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When you’re looking for a job and you get a call from a potential employer asking for an interview, the natural instinct is to drop everything and make it happen. This instinct is absolutely right. The last thing you want is to miss an opportunity because you were too “busy” to make it. But with a 24-hour period you should be able to properly prepare for an interview and impress the potential employer. Here are some tips for preparing for a job interview on short notice.
1. Prepare your clothing
One-hour Martinizing is your friend. If you don’t have time to do your laundry, take advantage of fast dry cleaning. The first impression is a key part of any interview. You need to look sharp. With a short time to prepare you won’t have a chance to get a haircut or buy new shoes that you would under other circumstances, but you can look good in your clothes.
2. Practice your elevator pitch
You should always spend time before interviews preparing responses to typical interview questions. When preparing on short notice, you might not have the time. Rather than rehearsing responses to a bunch of questions, do yourself a favor and finalize your elevator pitch, which is the one-minute message you want to convey about yourself. It should include your accomplishments and what you can offer the company. You want to have this near memorized, not to the point you recite it word-for-word, but to where you know exactly what you want to say. Review the job description and isolate the job requirements and demonstrate how your successes have prepared you to meet this company’s needs. When you have your pitch down think a bit about those typical interview questions.
3. Study the job description and your resume
Carefully review the various requirements in the job description. Since you are limited on time to prepare, spend the bulk of your time working through the job description. For every requirement you want to have an example of your own related ability—be it how you’ve succeeded at that task in the past or how your previous experience has prepared you. It can be helpful to put your resume right next to the job description and connect the dots. Focus on those elements that relate to the job description. Reread your cover letter in case it comes up.
4. Have 1-2 questions to ask the interviewer
Every job interview usually ends the same way, with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. This is the opportunity for you to show how well you understand the job and the company and how well you have been listening. Be sure you take the time to develop some insightful questions. Unless it’s a major concern or potential stumbling block, avoid the temptation of asking about salary, benefits and so forth. Focus on the job—expectations, projections, items that are unclear in the description, etc. The interview should be a two-way conversation. Have talking points for your interviewer.
5. Review for any front-page company news
It’s always a good idea to get familiar with the ins and outs of a company before you go in for the interview. With a short time to prepare you’re not going to have a chance to read every press release and browse through every page of the company’s website. Review only the latest company press releases and search the web for any recent news regarding the company or the industry. Show your potential employer that you are informed.
6. Finalize your schedule
Once you get the call you’ll have to make your schedule accommodate the interview. If you’re currently working, that’s going to be an issue. On short notice, you may have to call in sick. Use this as a last resort. Try to schedule the interview so you can leave work early or arrive late. If you interview before you go into work, wear clothes you would wear to work. You don’t want anyone to notice you have a job interview. If you dress like you’re going to a job interview everyday, great. Otherwise, bring a change of clothes.
7. Get some rest
Although you may feel the need to spend extra time preparing for the job interview, it’s also important that you go in fresh, rested, and ready to go. To this end, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before you go in for the interview. The rest will ensure that you make it to the interview on time and are sharp and ready to go.
Watch: Video by SkilloPedia
If you end up dealing with a job interview on short notice, don’t panic. You won’t be able to prepare as much as you might like, but you’ll still have time to make a good first impression.
Video and Image: YouTube/SkiloPedia
Have you always dream of becoming a firefighter? Do you want to save people’s lives? Well, time to help you make that dream a reality. This is How to Become a Firefighter.
How do I Become a Firefighter?
Being a firefighter may be exciting and cool, but it is also a very dangerous career path. If you feel that you are the type of person to run into a burning building, or to save a person from a car leaking fuel that may go up at any second, then you’re probably made of the right stuff.
A firefighter’s job is to protect people and properties from fire. They are also responsible for providing assistance in the event of disasters such as earthquakes, floods, vehicle accidents and train derailments. And getting your cat out a tree. (Probably not)
The training is extremely physically demanding, so you need to make sure you’re in tip top shape.
- 18 years or older
- Matric (Mathematics and Physical Science an advantage)
- Physically and mentally fit (evaluations will be conducted)
- Must not be claustrophobic (have a fear of enclosed spaces)
- Must not be acrophobic (have a fear of heights)
- High level of discipline
- Ability to work in a team
- Ability to manage traumatic and stressful situations
- Effective communication skills
You can also enter the world of fire fighting through a learnership programme. These are often conducted by Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, and they will advertise the programmes as applications open.
- 18 years and older
- Matric (preferably with Mathematics and Physical Science)
- Complete a 2.4km run in under 11 minutes (males) or 12 minutes (females)
- Complete 15 bench press repetitions of 25kg
- Complete 30 sit ups in 60 seconds
- Carry another person of equal body weight a distance of 100 metres
- Complete a vertigo test (ladder climb five floors)
- Claustrophobia test
- Pass a written test in basic mathematics and comprehension
- Successfully undergo a competency based interview
- Successfully pass a medical examination
The assessments described above are carried out on an elimination basis. If an applicant fails to meet a required standard, they will not be permitted to proceed to the next assessment.
On successful completion of the assessment an applicant is appointed as a Learner Firefighter and enters the Training Program. Candidates are appointed on a contract until training is completed.
Thereafter a candidate will complete the 16 week Firefighter 1 course module which consists of a practical and a theoretical component.
Training is a combination of ‘real life’ scenarios simulated in a controlled environment as well as classroom orientated sessions.
Throughout the four month course, values such as teamwork, discipline and perseverance are instilled, ensuring all recruits have a solid basis to start a rewarding career in the CTFRS.
The CTFRS’ Fire Training Academy, which is located in Epping, is accredited with the LG Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and South African Emergency Services Institute (SAESI).
Supplementary courses (offered by external service providers) include Basic Ambulance Assistant (BAA), Ambulance Emergency Assistant (AEA), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Advanced Driving. Additional courses are added to the prospectus as they are developed.
Approach your local fire department in your area or monitor your local newspaper. E.g. City Press
You start off as a firefighter completing four months of training.
The layout of your CV is as important as its content purely because it says plenty about who you are both as a person and as a professional. A messy CV that doesn’t flow and isn’t consistent in terms of font and spacing says that you are probably a lazy person with poor attention to detail. A long-winded CV might cause you to come across as arrogant, whereas a CV that is too short will make it seem as though you are underqualified. The key lies in finding a balance and ensuring a logical progression of information.
Ultimately, the way in which you lay out your résumé will largely depend on your industry. For example, in the media and advertising industry, colourful and creative CVs are always welcome. However, in the banking or finance industry, a clear, concise and standardised version is best. While the overall design of your CV may differ from industry to industry, the order in which you present your potential future employer with important information about yourself remains the same.
It is essential that you include such details as your full name, contact number(s) and email address.
A cover letter should be addressed directly to the person who posted the job ad. If the name of this person is unknown, simply address it to ‘to whom it may concern’. Personalise this letter by writing about why you believe you should be considered for the particular vacancy, briefly highlighting your strengths/skills/work experience according to the requirements mentioned in the ad.
List your education information in reverse chronological order to ensure that the qualifications which are most important are the first ones that your potential future employer sees.
Again, list your work experience in reverse chronological order and be sure to include some details regarding your responsibilities at each company.
Avoid clichés and include skills most relevant to the position first.
Two references should suffice. Be sure to include the full names, phone numbers and email addresses of both references.
Making a good impression with your CV means that you will need to pay attention to all aspects of it – from the content to the layout
Image: Unknown Source
Your CV is the first thing that the employer or recruiter see. So it is your first impression before your first impression. So learn to master the art of creating a standout CV so that your looks more convincing than the rest.
Here are 10 things you must consider when drafting your CV
1. Be clear and structured
There is no way recruiters are going to read all the CVs in detail. They begin by ‘scanning’ the CVs received by reading them diagonally. Only those that catch their attention upon first reading will be examined more closely. Choose an attractive layout by structuring your ideas. For this purpose, use paragraphs and clear titles.
2. Avoid embellishments
A CV is a professional document. Don’t try to make it stand out by using an eccentric font or colours. Keep it simple, clear and to the point.
3. Be concise
Your CV isn’t a novel. Avoid telling the story of your life. Make sure the document doesn’t exceed 1 to 2 pages of A4. Indicate a few relevant elements regarding your professional experience (tasks, responsibilities, etc.) and possibly your education (courses, title of your dissertation, etc.).
4. Make sure you can be easily contacted
If the recruiter wants to contact you, they must be able to find your personal information at first glance. Put it at the top of the first page. Think of putting your age rather than your date of birth to make things easier for the person reading your CV.
5. Remove all unnecessary information
Avoid putting ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top of the document. Similarly, don’t put ‘name’ in front of your name, ‘address’ in front of your address, etc. If your CV is clear and well structured, there will be no room for uncertainty.
6. Put the emphasis on your experience
Your experience is what interests the recruiter above all. It is more important than your training and must therefore be mentioned first. Make sure it is relevant to the job for which you are applying. No professional experience yet? Then emphasise any placements and student jobs. If you really don’t have any relevant experience, begin with your education.
7. Only mention relevant training
Of course you have to mention your basic education and your specialisations relevant to the job, but make it brief. If you have a degree, the recruiter won’t be interested in your primary and secondary school studies, for instance. Have you done any training during your career that you think is pertinent to the job in question? Speak about it briefly.
8. Work in chronological order
Whether you are writing about your experience or your education, the most recent information is the most important. Always put it first.
9. Be precise
Don’t forget to mention your language and computer skills. It is essential but also mention your level of knowledge. For example: excellent, good, average, basic. Regarding languages, make a distinction between your reading, spoken and written abilities.
10. Personalise your CV
Your CV isn’t a standard document. It is in your best interest to adapt it according to the job you are targeting. Some experience or education/training might be more relevant for one job than for another.
No one enjoys spending hours on a job application, only to receive a polite rejection email a few weeks later.
When it happens once, it’s disappointing. But when you’re repeatedly overlooked for interviews, it can really get you down.
A strong CV can be your ticket to your dream role, or at the very least, ensure your application lands on the interview pile instead of headed for oblivion.
Here are 10 instantly actionable tweaks to give your CV the best chance of capturing the attention of recruiters.
1. Keep it short
Two pages is ideal for a CV. Bullet lists and dot points are your friend. People will stop reading if the information they need is buried in wordy paragraphs and unnecessary detail.
2. Start with a personal profile
Begin with three to four sentences that outline how your skills and experience meet the requirements of the role(s).
3. Consider grouping short-term positions
Employers want candidates who look like they’ll stay for the long haul. It’s better to say that you worked in hospitality for two years rather than listing the ten different fast food outlets you briefly worked in during that time.
4. Focus on your accomplishments and skills instead of your employment history
If you’ve worked on short-term contracts, you could list these under Contract Work and highlight your achievements instead of detailing each role.
5. Add awards, prizes and other relevant information that will help you stand out from the crowd
Do you speak a second language? Volunteer in an area directly related to the role? Make sure you mention these.
6. Focus on what you have accomplished rather than your duties, then prove your claims
Did you add value, make or save the company money, solve a problem, make something more efficient, or attract new clients? Describe how you did this.
7. Make sure the recruiter can easily see your strengths
It’s almost always best to lead with your employment history unless you’ve recently graduated.
8. Use language that is easy to read and skim over
Spell out your qualifications and any acronyms. A recruiter probably won’t know that a DAgrEc is a Doctor of Agricultural Economics. And it’s better to say you were a member of the Expenditure Review Committee rather than the ERC.
9. Explain noticeable gaps in employment
This is especially true if you were studying, completing projects, freelancing or undertaking research.
10. Get a professional email address
Email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org will send your application straight to the bin.