Selling Yourself Within Interviews

So, you have been lucky enough to get to the interview stage – so what happens next? In most cases we let ourselves down due to lack of preparation. Not fully knowing what we have to offer, not fully identifying our transferable skills and certainly not expanding enough within our responses.

Most likely the interviewer will ask, “Tell me about yourself,” and quite often (usually because of the above) we start by saying: “I am hardworking, honest, reliable and I can work in a team or on my own using my own initiative.” This is called (or what I call) a ‘so what‘ response. So what if you are hardworking, I will be paying you so this is the least I expect. So what that you are honest and reliable, again this is my money and I would expect this from anyone I employ. So what you can work in a team – so can millions of other people.

Really, what the interviewer is wanting to know is about previous work/experience you have, as they will be picturing you already working within which ever role you have applied for. Don’t rush the response, give an overview of how you have performed in previous roles. What hobbies/interests do you have? The interviewer is trying to get to know you so again expand on what you enjoy doing out of work. This is a good way to also build up a connection, maybe you’ll find some common interest you share with the interviewer.

You will also probably be asked about the skills you could bring to the job role. Again, refrain from just listing these: “I am hardworking, a good time-keeper, I can work in a team……….” These are ‘so what.’ At this stage, the interviewer will probably be thinking about what they are having for tea, what they need to get from the shops, what they need to next in their own job. You risk losing the attention of the interviewer by the ‘so what‘ responses.

Instead, expand and inform the interviewer. “One of the skills I could bring to this job role is my ability to work hard. When I worked at my previous employment I would make sure I arrived at least 15 minutes before my shift started. Once I had completed my own tasks I would then offer support to my colleagues to ensure collectively all our jobs were completed to a high standard.” Giving real-life examples will also show your competence too.

The key with this response is to link your own skills, qualities and strengths advertised in the job advert. This is where your preparation will help. Each job will want a variety of essential and desirable skills and qualities, for each one write down how and when you have used these skills/qualities. This will enable you to sell yourself and your ability to do the job.

In a ‘nut shell‘, you must become every aspect of the job advertised. Knowing your ability and being able to give examples (even if you are not asked for examples) will ease your nerves and you will (hopefully) be confident when responding to the potential interview questions you may get asked.

For more information on how to use ‘effective communication’ within your interviews take a look at the communication blog.


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Not getting interviews? Sending off numerous application forms daily? Then you are doing something wrong! 

It is all well and good if you have a good CV. But your CV is worthless if you are not using it correctly during the application process.

And here lies the key, the process. Ask yourself, “Am I sending off 1 CV for 10 jobs”? “Do I right a grammatically correct warm email when sending off my CV”? If you use 1 CV for 10 jobs then stop. If you just send your CV as an attachment then stop!

This is the Process in which you should always follow:

One CV for one Job. If you are applying for 10 jobs in a week then you will need to tweek and tailor your CV to suit the job you are going for – 10 times. So look carefully at the job role, is there a list of keywords in the job advert? If so, you now need to maybe change or add more key skills and maybe add another sentence to your personal profile. This way you are making your CV replicate what the job advert wants. Now before you say, “that’s lying, etc”, you obviously need to make sure you can give evidence/examples of these skills.

So, we now have a CV (or 10) which match what the employer is wanting. Double check your spelling and grammar and ask someone to proof-read it for you.

If you are emailing your CV as an attachment, then this is something you definitely need to know.
Writing “please find my CV attached”, is the quickest way for the employer to judge you on your first impression. And with this response, they can also use the quickest way to get rid of you. Pressing the delete key.

Look back on how you have previously applied for jobs and if this sounds familiar you need to stop. You need to send a warm email. Which is also known as email etiquette.

The email should go something (although not limited to) like this:

Good afternoon Mr Granger,

Please find my CV attached for the job advertised on TM Website – Ref 89789.

I would love the chance to meet with you to give you further information about the skills I have to offer. I have highlighted on my CV how I have used outstanding team working skills and feel that this skill has helped both myself, my peers and the company to reach their targets.

Also, when looking for further information about the company I love how you respect and encourage difference. This in itself gave me even more enthusiasm for applying for the job.

Thank you so much for taking time to read my CV. I do appreciate how busy you will be so if you need to contact me to discuss things further then please contact me at a time convenient to you.

Kind regards

Tracey Morewood

And then press send!

Can you see the difference from how you may have previously been sending off your CV?

This is the process in which you should always be following. Tailor your CV and your cover letter/email to what the employer is looking for.

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FREE – A guide to creating your CV and Moving onwards and upwards

Learn How To Sell Yourself – And Get THAT Job!

Your CV is the most important document to get into employment or even enhance your career prospect/change your career.

An employer may only ‘skim’ read the first part of your CV, so you need to keep them interested at the beginning and don’t bore them with ‘just another run of the mill’ CV.

Yes, we have all heard about effective communication skills, crikey many of us have it on our CV. But what does it actually mean? Is our body language letting us down? The minute we open our mouth, are we setting ourselves up for a fall? How many seconds are we being judged when going for an interview?




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Since I first started my teaching career I came across some new terminology, ‘Soft Skills’. I can clearly remember Googling it and I was in no doubt that these skills could make or break a person. When I started with Offender Learning, I kept hearing these ‘buzz’ words being used but couldn’t clearly see where. “Make sure they’re on your lesson plans and schemes of work”. I didn’t need to be told though. From the start I realised that by embedding soft skills within every single session I taught, I got not only massive respect from the learner, but also 100% success rate all the while I was there. I could clearly see these learners’ progressing and I am only full of praise for them.

So today, listening to the radio and the BBC news reader saying how important these skills are, I was taken aback. I have fully promoted soft skills and will always continue to as I feel that they allow each individual to begin building their own foundations for their future. What ever that future holds.

It’s not okay just to understand what ‘soft skills’ means. We, as Educators need to fully promote them. But to do this we need to have bosses and line managers etc, who really understand the effort and understanding each tutor/lecturer/educator will need to fully promote these skills.

I know only too well that sadly these skills are not used effectively in some educational departments. I could build up a learners positive attitude, communication skills and self-esteem etc only for one person to knock them down with their comments (or their need to go on a power trip).

Within my book I could not write about the employability journey without going on about these skills. Looking at the young people who come to me on the employability course, clearly many have not had anyone to help them to develop these skills.

Hopefully now that this is getting the deserved recognition, we can work together with the 16 – 24 year group to help them develop their skills and begin building their future.

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How You Are Filtered And Judged Before They Even Know You

APPLICATION FORMS: How to get to the interview stage.

Finding work and getting an invite to an interview is an often long, slow and judgemental process. Yes, a judgemental process. Before you even set eyes on a prospective employer they will have often made a judgement on your abilities and suitability for the post through your application form.

It is at this point that they may just discard it or even just throw it away. Harsh I know. They do not know what you have to offer yet. How can you stop this from happening?

So let’s have a look at a typical general application form and let me help you to improve on your form filling ways (if you need it).  

The first rule you MUST follow is to have at least 2 copies of the application form. The second rule you MUST follow is to READ the application form first. Yes I know that sometimes we want to just jump straight in as we are enthusiastic, but seriously READ AND RE-READ. What colour pen is required? Does it need BLOCK CAPITALS?

Lastly, make sure you RESEARCH the company before you put pen to paper. What are their values, aims, missions, goals, customer approach and staff approach? Get as much information as you can.

Before I go further I want to give a recent example of how my own son faced this judgement. 1 week after his 16th birthday he decided he wanted extra money (as most teenagers do), so armed with wad of CV’s (courtesy of his mum) and a carefully completed application form  we set off to hand them out (find out more about this approach (speculative – spec) in my book – How To Get On The Employment Ladder). At only just turned 16 I did not hold out much hope to be honest as I felt he would be too much of a liability for some employers due to his age. Anyway, what do I know!

We then went into a well known toy store and he asked politely about any jobs available and they informed him they were setting on. They asked him to complete an application form there and then. So after we waited 10 minutes for a pen (I’m a single mum so no, I was not prepared – lol) he carefully wrote out his application form. He is the first one to admit that his writing is not the neatest – so what. It is still good enough and he fully completed the form giving great answers.

He then handed it back to the supervisor and he was quite off with us when he said it should be in BLUE INK. My son apologised and explained it was the one he was given. He then politely informed the supervisor that he is available for any hours, evening and weekends and really enthusiastic about the prospective job role.

He really had taken on board everything I had taught him, yes taught, not read as he had gaming to do!! Anyway, I felt sure that they would get back in touch, even to say “look I am really sorry but you have not been successful”. But they didn’t. Not a word.

My impression of that company went downhill, I do feel that the pen colour and the fact that it was not the neatest application form went against him. For crying out loud, he’d just turned 16. Anyway I am not bitter – ok, just a bit.

So after our two days of handing out CV’s/application forms we headed home and then he received a phone call. Could he attend an interview in two days time? Whoop, of course he could.

Then he received another phone call from another top retailer asking him if he would do a phone interview to see if he was to be put for a GROUP interview. Oh my days, he really must have learnt something as he put in use everything I had said and was successful in both the telephone interview and the group interview.

So why have I given you this example?

HE WAS JUDGED at the application form stage by one retailer. But, he ended up in a position at 16 of turning down interviews. The feedback he has been given from his supervisor and manager is very encouraging and I am so grateful they gave him a chance. 


So let me guide you through a typical application form. Remember, the error examples I give is because I have seen them day in day out:

1.    FORENAMES – This is your first name. Now just humour me as I have seen hundreds over the years crossed out because the Surname has been put there.

 2.    POSTCODE – Is UN6 9JK and not un6 9jk. It is all CAPITAL LETTERS.

 3.    YES/NO – Quite often we are required to circle/cross out the relevant one. But because we don’t read it first we sometimes put a line through both as we have done it on the wrong one!  We may then re-write it in. They will judge you as being careless, no accuracy skills, no attention or enthusiasm etc at the above stages already. They may have put your application form in the bin.

 4.    DON’T HAVE GAPS – You may need to also put down your work history/school grades on an application form. Make sure you have your CV with you and you can account for each year.  

At the above stage the employer may wonder what you have been doing with your time if there is a gap. Have you served time at Her Maj’s Pleasure? Have you been bringing up your family? Or have you been actively looking for work? Don’t give them any reason to judge you negatively. Each one of the above is easily explainable.

 5.    YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYER – On this part of the application form you may be asked position held and why you left. Please do not put on, “SACKED as I did not get along with my boss.” Even if you were, you will not get to the interview stage with this response on your application form.

 6.    SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE – You may be asked to give examples of skills and experience. This is where you RESEARCH the job role and company to see how you can match yourself to the job.  

They may ask a typical interview question such as: “Why do you want to work for ……….?” Again, play this smart. Look at what they stand for, do a bit of brown nosing (or butt kissing – but not to come across as too smarmy or creepy). If you have used the company before tell them how much you love their products etc.

 7.    COMPETENCE BASED QUESTIONS – You could be asked on the application form a set of Competency Based questions. Basically this means they want to know if you are capable of carrying out certain tasks (more in my book about this). Competent just means able.

8.    SIGN AND DATE – Do not forget to put on your signature and the date. However, make sure you date the form the day you send it. Do not put a date on it and then send it two weeks after. What could this tell the prospective employer? You are not that enthusiastic,  you are careless, not organised etc.


I have almost finished, yeah yeah I know I can go on, but it is really important you take note of this next bit.

So imagine, you have spent hours (you better have been) on your application form. You are even getting quite angry and frustrated and almost want to give in. You turn the page, Oh “Fetching Days” – Ta Mr P. Another box. Have they not got enough information already?

This box simply says:


That is all. There will be a small space (or if it is on the computer you can put in as much as you like) to add any other information.

What are you thinking? Yes, so does usually 96% of people – “I will leave it blank as I have answered enough and I will just be repeating myself as I have nothing else to put down”.

WRONG. This box is your last time to shine. So what if you have put loads down, put more down. Match yourself even more to the company and to the job role. What do you think your job entails? Google it and match yourself again.

NEVER, EVER leave this box empty.

Okay, I think you get the picture that completing a general application form takes time. Remember, this is just a basic one. They should take you from 2 hours to a few days to complete. Yes, that long.

Ask yourself this question, “How long do I usually spend on application forms?” 

If the answer is under 1 hour then this must STOP. You are not putting in enough effort. Sorry but you are not. You are allowing yourself to be judged before they have even seen you.

If you have a longer application form it will take you even longer.

Another example from my own experience was when I was told I was to lose my job. I gathered my thoughts (as you would need to with this news 😦 ) and knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it. Then both of these places advertised jobs which I would have loved to have done. Both of these application forms was for within the teaching sector, so the application forms were quite long – (yes, okay like this blog ha ha).

Anyway, I sat down and did all of the above and took two whole weekends to complete each application form (not an easy task being a single parent of two teenage boys I can tell you).

But I took my time and really sold my skills then sold my skills even more. There was also one of those often neglected boxes as mentioned above. And you’ve got it, I sold my skills even more; I made sure I used all of my previous job roles and transferrable skills.

Did I get an invite to an interview for either job role? No!!

Yes I did (my Yorkshire humour), for both in fact. By this point I had already been offered 2 job roles (what a position to be in) and decided to go and work for a brand new Training Provider – Blue Apple Training, whose values and beliefs match my own. 

Hopefully you will have gathered more knowledge about application forms. This is just a tiny bit, but hopefully you will put this into practice. Without the time and effort at the start, you will struggle to get to the interview stage.

Don’t get filtered before they have even met you.

Keep me updated of any progress you have made.

Thanks for reading, please pass this on to any sources etc to help me keep promoting my book:

How to get on the employment ladder; you have the skills now learn to use them

Available from Amazon and other online retailers and to download onto Kindle.

Thanks once again and good luck. Remember, you have the skills I am just trying to get them to the front of your brain as they may have been buried by pressures and strains of life.








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Ok, so we have broken communication down into 2 parts so far (look through my blogs for part 1 and 2), now we are going to put in the final piece.

What We Actually Say Can Mean Nothing


Yes, what responses we are giving in our interview could actually be worthless!

What do I mean by this? Well if you are telling the interviewer all about your skills in a ‘dull’ tone, then they are probably not even really listening to you. Again, picture that boring person who is telling you a great tale or story that has happened. What do you do? You turn off.

In a nutshell, you could be saying; “I am going to go and collect my lottery winnings.”  But if you are that boring person (mentioned in part 2), then the person or persons you are talking to don’t give a monkeys. They just want you out of their earshot.

They are bored with you.

Sorry, but that’s how it is.

And that is how it will be within your interview. You need to merge all three of the communication methods I have just gone over within your interview.

At the end of the day the majority of you will have (as mentioned earlier) on your C.V something which says you are a fantastic communicator and/or passionate individual with motivation and enthusiasm.

Get this! If you get an interview, then you are onto a winner because they like you. So what do many of us do? Mess it up.

We sit there mumbling, have no idea what to say, cannot communicate effectively either individually or at different levels.

Yes, you got it.

A great big fat cross against your name.

Where is the passion? Where is the enthusiasm? Where has the excellent communicator gone? Down the ‘swanny’, that’s where. And so have your chances of gaining employment or promotion etc.

Honestly, please practice your communication technique. So what if you look daft talking to yourself. You will also look daft within the interview when they realise that what you have put on your C.V is not worthy of being your toilet roll.

I am actually getting quite angry at this point because I know it is where people fail and I really don’t want any of you to. But, this has to come from within you. You need to get that self-belief and confidence, I know it’s hard but look at the doors that will open up for you.

The opportunities that awaits you. Within my sessions my voice usually gets louder and louder as I really want to get the point across to the learners.

You need to put all of the three parts together so when you are “actually talking/responding” to the interviewer, you are keeping them interested. Otherwise, giving “smash” it interview responses may mean nothing if you don’t have a great tone of voice or positive body language.

So there you have it.

Within an interview, you need to have:

1. Positive body language and facial expressions

2. An enthusiastic voice tone

3. Great responses

Ask family or friends to help you with interview questions (see my book for a variety of popular interview questions) and ask them to give you feedback.

Be honest with yourself. Would YOU hire YOU? Ask yourself if you were the interviewer and you interviewed yourself, would you give yourself the job?

Tracey Morewood

Author: How To Get On The Employment Ladder

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Communication and Employability Part 2

Remember in my latest blog I told you how to break down communication? How this important skill may take time to master? Well in this blog you will see that 38% of our communication is made up with our tone of voice. The following is taken from:



Welcome To The ‘Bores’ Of The World

Imagine the most boring person you know. We all know somebody that can bore us to death. Think of a situation when you have been in (maybe at the pub, other social event or at work) somebody’s’ company. There is always somebody who you may want to try and avoid because the sound and tone of their voice makes you want to scream and shout ‘go away’. Okay, that may be just me! But think about it. Right have you got someone in mind?

Okay, now think about when they are talking to you and telling you a story. You’re trying not to yawn, you’re trying to look interested, but your face could be saying a whole different thing. You are not even listening to what they are saying because you ‘turned off’ the minute they opened their mouth. Now, the way in which they speak; at one level is their tone of voice. In some ways it’s like a robot with no feeling or emotion. Even if the story is really interesting, they are boring the living daylights out of you.

The impact is that you lose interest and you don’t actually care about their interesting story anymore. Well let me give you some advice (more covered in our interview session), if you want a job, if you want to get promotion then you need to make sure your own voice is not like the one described. This is where you need to be self-aware, be aware of how you really come across.

This is hard; ask somebody how your tone of voice is. Don’t take it personally if they say you are boring, accept what they have said and work on it. Practice speaking with more emotion, with more enthusiasm.

Think about your impending interview, they like you because you have made a fantastic first impression with your C.V or application form. Now put yourself into the shoes of your interviewer. They have looked at your C.V and read that you are an ‘excellent communicator and can communicate at different levels’, and you are an ‘enthusiastic individual’ (or something similar), you’re exactly what they are looking for. But then you open your mouth to answer a question and within around 3 seconds they are thinking, “What the hell,” harsh but true.

Practice What You Preach

This links us back to your C.V, can you remember when I said you need to be able to back everything up on your C.V? Well this is where you ‘practice what you preach’, you become your C.V. You become that passionate and enthusiastic person.

Do you get where I am coming from? Well I am just going to give you a few more examples of the importance of the tone of voice you use. Imagine the ‘Marks and Spencer’ adverts, you know the one; where the woman is selling their products by the tone of her voice. She sounds amazing and gets us interested in what she is saying.

I have never done my food shopping there, but I certainly tried it because the way in which she sounded made it so appealing. At the moment it is a man who has taken over, again, he makes it so appealing by the enthusiasm in his voice. This is the tone. This is something that you need to practice, especially if you normally come across with no personality or enthusiasm in your voice. Again, don’t take it personally; this is another way in which the interviewer will filter you and mentally be putting a cross against you.

So, we have covered 2 important parts of communication: body language and our tone of voice. Next time I will give you the last piece on communication.

Tracey Morewood – Author – How To Get On The Employment Ladder

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