What did you do with your evenings this week? I went hunting

Long read warning!

In my free time this week, I’ve been helping my Aunt get her CV in order. She’s an IT & Systems Administrator so sharing her CV her is not relevant here. What I would like to share is what I worked on after the CV: I worked on a list of light-hearted tips I could think of for job hunting. She’s been in the same role for 20 years so I figured that she’d be intimidated by job hunting and writing out some tips whilst trying to add a little humour would be beneficial.

Recently I’ve been using a website called Career Burst (to help me in my new role). One key point I took from that early on is that:

“10 years is the average number of years that successful people had stayed with their longest organisation when they were interviewed. 5 years is the average number of years these people stayed with their second-longest organisation.”

So, I am not pitching this blog to encourage you to leave your organisation – nor am I telling you to stay put. This is your choice – and not the reason I wrote this article.

What with the lockdown and all, I’m aware that many people have been made redundant – so maybe these tips can help those people.

That’s the reason I’m posting.

If this applies to you, remember that your role was made redundant – not you – you are very far from redundant!

Anyway, here is the abridged version of the advice I gave my Aunt. Hopefully, it was received in good humour as intended. Please let me know what you think and add let’s hear your tips!

Plan of attack:

1. Hunt jobs. Grrrr. Be a tiger!

  • Where necessary (most of the time) tailor your CV to meet job requirements. Be prepared to do a cover letter.
  • Now, here’s a big trick: look at the job requirements and make sure the CV/cover note shows that you meet every criteria
  • Apply!
  • Expect knock backs and bounce back when it happens.

 2. Hunt people. Recruiters get dozens of CVs landing on their desk – so we need to make you stand out – we need them to put a face, and ideally a voice, to your name.

  • Find out who the recruiter is and contact them. Try email, phone, as well as looking on company websites and if there is a live chat function ask there. Ask ‘em if they can give you any more information about the role. Befriend them.
  • This is where Linkedin comes in, – find them on LinkedIn and connect. And possibly use LinkedIn messaging to ask them questions if previous attempts were unsuccessful.
  • Expect knock backs and bounce back when it happens.

3. If you don’t hear back – their loss. They don’t understand what they are missing out on!

4. If you get an interview:

  • Think of 4 (5 at a max) projects that you’ve worked on from as near to start to finish as possible. Good ones, meaty ones. They can, and probably should, be the ones on the CV. Really walk through them in your mind. Pull out all those ‘aw yeah – I remember doing that moments’ from the back of your mind and bring them upfront.

Next big trick: Be prepared to answer these questions (and any that you’d ask yourself) relating to those projects:

  • What are your best strengths?
  • What weaknesses do you have and what are you doing to develop them?
  • Tell me about 2 of your biggest achievements at work? What in particular stands out, and why?
  • What facts and figures do you have that prove that you have done a good job and added value in the role?
  • Tell me about a time when you came across a barrier in the workplace or in a project. How did you handle it? Would you change what you did if it happened again?
  • Tell me about a time when you turned a bad customer experience into a good one.


Revise the is the answers to those questions. At interview time recruiters won’t ask you them word for word – all you do is adapt: shape your answer to their question. There is only so many ways a recruiter can ask you about your past experience and having answers to the above questions will give you all the answers you need. The rest of the questions will be about your technical knowledge and you 😊

5. At interview, consider each interview practice for when the right job comes along. Just practice. In the next interview, you’ll be better, and better and better – until you walk into the right room on the right day – then practice is over! Grrrrr.

6. Wait for the outcome of the interview.

  • Expect knock backs and bounce back when it happens, some more! Remember it’s their loss. They don’t understand what they are missing out on! You wouldn’t fit in with their organisation anyway because they don’t realise a good thing when they see one 😉
  • If you get a knockback, get in touch and ask why. Use the experience and be better in the next one. It’s practice, remember?
  • If you get the job – you earned it!

That is all.


Now back to the Career Bursts website I mentioned. Where this whole blog is one person’s opinion (as are millions of other job advice blogs out there), Career Burst provide evidence-based career advice. Priceless if you ask me. I’m hoping to get a link to there website here on the PDC soon (there is no-customer facing element so you’ll have to access it via the PDC) – would that be something of interest?

Warned you it was long 😉

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

Gary is The Professional Development Community Manager

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  • Great advice Gary. Many years ago, in fact it really was last century! It was 1999, I was going for an interview and really wanted the job, so the evening before I did exactly what you propose here rehearsed potential responses bases on my past experiences.  What I did slightly differently here, was to “visualise” the interview and me answering the questions.

    It is a technique drawn from NLP, relly try to recreate the coming events in your head, see it in colour and full detail, hear the interviewer asking you the question, notice their voice, think about how you are feeling at the moment and then respond, out loud if you like, but recreate it in you head in as much detail as possible. Then when you go for the interview for real it will feel like the second time and you will have more confidence and answers to hand.  

    If you ever watch Formula 1 and see the drivers sat in the car just before the start, with their eyes closed, they are most likely doing this and visualising driving the perfect lap.  Oh and by the way I got the Job!


  • Great article Gary and some nice tips! It would be wondeful to get some help from this Career Burst website you mentioned. 

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