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When you're applying for work, a CV (or resumé) and cover letter are needed for most roles. You may also need to complete an application form. It's important to show that your skills, strengths, achievements and experiences match with what the employer is looking for. Your aim is to be shortlisted for the next stage of the selection process.
Three key steps when applying for work:
If you're a Massey student or recent graduate, you can access more information on CVs and cover letters under the 'Resources' tab on Massey CareerHub.
Research the skills required for the job by using the job ad, job description, person specification, employer’s website and social media. Look for information that will enable you to tailor your CV, cover letter and interview answers to the role:
Employers will expect you to be able to show how you will add value to them, and to make a positive contribution to them early on. So:
Skills may be named and grouped in different ways. Some are job-specific, others are transferable and apply to many different roles. Examples of transferable skills include:
Further information on the skills required for particular roles, and on CV and cover letter development can be accessed from Careers NZ.
Your interview may be face-to-face, by Skype, or may require you to record a timed segment online straight to camera. You have reached this stage because the employer, or recruitment agency, likes your application. However, it’s crucial that you prepare well for your interview.
What type of interview have you been invited to:
How would you answer questions that are aimed at assessing:
Think about what you want them to remember about you when the interview is over, based on what can you offer. Make sure that you have professional, clean and neat clothing to wear, and plan how you are going to get to the location.
First impressions count, and at face to face interviews these impressions start from the moment you arrive. Be friendly to everyone you meet, and be aware that your body language and tone of voice will be assessed.
Most interviews will involve a combination of general questions such as – tell me about yourself, or what are your strengths and weaknesses - and behavioural or competency based questions asking for examples of occasions when you have shown certain skills or behaviours. One way to structure your competency examples is by using the STAR technique:
In most interviews you will be given the opportunity to ask questions of your own. It is important that you have two or three ready. Think of these in advance of the interview. Typical questions could include:
Employers may want you to sit selection tests either individually or in a group situation. They are testing abilities that are most relevant to the role. Most tests are timed, and may be assessing your verbal and logical reasoning, maths abilities, spatial awareness or IT skills.
Employers may also use personality questions. These aim to determine your preferences, interests and working style.
Note that many providers of psychometric and selection tests offer practice questions on their websites.
Large organisations may run extended selection procedures that take the form of assessment centres.
These may take place after first interviews and before final selection and may include:
If you're participating in an assessment centre, consider carefully what is being assessed:
Show that you're enthusiastic, motivated and interested. Join in as fully as you can, speak clearly and maintain eye contact. In group activities avoid dominating and think before you speak.
As a range of assessment types are involved, you may excel at some but not others. However, you are being assessed against the employer's criteria not competing against other candidates.
Page authorised by Student Services Directorate
Last updated on Tuesday 19 February 2019