just looking for one job, not 280,000. We don’t mean to be glib about the unemployment problem, but if you start to believe that all the jobs are gone, you are certain to fulfil your own prophecy.
  • Will the interview panel have studied my CV closely?
    Who knows? But it’s good to plan as if they haven’t. If you want them to know something about you, tell them on the day. Don’t leave it to chance. Don’t presume they saw it on your CV. Interview panels come in all shapes and sizes – including last-minute additions when somebody else rang in sick or got called away on an urgent issue within the company. Best to prepare yourself to tell them everything they need to know – in an interview it’s all about you taking responsibility for transmitting the key information across the table. Don’t ever rely on an interview panel to help you along the way.
  • What if they catch me out in the interview – reveal some lack of technical knowledge on my part?
    There are two parts to this question. By and large, they are not trying to ‘catch you out’ – most interviewers are able to get the overview they need without making you feel uncomfortable. However, you should always have your technical knowledge in order going to an interview. Look over college or training notes. Know what the acronyms mean. Be able to explain key processes that are peculiar to your job.


Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Dublin and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. You can also obtain their free eBook providing Job Searching Tips by emailing with Job Searching eBook in the subject line. More: