Thursday, 21 November 2013

A few tips on preparing for interviews

We seem to have been supporting an array of interview candidates recently. Young children seeking places at senior schools, sixth form candidates, those applying for university courses, or graduates seeking to secure their first job. Consequently, I thought a few interview tips might be timely.

First impressions count. Clean, smart appearance, positive but not bone crunching handshake, make eye contact and smile. Don’t forget hair and shoes. If seated think about posture and open body language.

Research the institution or company you wish to join. Appearing well-informed about what it offers and why that appeals to you will give a positive impression. Give some thought to what skills and capabilities you are able to offer within the environment of each individual institution or company. Have some examples at the ready which demonstrate contributions you have made in these areas in the past, to back up your claims.

If you are notified in advance who will be conducting the interview, research their role and what their specific areas of interest might be. It is easier to engage with a person if you have identified some common ground. Be truthful. You could get into a sticky area if you make a claim that you can’t back-up during discussion via in-depth knowledge or examples.

Back up every answer with a why, how or because. Just answering the question without stating why you have that opinion or giving examples of how you have previously used a skill or attribute within a relevant situation, is only half an answer.

If you need time to think, ask the interviewer to repeat the question or perhaps ask a question of your own to clarify. This will buy a bit of time, putting the ball back into their court, giving you time to consider your answer. Good Luck!

Do you need help with preparing for an interview? Contact our friendly team of education consultants on 01865 522066 or

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Why do 21st Century parents choose boarding?

Boarding stimulates emotion in all parents. Some vigorously defend the reasoning behind sending their child away to school, while others strongly proclaim they would never do this, as they want their family at home. In my view opinions mostly come from personal experience or lack of information, instead of perhaps asking the rational question - what is 21st Century boarding all about?

In the current financial climate many parents find they both need to work, juggling job commitments with school runs, after school clubs, sports practices and fixtures, homework, cooking and bedtime. Add the parent taxi service and this all leads to the question, where is the quality family time anyway? It must surely be worth considering boarding, where focus for the whole family is work in the week, with quality family time at leave-out weekends and holidays.

The open-door policy of modern boarding, coupled with excellent communication between school and home means parents are continuously in touch with progress and can regularly pop in to school for matches, concerts and plays. Children have evening access to the library, computers, art and design studios as well as help with homework from peers and teachers, reducing conflict at home. Early morning starts for choir rehearsal or sports practice become a thing of the past. Rather than spending time on the school bus, your child can immerse themselves in a wealth of opportunities.

21st Century boarding is about attaining academic excellence, building confidence, leadership skills and independence, as well as learning a sense of community and cultural understanding. Far from sending their child away, parents choose a boarding school as they believe in making a self-less decision to allow their child to realise their true potential.

For help with choosing the right boarding school, contact our team of experienced consultants by email or by phone +44 (0)1865 522066 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Tips for preparing an eye catching Curriculum Vitae

This week, I thought I would share with you these tips for writing an eye catching CV. They could come in handy for applying for work experience, internships or for graduates seeking their first job.

Chances are the person reading your CV has limited time and a large pile to sift. Make sure yours is clear and stands out, even when skim reading. Use an easy to read type face, put your name and contact details clearly at the top, keep it to one page of A4 and check spelling carefully. If posting a hard copy, smart cream paper will stand out if all the others are white.

Be concise. You will be sending a supporting letter of application outlining why you are right for this particular opportunity. Keep your CV to factual evidence to support this. Three areas should be covered, education and qualifications, employment experience and additional information.

Make sure all years are covered sequentially. Gaps will lead to questions or doubt, which may put you on the no pile.

Avoid listing one word interests such as reading, travel and hockey. Expand to demonstrate commitment, skills and achievement. Part of a team which fixed the roof on an orphanage in Africa, regularly play hockey for Phoenix Club first team, chair the pupil school council which meets termly then I give feedback to the Headteacher, write a column for the school magazine published termly and enjoy reading autobiographies of leading sportsmen.

Read through your draft and identify your three stand-out factors that will make the employer want to meet you. It could be exceptional qualifications from a well-respected institution, relevant work experience where you made a proven contribution within a well-known company and an intriguing third element such as a hobby, volunteer work, proven leadership, presentation, team-working or organisational skills and commitment.

Do you need some advice with applying to university thorugh UCAS, preparing a CV or coaching for interview? Give our team of friendly, professional consultants a call on 01865 522066 or email