Why first impressions count in a job interview. Tips on how to help you secure a new role

 Why first impressions count in a job interview. Tips on how to help you secure a new role

First impressions count in a job interview. You never get a second change to make a first impression and this is never truer than when trying to secure a new job.

Did you know that it only takes less than 30 seconds for a potential employer to form an opinion of you? So you have to start selling yourself immediately.

Your body language will have a vital impact on how your interviewer will see you and so it is so important to get this right from the start of the interview. Just by walking through the door you are being judged even before you have sat down to commence the interview.

Why first impressions count in a job interview

Below are tips on how to make a great first impression and help you secure a new role.


How to use the STAR skill in a job interview


How to use the STAR skill in a job interview

If like me you are interviewing for roles you will have often come up against competency-based interviews eg  ‘tell me about a situation’

Employers use this style for questioning to all interviewees to make sure everyone is being treated equally. Generally this is used in larger structured organisations (but I am now finding is is becoming the norm for all companies) and you could find these types of interviews challenging. However, if you use the STAR system you can ace the interview. It DOES take practice and it is worth rehearsing your responses prior to any interview so that it does not sound stilted.

How to use the STAR skill in a job interview


Your responses of course will vary  depending on the role you are applying for.  A PA could  be asked to explain a situation where there was a problem with travel and how did you resolve this. A customer service person may be asked how they solved a complaint without it being escalated to senior management.

So how to be a STAR


How to deal with ageism when job hunting


How to deal with ageism when job hunting

Do you remember ‘The Bay City Rollers’ or queuing to see ‘Grease’ in your teens – then like me you are a proud 50 plus person. Welcome to the club!

How are you finding job hunting. Have you given up trying to get a job  or like me keep going as in the end we will get there.

Job hunting is a full-time job and there is a lot of competition not just for the over 50s I might add but we do need to put the extra effort in.

We have the experience and determination but sadly some employers do not see past our age and this is something we all must try to change.

Below are some tips on how to deal with ageism when job hunting if you are 50 plus.


How to deal with gaps in your CV

How to deal with gaps in your CV

During our working life many of us will sadly have gaps in our CV due to various reasons which can include redundancy, medical, caring for relative  or taking a gap year  So how to deal with gaps in your CV is detailed below.

Your future employer will want to know why there are gaps. Explaining the gaps can be a challenge and if you do not disclose the gaps in your CV it could mean it could take longer to find the perfect role. Some employers may think you are hiding something such as being in prison or even on the run!

Below are some examples of how to deal with gaps in your CV and to make sure you get the job interview.

How to deal with gaps in your CV


Be upfront and honest

What ever reason for the cap in your CV remember that being honest is the way forward.

Of course you do not have to go into detail as some gaps in your CV you may not want to discuss fully and want to be discrete. But do not cover it up by extending your length of service with a previous employer as your future employer may call your previous company for a reference and if the dates do not match they will want to know why.


Never apologise for the gaps

Always be optimistic about the gaps. You could say I have been busy job hunting and decided not to temp so I can fully concentrate on securing a new role. If I did temp them I feel I would not be able to fully committed to a company while job searching. You could also add you are a loyal worker and want to give 100% to the company I work for.

While job hunting you should consider taking a work related course (many of them are free on-line) so you could say to your potential employer I have also been updating my skills while searching for a new role. I have actually done that and placed this on my CV. It is often a good talking point at interviews.

Also consider volunteering in your local area – however if you are claiming job seekers allowance then do check with the Job Centre to make sure it does not affect your benefits.

Also get some personal recommendations from friends (and ex colleagues) who can provide a testimonial for you. Not only will this show the future employer that you are a good worker but could get you to the top of the pile if the testimonial is attached to your CV.

Just make sure you are doing something

How to explain reasons why there are gaps in your CV


Good: ‘Sadly I was let go by my last employer as they had to make some budget cuts due to the company not securing a new order. I really enjoyed working there and was sad to have to leave’

Bad:  ‘I wanted to leave anyway so I volunteered for the redundancy as it was not a place I liked working in’


Good:  ‘I have a medical condition which is under control. However, I felt I could not continue in my role. I am delighted to say that now I returned to excellent health and looking forward to a new opportunity’

Bad: ‘I get ill quite a lot and it affects my work and companies do not want to deal with people with my medical condition’

Caring for a family member

Good: ‘Sadly I had to care for a very sick relative over the last few months but now their health has greatly improved and they do not need round the clock care anymore’

Bad:  ‘I do not want to discuss family issues’


Good:  ‘I wanted to experience new cultures and learn new languages’

Bad: ‘It was wild…I cannot remember all of it…’

How to deal with gaps in your CV


Some gaps do not need to be mentioned

One honest way of getting around gaps if the gaps were only for a few months is to only give the years you worked rather than the months. In addition if the gaps were more than 10 years ago you may not need to mention if you only cover the last 10 years in your employment. However if the gaps in the employment have been used constructively you may want to add that to the CV to enhance your skills.

How to deal with gaps in your CV

 Finally…remember that any gaps in your employment record may have been outside your control but what ever the reasons you must make sure to explain in a positive manner. This way when being interviewed you will be confident enough to explain why there are gaps in your CV and get the job.


Will a robot take my job?

Will a robot take my job? This is a question many people (including myself) often ask.

Job hunting is tough for everyone (as a job hunter I speak from personal experience)

While many jobs are created yearly there is now a chance that our jobs can be done by a robot. A frightening thought.

Will a robot take my job
Will all employees look like this in the future?

Did you know that between 400 to 800 million jobs we currently do could be automated by 2030.

Below is some further info on how to make sure a robot will not take over your job


Best questions to ask in a job interview

Best questions to ask in a job interview


As someone who is currently job hunting I am getting plenty of practice at interviews. Below are the best questions to ask in a  job interview.

While most of us are aware of the best questions to ask during interviews often we can end interviews without asking any final questions and this is where the job interview can fall down.

You want the potential employer to remember you and one of the best ways (after of course arriving early, being dressed appropriate, researching the company etc) is to have a good set of final end interview questions. Below are a few that I have used (which I am pleased to say are getting me to the 2nd round of interviews)

Best questions to ask in a job interview



Telephone interview tips

Tips on a telephone interview

We are all familiar with a face to face interview but today it is far more likely you will initially have a telephone interview. Often a business/recruiter will want to start with a telephone interview to initially discuss the job opportunity with the potential candidate to see if you would be a good fit and to establish your interest in the role. This way they can narrow down the people they want to invite to a face to face interview.

If you are currently job hunting you may find a recruiter could call you suddenly out of the blue and ask if you have a few minutes to discuss a current role they are recruiting for or just to discuss your job search in general. It is vital that you always answer the telephone professionally and never more so if it is a number you do don’t recognise – it is not always PPI selling numbers that you will not recognise. First impressions always count.

It is essential you prepare for a telephone interview as you would a face to face. Take the time to match your qualifications to the job description, so you can speak to why you’re a strong candidate for the position.



Training Course for the Over 50s starting end of April

I wanted to draw your attention to a training programme for the Over 50s who are currently out of work

When I started this blog I wanted to provide you with uplifting and interesting posts that are generally geared towards Women (men are welcome of course) who are over 50.

Why not discover skills you never thought you had to get you back into work








Networking tips – how to be successful

Networking tips – how to be successful.  Most of us will network at some point in our life, either as a solo business owner or as part of an established organisation.

Networking is not something we are used to – it means getting out of our comfort zone – you may feel awkward  – but by following the following points below you should then be able to go forward and make excellent working relationship. So what are the best networking tips.

Networking tips how to be successful


E mail tips

A Quick Guide to Using Email

People often ask ‘how did we cope before e-mail’ but using email in your business can have its drawbacks if not used correctly.

Email is a very effective communication tool but often we are inundated with spam. We must make sure we use it correctly.

e mail tips





Below are some tips on basic email etiquette.