Top Tips

Skills you can take anywhere

We’ll work closely with you on our six week course to give you tailored skills, knowledge and confidence so you can drive forward your own way. But to give you something to think about in the meantime here are our top-rated tips to keep you focused regardless of what stage you’re at.


Telling the story of you

There are lots of different ways to write a good CV based on your personality and the type of roles you want to apply for. If you join the Drive Forward programme, then we’ll work closely with you on the steps you need to take to create a cracking first impression. In the meantime, here are our top tips for keeping your CV focused.

Keep it short and sweet

Your CV shouldn’t be any more than 2 pages of A4 paper. Recruiters don’t want to read your life story, they want to see at a glance that you’re an interesting candidate they can interview. Stay punchy and to the point and save some details for when you meet face-to-face.

Don’t send the same CV twice

Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but take time to tailor your CV for each role you apply for. Research the company and the job advert so you can work out exactly the skills and experience you should highlight. It’s a little bit of effort that can make a big difference.

Fill the gaps

Being out of work isn’t a problem, you just have to put a positive spin on it. If you’ve got gaps in your work experience, talk about the other things you did in that time – courses, volunteering, fundraising, team sports. Shout about the good!

Honesty’s the best policy

Lying on your CV is a big no no. The last thing you want is to start a new job and then lose it for lying about your experience or background. It will make for an awkward interview too if you get asked a question you can’t answer.

Are you interested?

Showcasing your interests is a key part of building a CV, but emphasise the things that highlight skills you’ve gained or show a little responsibility. Playing team sports, coaching, running a club, photography, film making and the like are all more impressive than watching TV and hanging out at Nandos.

Power up

It’s easy to get sucked into writing down standard statements like ‘led a team’ but throw in some added insight and tell people what the result was, such as ‘led a team to league promotion in the first season’. ‘led a team to league promotion in the first season’. ‘led a team to league promotion in the first season’.

Check it

You’ve put in a lot of effort to get your CV where you want it, so make sure you double check it for spelling errors (or get a friend or mentor to take a look for you). Everybody makes mistakes, but make sure you catch yours before you send yourself out for the roles you want.

Stay positive

Don’t be disheartened if your CV doesn’t always make it to the top of the pile. If you don’t succeed, ask for advice and feedback from others to help get your job search back on track. Or come and join the Drive Forward programme and make some momentum for your future!

Nail the interview

Whether it’s your first or your fifteenth, there are some tried and tested methods that you should always follow for every interview. Below are some of our favourites.

Be prepared

Take time to research the company you’re going to meet and what they do, as well as re-reading your own CV so you’re clear on how your skills are appropriate for the job. And don’t forget to prepare a few questions you want to ask about the role, the company and what would be expected of you going forward.

Don’t panic

It’s ok to take a few moments to think about your answers if you get asked a tricky question. Nobody’s trying to catch you out, nerves are normal and small silences are perfectly fine. Just take a breath and carry on.

Sit up straight

It might sound like something you’d hear at school, but your body language tells your interviewer a lot. Be positive and maintain eye contact. Don’t cross your arms.

Make a good first impression

Taking the time to prepare your interview outfit, get a haircut and shine your shoes can give a big boost to your professional image. And make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get to your interview on the day so you arrive a little early. You don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on yourself by turning up late.

Know what you have to offer

This is your moment to tell the interviewer why they should hire you, so give them examples of how you display the skills they’re looking for. Be ready to talk about your previous experience, abilities, skills, and have at least three strong points about yourself you can relate to the job on offer.

Remember your manners

Politeness is a big thing in any job. Always start and end your interview with a firm handshake and take the time to say thank you for the opportunity to interview. And don’t be afraid to ask for a business card so you can follow up the meeting with an email reinforcing your thanks and that you’re really interested in the role.

Practice

Even if you don’t have someone to ask you example questions, you can rehearse the types of answer you want to give. Keep thinking about the answers as you do normal things like brushing your teeth in front of the mirror, or making a cup of tea.

Smile

It’s simple but effective.

Advice from people who’ve joined us


  • “I did a four-week long money management course which made me more aware of what I spent my money on and how I can budget better. That sort of thing is really important to me; my friends have their parents to fall back on but I don’t have that. I need to be able to look after my money and Drive Forward helped massively.”
    Michelle Nachum
  • “If it wasn’t for Drive Forward I wouldn’t have met some of the corporate people I have met or had the benefit of their advice. I have even got to speak to one of the Directors of Lloyds; not many people get that sort of opportunity.”

     

    Anonymous Drive Forward Mentee
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