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CVs, cover letters and Interviews

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christine reveillaud

on 30 January 2015

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Transcript of CVs, cover letters and Interviews

CV / résumé
research first
understand what the recruiter is looking for
be truthful
be concise
tailor to each application
turn spell check on
use key words
General approach
one side A4
clear layout (test print)
present information in reverse chronological order
standard font of reasonable size
avoid bright colours, pictures, logos
save as .pdf or .doc
follow employer’s indications
Personal details
Career Objective / Personal Statement
Education and Qualifications
Professional Experience
Relevant skills
No spaces before : or ;
Never use « guillemets », use “inverted commas”
Always use a capital first letter for languages and months: (French, English, Japanese, June, September etc)

un stage = an internship / a work placement / a traineeship / work experience
un stagiare = intern / trainee
la formation = education / studies / training / academic background
un stage de 6 mois = a 6-month internship
Useful Vocabulary
CVs and
cover letters

CV Content
Personal details
forename surname
address (France)
telephone number +336…..
email address

and acceptable in the UK:
age (21 years old)
marital status
age (USA)
nationality (USA)
Not compulsory, but increasingly common.
Must be tailored to each application.
Must be meaningful and highlight the key skills for the position sought.
Career Objective
Highly motivated engineering student seeking a 4-month internship in IT, which will utilize my problem identification and project management skills learnt whilst leading an industrial study project. My excellent inter-personal skills developed through humanitarian teamwork will allow me to build effective relationships with co-workers and customers alike.
Education and
2012 - 2015 Engineering Student at Ecole Centrale de Nantes, a highly selective French School of Engineering conferring a diploma equivalent to a Master’s Degree.

2010 - 2012 Classes préparatoires: a 2-year intensive program preparing for the national competitive exams for entry to French Schools of Engineering.

2010 Baccalauréat S: French equivalent of High School Diploma / A’levels - general studies with a specialization in science, obtained with merit.
2012 - 2014 Student at Ecole Centrale de Nantes, a highly selective French School of Engineering. Double degree student completing two years of studies at the ECN in order to receive both French and Brazilian Engineering Degrees.

2010 - 2012 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Major: Civil Engineering.
2011 - 2016 Double degree in business and engineering.
Audencia Nantes: Master in Management.
Ecole Centrale de Nantes: a highly selective French School of Engineering conferring a diploma equivalent to a master’s degree.

2009 - 2011 Préparation HEC, a special programme for entry to a Graduate School of Management.
2012 - 2017 Double diploma in Engineering and Architecture
Ecole Centrale de Nantes, a highly selective school of Engineering conferring a diploma equivalent to a Master’s degree
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture, Nantes, a school of Architecture conferring a Master’s degree
give dates and duration.
company name, activity and location.
include paid, unpaid, voluntary work, projects (e.g Industrial Study Project)
USE action verbs (past simple or present continuous) NOT nouns.
say what you did, achieved, learnt.
Relevant Skills
keep it concise, but try to show evidence of transferable skills e.g. leadership, teamwork, negotiating etc.
- a range of activities.
- activities relevant to the position sought
- achievements and responsibilities
- any unusual activities
native language first.
other spoken languages and your current level (fluent, excellent working knowledge… intermediate … beginner.)
qualifications (e.g. TOEIC 950).
be realistic about your level.
Detail operating systems and software (e.g. Microsoft Excel, AutoCad etc) that you are familiar with.
use ‘fully conversant with’, ‘excellent working knowledge of’ ‘familiar with’… etc.
NB. software is uncountable.
IT skills
Before you send your CV
friend check
Why should you spell check?
Excellant writen comunication skills.
Proven ability to track down erors.
Why should you re-read carefully?
A full shit system.
Instrumental in ruining an entire operation.
Took overall responsibility for sock control.
Ask a friend to re-read for you
Keep a record of the version sent
Cover letter
complements your CV
demonstrates your motivation for and your interest in the company.
think from the employer’s perspective.
focus on the skills that you can offer.
Purpose and approach
one page A4 max.
your name, address and the date in the top right corner.
the name and address of the company on the left hand side.

address your letter to a named individual:
Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr. Smith,
and finish with: Yours sincerely
Dear Sir or Madam,
and finish with: Yours faithfully
Write four clearly themed paragraphs:
1. Reason for writing
what you are applying for, where it was advertised and your availability
2. Motivation for the job and company
be specific, avoid the obvious (RESEARCH)
3. Your skills
match your skills to those needed (see advertisement)
give evidence of your skills
spell check: especially name of addressee and company!
re-read: spell check will not correct ‘form’ to ‘from’.
if submitting a CV online you can put your cover letter in the body of the email message.
write a new cover letter for each application.
beware copy/cut and paste.
Christine Réveillaud, 9 October 2012
cover letters
and interviews
in English

analyse your skills and experience.
research the industry, company and the job
identify matches between job requirements and your skills.

predict questions, prepare responses (check vocabulary) and rehearse.
prepare questions of your own to ask.
take a copy of your application.
First impressions are made within 4 minutes:
55% visual impact
38% tone of voice
7% from what you actually say.
Don’t neglect:
body language – eye contact and posture
small talk
First Impressions
well prepared
be yourself
General approach
make sure you understood the question
be clear – avoid jargon and acronyms
don’t ramble
give examples as evidence
use the active voice ‘I learnt’ not ‘I was taught’
(formal) conversation versus interrogation
Dealing with questions
talking about yourself
transferable skills
competency-based questions
(technical questions)
talking about the company
your own questions
Types of question
Tell me about yourself = the most common first question.
What are your Strengths and weaknesses?
Dealing with weaknesses:
- NEVER give negative information that it is not asked for.
use the opportunity to demonstrate how you tackle and overcome problems.
- turn negatives into positives – different approaches:
1) a character flaw which could be viewed positively
2) a weakness you are addressing/have overcome
3) a knowledge-based weakness that is easily overcome.
- soften negatives and emphasise positive information.
Talking about yourself
gives you the opportunity to highlight skills gained outside professional experience
highlight skills that match employer’s needs.
give real examples from experience to support your claims
Transferable skills
'Tell me about a time when you...' / 'Describe a situation when you...'

prepare brief stories from your professional/ academic/ personal experience to answer these questions
use the CAR technique to structure your answers: Context, Action, Result.
Competency-based questions
demonstrate your knowledge of and motivation for both the position and the employer.
research is absolutely essential.

What attracted you to our company?
What do you think of our website?
Who do you consider to be our main competitors?
What trends are likely to affect our industry short term?
What do you think are the most challenging aspects of the post?
Talking about the company
ask questions that demonstrate a real interest in the position/company.
prepare a list of five to six questions with the aim of asking three.

What are the important challenges you think the company faces?
What is your experience of working in this company?
You mentioned that ... Could you tell me a little more about this ...?
Could you tell me more about the training opportunities you offer?
Could you tell me how performance is measured and reviewed?

Do you have any doubts about whether I am suited to this position?
Your own questions
key advantage – you can refer to your CV and notes.
key disadvantage – no visual clues.
try to schedule a time for the interview when you can be in a private space.
before the call, make a list of your USP's.
Telephone Interviews
sit at a desk or table with CV, notes, pen, paper and water.
smile when you speak.
Speak clearly and in a lively tone, but not too fast.
listen very carefully to the interviewer.
if you don’t understand: ‘would you mind repeating that please?’ or reflect back in other words to check your understanding : ‘could I just check – do you mean…?’
show that you are listening by replacing non verbal signals with the occasional "OK", "uh-huh", "I see", "I understand“.
During a phone interview
after the interview send a follow-up email to the employer thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position.
maintain a professional attitude towards the employer even if you don’t take up the position.
Serveur pédagogique
FORANGL>documents and links>CV_cover letters_interview
Your English teacher (EI1, EI2, masters)
CV helpdesk for EI3 and EI2
Every Thursday afternoon until April. CLE meeting room, building L.
First come, first served. No corrections by email.

Thank you
for your attention
Full transcript