Friday, 28 August 2015

Lose weight - Fast!

Okay I've not gone crazy and nor am I about to start writing about weight loss. I'm talking about slimming down that CV.

A general rule of thumb says that your CV should be no longer than 2 pages long, this means you need to summarise your experience as best you can but remain interesting and appealing. No mean feat for most but if you've a whole heap of experience then it can be a really tricky task (NB sometimes its ok to push to 3 pages particularly in certain industries where your experience will be technically/scientifically specialist).

So how do you go about reducing all of that information that you're CONVINCED is so important
and every employer MUST know? Hint; they don't.

Layout - make sure the layout of your CV is conducive to keeping it short. If you're short of space then don't have your address listed, have it on one line across the top, the same goes for your education, don't list it vertically, do it horizontally.

Necessary? - Is everything you're including in your education necessary? You really don't need to include all of your GCSEs or O'Levels, you can summarise your A Levels unless they are specific to your role (which if you've a lot of experience they won't be any more). Just remember that an employer wants to look at your experience and your skill, not necessarily your education before you were 18.

Training - Unless it is really relevant to the role you're applying to, you don't need to include every training course you've ever been on. A prospective employer is unlikely to be interested in your 2011 Fire Marshall training course or your 2008 Word refresher, make sure the courses you're listing are specific to the role. Degree courses are always good to include even if the role is in a different field, you're likely to get questioned if that's the case but it will show you have commitment and dedication to study.

Job specifics - Here's where it gets tricky. You want to make sure you're including everything that's relevant but you don't want to waffle on for multiple paragraphs. So how do you go about it? It's pretty simple really but a LOT of people can't be bothered because it takes effort.

You need to tailor your CV to the role you're applying to.

Make sure you read the job advert and apply it to your CV, don't make it too obvious of course but it doesn't take a genius to read a job ad and find out what they're looking for. Make sure you include any relevant experience, specific matches are good, for example if they're looking for someone with team leadership experience and you have it, put it in (You'd be shocked how many people miss off the most obvious of things), if you don't have that specific experience then see if you have anything that vaguely matches up, if you don't have anything that does then don't waffle on about something that is completely irrelevant, you can try and make up with your lack of experience in one area by shining in another.

Remove any information that doesn't align with what they're after but if you have something outstanding to include then do put it in.

If you feel you just have too much marvellous experience and simply CAN'T slim it down (trust me, you can) then you can start a list, again, horizontal rather than vertical, and you should focus on responsibilities rather than achievements.......

Responsibilities and Achievements - This is a rather old school approach to a CV but if you're struggling for space it can save you, by splitting your experience this way, you can really see the wood for the trees - as can an employer - you will be able to identify the two areas and also identify what information is most relevant to the job you're applying to. You can also create lists this way as described above.

This is a simplified approach of course but it can get you on the right track to removing irrelevant information and making your CV match as closely to the job as possible whilst also showcasing the talented individual you are!

Come and talk to us if you need further guidance. We can help you find the right balance 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Staying positive

I've seen quite a few articles of late about staying positive in your job search it sort of follows on from my last blog post of remaining positive when you've been made redundant. This post will focus more on some other aspects of remaining stoic and constant when you're job hunting, especially if you're currently unemployed.
These pointers count whether your a graduate who has recently left uni or someone who has been working for many years.

1 - Don't be complacent in your efforts. It really does help to set daily goals, to be proactive and to maintain a positive outlook. Don't just sit and wait for something, if you put the effort in, it will happen, it might not happen as quickly as you want it to but it will happen. The following pointers reiterate this but if you want the best out of something you have to put your best in, it's that simple really. Don't expect miracles to happen, work hard, play hard, learn to dance in the rain and other motivational musings!!

2 - Don't machine gun applications, its obvious and it looks unprofessional. What do I mean by this? When you're searching for a job, say you're on and you see a role that looks like it matches some of your skills but not all, so you think - sod it, I'll give it a go - that's fine and sometimes if enough skills align then it could be a good thing, but if you're just hammering out CVs to anything and everything it will be obvious, you probably won't be doing a cover note, you probably won't be tailoring your CV, you probably won't be checking your accuracy in terms of skill match and you probably won't be reading the job specs thoroughly. It will be 100% obvious because of these points that you are just throwing your CV out there and that is highly off putting to a hiring manager or recruiter. Why should they take the time with you if you can't take the time with them?

3 - Remain accurate - follows on from above really. If you're sending out a lot of applications and you're doing it right, make sure your contact is the right one for the right job, your cover note is addressed to the right company, and the job title is the right one. If a candidate can't take the time to check these minor details I can tell you now as a recruiter, it is SO off-putting and is again likely to lead to you ending up in the no pile.

4 - Don't lie!
I was talking to a colleague today about a couple of candidates who had lied to get a foot in the door. Both had got to offer stage before they came clean and now both offers weren't going ahead and the candidate's reputation was in tatters.
Even after all these years in recruitment I'm still baffled as to why people lie when applying to a job. These particular people had lied about their degrees. Each had said they were qualified in an area that they weren't, we understood their desperation to get a permanent job as they'd both been out of work for sometime but we would now never touch them with a barge pole - its that simple, how could we possibly trust them in our business when they've lied before they've even got here?
Lying about anything on your CV is just a straight no. Embellish, maybe, if you can pull the skill off you have embellished but outright lie? No way.

The following links are the recent articles I've seen. Come and have a browse on our Facebook page www.facebook,com/cvukwriterltd

Not quite job related but still relevant -