CV Preparation

Until your interview, you are only as good as your paperwork and perhaps telephone manner. This makes your CV and covering letter crucial. They are essentials in most job markets. Like any marketing document a CV should help you sell yourself.

What Should Your CV Include?

The First Page
This should contain your personal details name, address, home and work telephone numbers, e-mail address, education and qualifications and a brief general overview of your skills, experience and the nature of work sought. Please include your geographical preferences, availability and preferred locations.

Pages Two/Three
Here you should highlight your employment history in the past 5 years. Present this in reverse chronological order (i.e. last job first). If you have worked for only one company, break it down with an entry for each position held or projects dealt with. For each position held describe the responsibilities. Do include achievements, not just tasks. If you can, quantify them in sales, financial or production terms.

List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines if they are relevant. Any voluntary, charity or external posts you have held e.g. school governor are worth including. Avoid listing anything too controversial.

It is recommended that two referees be given - including the referees' official titles, addresses and telephone numbers.


Helpful Hints

Remember that you want your CV to be read and responded to. Include just enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader.

  • Three pages maximum is preferred. Every word must contribute to the overall message - so keep it brief and make sure that the contents are relevant to the job you are looking for now - not your last one.
  • Ensure your CV is well structured; this gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review. A CV that is hard to read is often put aside and forgotten.
  • When writing the CV remember self opinion is best avoided. Aim to include facts and evidence.
  • Always keep your CV up to date.
  • Pay close attention to reply instructions in advertisements (e.g.: spelling of the contact's name)
  • Have someone check your spelling and grammar.
  • Use good quality white paper - never coloured as it does not photocopy well and is not always easy to read.


Covering Letters

CVs are seldom used alone - they should always be introduced by a letter. The letter should earn readership for the CV. A good letter should be used to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you putting in the CV (i.e. to highlight your key strengths relevant to that job). An introduction letter can save you from having to rewrite the CV each time you want to target your application to a specific advertisement or sector.

Interview Tips

Congratulations you have been selected for interview. The next step is to prepare yourself so as to give the best possible impression of your skills and your personality so you are offered the job. You know you want the job and you know you can do it, but first you must convince the interviewer. Think carefully about the following areas before attending the interview.


Find out as much as possible about the company - Products, size, locations, style, reputation both as employers and suppliers, the sort of job they would have for you. PharmaStaff will provide you with some information and you can usually find out about most companies by looking for them on the Internet.

Think about your skills, competencies, qualifications and experience so you can answer any questions on this without too much hesitation. Try to think in particular about how these relate to the company and the position offered.

Prepare some questions to ask at the interview and prioritise them as the interview may not be long enough to ask them all - see below for some suggestions.

Read a good book on body language, so you strengthen your good signals, curb the weak ones.

Talk to friendly colleagues, present or recent, about their view of you as a team member, your strengths etc as this is a common subject for interview questions.

Personal Presentation

First impressions count.! Practise a good positive handshake; not too firm, not too weak. Always smile and make eye contact with the interviewer.

Are you well-dressed, in away that follows conventions in this job sector? This is not the time to show how much of an individual you are, as they want someone who will fit in with the company - it is advisable to always wear a well-ironed, dark coloured suit and well-polished shoes.

Take a copy of your CV with you, carrying it in a suitable folder or case. You may also want to take along some samples of your work. This all adds to the impression of you being well organised and enthusiastic.


Plan a reliable way of getting there which allows you to be a few minutes early . Allow for any unexpected delays. You do not want to arrive looking flustered. Remember that if you arrive at the company exactly on time , you will often be delayed at reception or while locating the correct department so a few extra minutes can make a big difference to that all important first impression. If you are late this may mean that your interview is cut short so you may not have a chance to convince the interviewer of your skills.

On Arrival

Be polite to support staff you meet including those at PharmaStaff. They count too - and may be able to influence a decision in your favour. Make sure you know who it is you are meeting as it will look bad if you get their name wrong.

At The Interview........................

Helpful Hints

  1. Try to relax as much as possible. The company has taken the time to interview you and they need to fill the position so it is in their interests too that it is successful.
  2. Try not to monopolise the meeting - let your interviewer talk.
  3. Do not be too passive - ask questions of your own as this shows you are really interested.
  4. If they do not tell you, find out what are the key parts of the candidate specification so you can show how you meet them.
  5. Ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency and profitability of the organisation.
  6. Try to show, without being contrived, that you have done some research.
  7. Be honest about your experience. Lies will always be found out.
  8. Avoid too much self opinion.
  9. Never smoke, and it is probably safer not to accept tea or coffee as it can get in the way.
  10. Keep your replies simple, but avoid just saying 'yes' or 'no'.
  11. Offer positive information - do not harp on problems or criticise previous employers.
  12. Ask about the existing team and show how you would be able to join and enhance this.
  13. Make sure the employer knows the benefPharmaStaff of employing you.

Questions You Should Be Prepared To Answer

  1. Describe your work experience to date?
  2. What knowledge, skills and experience from your current/past employment would be relevant to this job?
  3. What have been the highlights, major achievements, challenges etc. of your career to date of which you are most proud?
  4. What has been the most difficult work challenge you have faced and how did you deal with it?
  5. What are your strengths in terms of technical competency at work?
  6. What are your strengths and weaknesses terms of your personality and working style?
  7. What elements of your work have you found most and least enjoyable?
  8. What are your ambitions for the future. What would you like to be doing in 1, 5, 10 years time?
  9. Why are you interested in this job?
  10. How do you regard your communication skills (written, verbal, one-to-one etc.)?
  11. How do you regard your management skills (planning, problems, supervision, motivating, negotiating etc.)?
  12. In the context of work, what motivates you?

Questions You Might Need To Ask

  1. How secure is the company financially and in terms of future prospects?
  2. Are there any plans to expand, contract or relocated?
  3. What is the company's reputation in the marketplace?
  4. What are the major threats and opportunities facing the company?
  5. What investment is being made for the future e.g. products, services, marketing?
  6. Why has the vacancy occurred?
  7. Who would I be working for and who would I be working with?
  8. What are the terms and conditions of employment?
  9. What would my future prospects with the company be like if I performed well?
  10. If there is time, ask them if there is anything more they need to know about you.
  11. Never leave without asking if you are suitable for the position.
  12. Ask what happens next i.e. when they will make a decision. This is important as it will show your enthusiasm.

Follow Up

Send a brief thank you letter confirming your interest in the position and add if there is something else you want to mention. Sometimes a good phone message if the job involves lots of phone contact.

Salary Negotiation

Try to avoid mentioning the subject of salary yourself at the first interview. Either wait for the interviewer to bring it up or wait until the second interview. You should have given PharmaStaff your salary expectations so the salary offered should be within this range.

Everything is negotiable. If the final offer is not what you had hoped for, say that you like the job, but the package is not up to your expectations - can they be flexible at all - now or after a probationary period.