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Career advice

Inside…Downes Opticians

Optometrist and practice owner, Clare Downes, on how a cover letter is key and what your hobbies say about you

10 Dec 2018 by Emily McCormick

How can prospective employees apply for a position at Downes Opticians?

Prospective employees can contact me via email at clare@downesopticians.com. They can get a good feel for our business ethos through our website, from which they will also find all of the required details in order to contact us.

What is the internal process after an application is made?

After an application has been received and the CV and covering letter are reviewed by myself and our practice manager, we will call the suitable candidates for an informal chat and then move onto an in-practice interview.

What is the interview process? 

At Downes Opticians we pride ourselves on our fun, friendly approach to optometry and our interview process reflects this, with an initial tour of the practice then a sit-down interview with a cup of tea and maybe even a biscuit.

What makes a CV standout? 

The introduction is an excellent way to sell yourself, I would recommend not to be afraid to show off your skills and attributes. I also pay particular interest to hobbies and interests as I feel this reveals a lot about a person’s personality.

What are you looking for in a cover letter and why?

I believe this is the most important part. A cover letter should be used as an opportunity to portray your passions and personality. A great cover letter grabs my attention and makes me more interested in the CV.

How should a candidate best prepare for an interview?

Do your research about the company and its ethos. For example, does the practice have any specialist clinics? And, think about what attributes you could bring to the business. I am aware that for most of us an interview can be very daunting, but, if possible, try to relax and be confident in your strengths as an optometrist.

“At Downes Opticians we pride ourselves on our fun, friendly approach to optometry and our interview process reflects this, with an initial tour of the practice then a sit-down interview with a cup of tea and maybe even a biscuit”

What three interview tips would you give a candidate? 

  1. Do not be afraid to sell yourself
  2. Do your research about the company
  3. Smile – after all, as an optometrist it is our job to put people at ease and communicate.

What are your interview ‘pet peeves’?

Being late and ill prepared.

Sum up your ideal candidate in three words…

Enthusiastic, compassionate, friendly.

Why should potential candidates apply for Downes Opticians? 

I opened Downes Opticians in Edinburgh 10 years ago to provide fun, friendly and ethical eye care. We have gone from strength to strength, with the recent expansion to a second practice in East Lothian. We are a young vibrant company with a special interest in children’s eye care, in particular myopia control and visual stress. We also love the fashion element of optometry, dispensing unique and fabulous frames. If you are passionate about optometry and have a genuine empathy for your patients, then you will be given the freedom and support to thrive and love your job.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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