Tag Archives: curriculum vitae

Strike a pose with your CV

Standing out from the crowd with your CV is incredibly difficult to do.  As I have said on many occasions in this blog the best way to put your CV together divides opinion.  There are lots of them.  Today’s Google count on “CV” numbered 301 million!

A little inspiration goes a long way.  I like therefore to showcase people who are doing things differently in their attempt to secure the job they want.  I have seen some great examples, hugely innovative, creative, striking even.  First up was the Employ Kyle campaign.  Brilliant.

https://transcendexecutivesearch.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/kyle-clarke-job-search-genius/

And there was the exceptional video resume campaign from Greame Anthony

https://transcendexecutivesearch.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/the-best-job-application-ever/

The latest to stand out is this campaign from Celine Cavaillero who is looking for a job in Fashion.

http://www.celineislookingforafashionjob.com/

I loved it.  It’s relevant for her target audience.  It showcases her creative skills and talents, qualifications and experience, likes, passions and hobbies.  It’s smart, clever, innovative.  On the premise that your CV is simply a catalyst for conversation it leaves me wanting to meet her, to know more, to ask questions.  It does the job.

From the perspective of a potential employer, this strikes me as someone who has gone to great lengths, time and effort to get the career of her choosing.  She is committed.  I want that on my team.  Who doesn’t?

So what do you think?  I for one congratulate Celine.  I am sure on the strength of this evidence she will enjoy much success.  Thank you for the inspiration.

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Want to get ahead in your career? Some examples of what not to do!

Looking for a job is a serious business.  If you are out of work it’s no laughing matter, finding employment can be an incredibly stressful experience.  From time to time to shed a little humour,  to offer a little light entertainment can help.

A survey published by career site www.careerbuilder.co.uk offers fascinating ( and indeed entertaining ) insight in to what not to do on your job application.  Some of the highlights include ;

The job seeker who cited God as his referee!

One job seeker who boasted that he was a direct descendant of the vikings!

An Applicant who gave only a name and number and the phrase ” I want a job ”

A CV written in rhyme!

An application sent from the email address ” loves beer”!

Standing out from the crowd is incredibly difficult.  However there are some basics that you should apply that will greatly enhance your chances of success.  Like all good advice, there is little by way of startling revelation.  The simple consistent application of best practice gets results.

Want to know what employers want to see?  Careerbuilder.co.uk surveyed 700 employers.  The following link will take you to the newspaper article highlighting the key findings of the report.  There is some great advice to be found here.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8339278/CV-howlers-revealed-by-employers.html

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Change your life in two pages…(or, how long should my CV be?)

I had an email from an old friend last week asking for my help in resolving a debate taking place amongst his peers at work. How long should a CV be? As the hiring Managers, they wanted 2 pages but recruiters and job seekers alike were sending CV’s ranging anywhere upwards from 3 pages.

As a Recruiter, knowledge is power (yes, I know, I suffer from delusions of grandeur!) The more in depth, detailed information I have about you the better placed I am to introduce you the job you want. However that information should come when I interview you. It is up to me as the external recruiter to ask the right questions of you to ensure you give me all I need. I suspect I may be one of a dying breed in this respect.

Many recruiters (both internal and external) don’t read CV’s. The CV arrives through some form of online portal and is dropped automatically in to a database where keyword searches throw up the pre – requisite skills the hiring manager needs to fill the job order. Therefore from a candidate perspective you need to ensure your CV is content, keyword rich, highly visible to search engines.

You can’t afford to leave anything out fear of the search engines missing you and the opportunity passing you by. So you err on the side of caution, work on the principle of more is better.

Culture has a part to play. Over the years I have interviewed lots of South Africans. Their CV’s would make Tolstoy proud. They appear to work on the principle the longer the CV, the more you will have achieved. On the other end of the spectrum I have only today seen the issue of the one page CV come up. As labour markets become ever more transient and global war for talent hots up, cross border issues will arise when it comes to CV’s. So what’s the global view?

My last search returned 3.6 million results. It’s all a matter of opinion, clearly there are many. So for the record, here’s mine.

Two pages.

Your CV is simply a catalyst for conversation. You have to grab my attention and you have a short time in which to do it. Jaguar Land Rover recently announced 14000 + applications for 1500 vacancies. The competition is fierce. Every word must count.

I need to know fast who you are, how to contact you, what you are qualified to do, who you worked for, what you did for them, what you achieved whilst you were there and what impact those achievements had on the business. 60% duties and responsibilities, 40% achievements. Make sure you can quantify those achievements, put some numbers to them, evidence the contribution to the top or bottom line. Then you’ve got my attention. I want at most your last 10 years and will really focus on the last five in detail. The rest is history.

I want to know a little bit about you outside the work place, what your hobbies and interests are, just enough to want to know more. I don’t need to know it all, just the bits of which you are most proud that you consider wholly relevant to the post.

If you don’t get shortlisted for interview, it is not you that is being rejected, it is your CV. You need to work on it. It should be a living, breathing, up to the minute document of which you are intensely proud. There can be no sense of that’ll do. It should be fine tuned, fine tuned and fine tuned again.

Give it the attention it deserves. Its two pages that lead to a conversation that could change your life.

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Video – the future of your job search?

Video Resumes are featuring more and more heavily in web chatter.  I have yet to have an Executive approach me with a video resume, I have yet to have a client ask for one.  Nobody has asked me for advice on how best to put one together.  I still receive regular calls from job seekers on how best to put the traditional 2 page curriculum vitae together.

Trust me they are coming.  I first blogged about this subject in September last year when I came across what I considered to be a quite brilliant video CV from Graeme Anthony.

https://transcendexecutivesearch.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/the-best-job-application-ever/

Compare Graeme’s to a video resume I spotted on YouTube recently (below).  I am clear what Graeme brings to the party.  I am clear as to his strengths, his talents, his experience and his skills.  I am clear what he has achieved and what he wants to achieve in the future.  I am clear because he is clear.

The video below is a different story.  Clever, interesting, but I am left feeling uncertain as to what I have just seen.

Other than being a workaholic who likes coffee and possesses skills such as the ability to send an email from his pda whilst in a car park, I am uncertain what he brings to my business.  I am not intrigued, I am irritated.  Sure it is well produced, but its ambiguous.  When you are looking for a job, content is as crucial as presentation.

What can you do, what have you done?  What do you want, how can I help you, how can you help me?  It answers none of these questions that might just set this guy apart from those others he is competing with at interview.  It is short, its concise, but it gives me little to consider.

Success in the jobs market is all about setting yourself apart from those with whom you are competing.  The competition is fierce.  Jaguar Landrover has this week announced that it has had more than 14000 applications to 1500 new posts.

The CV is only ever a catalyst to a conversation.  Your CV, video or otherwise, will not get you a job, that’s down to you, but it will get you a conversation.  I am busy, you are busy.  Less is more.  Cut to the chase.  Tell me who you are, what you’ve done, what you have achieved, how that has added value to your employer and why therefore that could be of interest and value to me.  Get it on tape and lets talk.

What do think as to the future of the CV?  Would you consider a video?  Let me have your comments, I would love to know your view.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video Resumes, posted with vodpod

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The best job application ever?

Every once in a while someone comes along and really raises the bar.  Earlier this week I blogged on the brilliant “Employ Kyle” campaign conducted by Kyle Clarke.  Hot on his heels I came across this exceptional approach to the job search from self-confessed “PR propagandist, social media transmitter, digital brigadier” Graeme Anthony.

This just might be the best job application I have ever seen.  Creative, thought-provoking, passionate, engaging, different.

Would you employ this guy?  Judge for yourself.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Your CV – its all a matter of opinions (Part 2)

Another way of enhancing the power of the words you use in your CV is to study the words and phrases your target employer uses in their own job advertisements, website, marketing literature, press releases or financial reports. Look at the mission statement, vision and values. How can you incorporate some of these words or phrases in your CV?

If you have recruited in the past and now find yourself looking for a position, this can be a huge advantage. Think back to those CV’s you liked and those you didn’t? Take the best and worst of what you have seen before and use this as a guide to shape your own CV.

Its extremely important that your CV reflects not simply your experience, but the skills you possess. Start with a blank sheet of paper and brainstorm your skills. Leave no stone unturned.

Ask yourself what skills you feel you have acquired not just in your career but in your life. Can you evidence those skills and talk about them with confidence?

Your CV should reflect the entire range of skills you posses. Your work experience should reflect how those skills have been employed and what benefit those skills have bought both you and your employer.

Your work experience should not be simply a list of “things you do”; it should reflect entirely your achievements. Specifically you should look to tangibly evidence just how your employer has benefited from that which you have achieved.

If you can quantify such achievements with a number or provide evidence of bottom or top line benefit to the company, this will certainly help to strengthen your case.

Include in your work history a brief description of your employer. References to turnover, number of employees and industry type all help to paint a picture of your responsibilities. Don’t assume your prospective new employer knows anything about those organisations that you have worked for in the past.

You should refer to your reporting lines, the size of team you are working in and the number of staff you are responsible for. This again helps to paint a picture of your responsibilities. The job of Financial Controller in a £5m turnover business where you are reporting to the Managing Director is distinctly different to the Financial Controller post in a £500M business with a reporting line to the Finance Director. Similarly managing a team of 3 direct reports is distinctly different to managing a team of 10.

How much should you include in your CV? Employers don’t want to read pages and pages. Ideally your CV should be a two page document with a detailed career focus of the last 5 years. This is the experience on which employers will focus most of their attention.

Consider having a flexible document, one that you can tweak for specific applications. All this takes time and effort, but you are talking about an individual pitch on every occasion.

A one size fits all approach to your job search may not be enough of a catalyst to get you in to those critical conversations that can dramatically shape your future.

It should be a document that is a constant work in progress that is continually updated to reflect your ever evolving skills and experiences.

Ultimately with 1.79 million opinions available on line, there are no right or wrong answers to the question of the perfect CV. Take your time to ensure you produce something of which you can be intensely proud.

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Your CV – its all a matter of opinions (Part 1)

Standing out in the crowded place that it is the job market is an enormous  challenge.  How do you present that critical information on your CV that sets you apart from your competition?  What format should you use? Where do you get the information you need to understand how best to prepare your CV in order that it reflects what Employers are looking for?  How do you prepare that perfect CV?

The truth is that this is all very much a matter of opinion.  To prove my point, I googled “How do I prepare my CV” this morning and my search returned 1.79 million search results in 15 seconds!  That’s a lot of opinions!  However there are certain fundamentals when preparing your CV that you should at least consider.

What is the CV?  It is a catalyst to enable you to engage in a conversation about a subject that you know better than anyone else, namely you.  So it should be something of which you are intensely proud, that reflects a genuine sense of what you are really about, a document that portrays you in the best possible light.

It is your elevator pitch, your sales document.  You only have that one opportunity to grab the attention of the person who can change your working life.  It should be something that you prepare with great care. It should be the document that in terms of your career requires your greatest investment of time and effort.  Would you consider going in to a critical sales meeting with a key client without taking the time to prepare a killer presentation?  I guess not.  Why then should your CV be something that you knock up in five minutes?

Your CV should ensure you are extremely accessible.  As the Hiring Manager, I want to be able to contact you easily, I don’t want to search high and low to find your email or contact telephone numbers.

Should you have them, relevant qualifications should be listed after your name. You work hard enough to achieve them, you should shout about them. They portray you in a very positive light and create very positive impressions of you as an individual before starting on your career history.  If you are professionally qualified, your CV should be a document that reflects entirely your professionalism and integrity.

Hobbies and interests should reflect subjects or interests that you are genuinely excited by. You never know if the person doing the hiring isn’t an expert on a hobby that you last engaged in 20 years ago. Make sure they are up to the minute, relevant and genuine.

Your profile should be a genuine reflection of your personality, characteristics, attitude and experience.  Think of this as an honest look in the mirror. You don’t need to be an elaborate wordsmith.  In order that you can tap in to the mindset of the person making the hiring decision, thing back to your own hiring experiences and ask yourself what language, words or phrases did you look for in a CV. Do you have those skills and traits?

Instead of opting for “buzz words” think back to your previous roles and consider what the key words and phrases were in your industry, company or responsibilities.  Look for ways in which you can employ these key words throughout your CV.  You want to be talking and using the language of the employer.

Remember your CV is simply a catalyst to a conversation.  However, it could be the catalyst to unlocking a whole new world of opportunity.

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