The Winning CV

Professional employment support services in Wellington and Palmerston North

Here are some free resources and suggestions our experienced team have compiled. Hopefully, these tips and hints will help you identify and seek out your ideal employment opportunity, help you with your next job interview, or help polish off the rough edges on your CV. If you still find you need a bit of a helping hand with your upcoming interview process, you can always call or email us.


Key Steps In a Successful Position Search

  • Inventory of key skills: Create an inventory of your own transferable skills – the generic skills that you will use in any employment environment.
  • Know where you want to use your unique skills: Research thoroughly where it is you want to use your skills – the field, the environment (small or large firm, emerging or well-developed, stable or full of change.)
  • Search strategies: Method or approach to the position search

Five Worst Methods of Finding a Position

  • Mail CV to random employers - 7% successful 
  • Answering advertisements in professional or trade journals - 7% successful
  • Answering non-local newspaper advertisements - 10% successful
  • Answering local newspaper advertisements - 5% to 24% successful *
  • Attending private employment agencies - 4% to 24% successful *
* The higher the position the least successful 

Five Best Methods of Finding a Position 

  • 33% successful 
    • Using leads from a network of professional associates, friends and family
  • 47% successful 
    • Direct approach to a company that is working in an area that interests you
  • 69% successful 
    • Individually, telephoning employers working in your field of interest
  • 84% successful 
    • As a group, telephoning employers working in your field of interest
  • 86% successful 
    • The Creative Job Search Strategy
Your CV Magic consultant can aid you to develop this methodology - just telephone on (04) 499 9271 Wellington or (06) 354 0945 Palmerston North for an appointment.


Before the interview date:

Muhammad Ali said,
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
  • Research the company very well so you can discuss them. (Visit them, talk with their staff if you can.)
  • Prepare specific real life examples from your work or private life that illustrate you at your best (these should include leadership, problem-solving, team work, learning new skills, adapting to change, dealing with conflict, passionate endeavour, etc.)
  • Identify their dress style and match this as closely as possible.
  • Formulate questions to ask that will determine if you think this role is right for you.

During the interview:

“Ask not what the interviewer can do for you, but what you can do for the interviewer.” – John F Kennedy paraphrased
  • Arrive on time with an enthusiasm that is natural to you, and self-confidence.
  • Be friendly and positive with everyone you see (you have 30 seconds from your arrival in front of the interviewer(s) to make a strong impression.)
  • Have a succinct summary of what you offer to the role in terms of skills and personal qualities.
  • Answer their questions in 1 ½ to 2 minutes maximum.
  • Never discuss salary. Do discuss what really motivates you.
  • If you don’t understand what you have been asked, reflect back to clarify. (i.e., "Are you asking me…?")
  • Make sure you have told them about the skills and personal attributes that you will contribute to the organisation/company and utilise in this role.
  • Before you leave, make sure the interviewer knows you want the role (if, in fact, you do want it!)

After the interview:

“A Diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it.” – Diane Nyad (marathon swimmer)
  • Review your performance during the interview. Practice those questions that gave you difficulty and congratulate yourself for those you answered well.
  • Write a brief note to the interviewer thanking them for their time and summarising the positives you mentioned during the interview - be succinct.
  • Keep reviewing the specific examples of "you at your best”, in preparation for any other interview that you may attend.

The Winning CV

The Winning CV

The job of the CV is to get you a foot in the door of the employer you wish to work for, or to remind an employer of an impression you made during a direct approach. It is a marketing tool and a selling instrument.

“A CV does not win you the job, but it can attract an employer to you.”

If you have seen your ideal job advertised in the newspaper you will need to rely on your trusty CV to get you an interview. The problem is that it will be sitting amongst 40-50 other documents on the employer’s desk. You have about 30-40 seconds to capture the imagination of the prospective employer (about the first one and a half pages) - therefore it needs to be highly effective.

An effective “winning CV” has the following characteristics:
  • Future Oriented
  • Focused
  • Behaviourally Based
  • Incisive
  • Professional Presentation

Future Oriented

Many CVs are simply tombstones for dead jobs rather than documents that disclose the skills, knowledge and experience that are directly relevant to your prospective employer’s future expectations. We will identify the employer’s specific requirements and put these to the fore so that they see you fitting the role immediately. Your CV should be personalised to each prospective employment role. If you have focused your career search there will be very little rewriting (15 – 30%) for different roles you are applying for.


We will develop a profile that clearly states where you are going. An example of what I mean is detailed below. Which is the more effective, do you think?

“I am seeking an analyst programmer position that offers the opportunity to develop as a speciality in object-oriented design.”

“I am seeking an employer who will allow me to make the most of my skills. While my main focus is engineering, I am enthusiastic about other opportunities that may arise.”

Behaviourally Based

We will define your competencies in terms of observable behaviours in a technique employed by our consultant during your initial interview. We will replace bland catch phrases with an analysis of your key professional competencies that are observable. Which of the following do you think is the more effective?

“Ten years of key account management within a highly competitive sales environment have honed my interpersonal skills.”

“Good communication skills.”


The first page will contain an “executive summary” of your key strengths and competencies that will attract the employer’s immediate attention. This will address the person specification in the advertisement or job description. We will also include an “achievements” summary that illustrates where you have successfully demonstrated use of these competencies.

Professional Presentation

This is characterised by no spelling errors, a well-organised layout, consistent fonts, a stylish appearance and lots of white space. It must catch the eye of the employer. The attractiveness of your CV will be enhanced by using good binding and lamination, and use of colour.

Make a splash at your next job interview: give us a call today on 027 454 0945  to find out how!

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