Tag Archives: resume

You can’t poke, tweet or email a handshake

Never a truer adage when looking for a job not what but who you know.  Your network is key to a successful job search strategy.   Growing your network has never been easier.   Social media has taken care of that.

No matter how extensive your virtual network, no matter how advanced and extensive your use of technology, nothing beats good old-fashioned face time.  Pressing the flesh, shaking hands, eyeballing, getting up close and personal, this is how and when things happen.

Whilst building your network online is certainly of value, building your network in the good old-fashioned way is still the best way to real results.

You can’t email a handshake.  It will cost you, time, shoe leather, cups of coffee, a round of sandwiches, dinner, a glass or two, some good questions, lots of listening and conversing, following up, staying in touch, but make the investment.  Get out from behind the desk, get away from the screen and get in the room.  It might just change your life.

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Filed under Careers, Social Media

A little thanks goes a long way

After Birthday parties, Christmas or any other times of celebration my children sit down and write thank you notes to all those who have sent them a gift.  It’s time-consuming ( they are lucky kids, too often spoiled rotten by doting Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles ) but I think it important that they acknowledge the time and effort people around them have gone to.

This is not a lesson in parenting, nor am I trying to extol my virtues ( there are very few! )  It did however get me thinking of the values of saying thank you and the part that very simple yet enormously valuable expression can play in the job search.

How many of you ever write to say thank you after an interview?  Have you ever considered the value were you to do so?

Think of the impact on your application.  You may be one of three, five, ten invited in.  That process is often protracted ( it ought not to be but invariably is ).  Standing out from the crowd is tough.

Success is in the margins, the small things can make the biggest difference.  We are all human.  Anything that can help you to remain at the forefront of the hiring managers mind is to be recommended.  How long would it take you to write a note to thank your interviewer for their time and to re – affirm, politely, succinctly, your interest in the job?

Even if you have made the decision that this particular post isn’t for you, what impact a short note of thanks?  If another job was to arise in that organisation that is more in line with your ambitions, how would such a note impact your chances of success in a future job application?

It takes a second to say thank you, minutes to write an email to express your thanks.  Think of the potential impact on your job search?  What harm can it do?

Manners cost nothing.  Think about that next time you apply for a job.

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Filed under Careers, Interviews

How to ace a job interview

Everyone is looking for that nugget of gold, that stellar piece of information that can fundamentally transform your interview technique to become an absolute sure-fire interview winner. I am sorry, there aren’t any, no startling revelations, no lightning bolts.

Like all good things, success at interview is about keeping it simple. Pay attention to the basics, the little things, the details. And repeat. Over and over again, until you are set in to a routine that you know works for you, that gives you confidence, makes you comfortable.

So what are those basics?

I came across this excellent resource, www.howdini.com the site that encourages you to “get yourself a guru”. So what’s there take on the job interview? See for yourself.

Let me know what you think, as always I would love to hear your comments.

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Filed under Interviews

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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Filed under Careers, Recruitment

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.

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Video Resumes, posted with vodpod

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Filed under Recruitment, Social Media