lady asking a man a question at interview

Walk me through your CV

How to deliver a winning overview of your career to date at interview.

So you’ve made it to the shortlist and been called for interview. Congratulations! Standing out from the crowd on paper is no mean feat and this is real progress in your search for the next step in your accountancy career.

But even though they’ve taken the time to read through your CV prior to selecting you for the next step, most accountancy interviewers will want to hear you summarise your career history in your own words.

On hand as your ever faithful career coaches, at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’ve prepared our top tips on what not to forget when you hear those five little words….

Talk me through your CV.

1. Open well.

Take a deep breath and relax. These people want you to perform well. They want you to be the next brilliant hire they make.

They are also likely to make a quick judgement on your suitability for the post based on first impressions so make sure the first sentence or two that you deliver are meaningful and impactful.

2. Make it relevant.

When you’re preparing for interview pay great attention to the job description. Match every part of your career journey to date with a desired or essential part of the job role. Then on the day when the question comes, be prepared to skip from skill to skill, post to post, always linking back to how that window of time in your career makes you the perfect choice for this job.

3. Try not to ramble.

Some of the very best interviews are those where you walk away feeling less like you’ve just attended a question and answer session and more like you’ve just taken part in a really interesting conversation between several parties.

So yes your interviewer will expect you to answer the question in full and you would expect to be doing more of the talking than listening, but break your reply to this question down into small chunks and allow space for your interviewer to butt in and explore avenues of interest in more detail.

It’s not an Oscar winning speech, it’s a quick overview of why your career to date makes you the perfect choice for this firm.

4. Memorise three key points.

An interview can feel pressured and we don’t recommend that you go in with reams of paper with hundreds of notes and messy scribbles. Think in advance about three important messages you’d be really disappointed if you didn’t manage to convey and try and weave them in to that first overview that you give of your career to date.

Maybe you passed a qualification with distinction or were awarded an industry prize. As you talk about that moment in your career history explain to your interviewer how it has shaped your development or led you on to achieve something that may be one of those three key messages you don’t want to forget.

” I always advise that accountancy job candidates use this question as an opportunity to deliver a punchy two to three minute self advertisement. Consider whether you want to run through your career chronologically or if you want to open with your greatest achievement so far. Leave pause for them to respond and work towards an 80:20 ratio of you talking about yourself and you talking about the firm and why you admire the work that they do.”

Garry Howling, MD

If you’ve made it to interview you’ll be wanting to devote lots of your time to ensuring you’re perfectly placed to make this job yours.

The great news is that alongside these tips, our website is absolutely bursting with other brilliant articles which will help you get ready.

If you enjoyed reading this then be sure to read these articles too.

Your guide to researching for interview.

A guide to rounding up your interview.

A guide to video interviews for accountants.




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