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May 172010

We all know how tough it is out in the employment market today. If you’re looking for a job, you need to go beyond the standard CV / Resume / Covering letter, the ability to showcase your talent and creativity online gives you a great opportunity to think outside the box and get your name in front of prospective employers.

Here is a fantastic example of how Alec Brownstein an advertising creative in New York did just that – by targeting creative directors in the agencies he wanted to work with in Google AdWords…

He created five ads, got four interviews and ended up with a job at one of the agencies. Total outlay: US$6.

The old stalwarts of recruitment are still important – so don’t throw that CV away just yet, but with up to 80% of employers looking online to source talent you’d be mad to ignore the potential. Go on, get creative… and let us know how you get on in the comments :-).

Feb 112010
Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

While economies around the globe lumber painfully out of recession, and there are signs of improvement on the jobs front, finding and getting the right job for you in today’s market is still incredibly challenging. With spring around the corner now is the perfect time to break out the metaphorical duster and give your job-seekers tool kit a much needed spring clean. It may be just the edge you need to land your perfect job.

Polish that CV

When was the last time you took a good long look at your CV to make sure it’s both up-to-date and up-to-scratch? Fish it out now, and go through every little detail to make sure it’s accurate and current. Don’t forget that both the information and the way its presented needs to be tailored to the sort of jobs you’re looking for. If you’re looking for more than one type of job, you probably need more than one type of CV — so create templates for each based on your generic master copy to suit the jobs you want to apply for.

Contact your referees

If you’ve listed references on your applications or have mentioned that they’re “available on request” on your CV, take a few moments to actually make contact with your nominated referees and let them know that you’re looking for a job. That way any request for a reference won’t come “out-of-the-blue”, and they’ll be more prepared to deliver that glowing reference that will set you apart from other candidates. Are the references you have listed the best ones… are are their contact details up-to-date, or would you be better off replacing some of them entirely? Continue reading »

Nov 222009
Lost: Celtic Tiger

Image by jaqian via Flickr

In a few short years the employment market has been turned on its head. From a position that was biased in favour of candidates during the halcyon days when the Celtic Tiger roared, job seekers today find themselves facing an employment market that’s very much skewed towards the employer.

With a broader selection of  candidates employers can afford to be choosy, and more demanding. It’s not unusual today for employers to include a long list of requirements in their job descriptions, things like a certain amount of experience in a particular industry sector, knowledge of an obscure programming language and fluency in a particular language. With so many people applying for every job advertised at the moment there’s a fairly good chance they’ll tick all of their boxes.

Continue reading »

Sep 212009
Cool Blog Sociale - 10 July 2008 - Creative hi...

Image by SOCIALisBETTER via Flickr

Finding a job, any job, in today’s employment market is tough. As a job seeker you need to make sure every weapon in your arsenal is honed to deliver the maximum possible value in your job search, and the most crucial weapon at your disposal in your quest for work is undoubtedly your CV.

Your CV is one of the most powerful, personally relevant documents you’ll ever produce. Essentially it should encapsulates who you are, what you’ve done with your life to date, where you’re heading in the future and why a prospective employer would be crazy want to discover more about you. It’s a marketing document designed to sell the best product in the world: you!

Thinking of your CV as a marketing tool can be useful in a variety of ways. Before embarking on any campaign a marketer needs to know what the aim of the campaign is (what they want out of it) and the target market. The better they know that market — its wants, needs and preferences — the better they can tailor their marketing campaign to deliver the result they want. It’s the same thing with your CV — the crucial thing is to know what you want (an invitation to interview), and the more you know about your prospective employer, the easier it will be to tailor your CV to address their specific needs.

Continue reading »

Jul 062009

Image by id-iom via Flickr

If you’re out of work, your CV is one the most crucial weapons in your job-search arsenal. Along with a well written covering letter, your CV is part of your opening salvo in your campaign to land a job. A truly exceptional CV can open the door to boundless opportunity, helping you to that all important first interview. It’s you’re first opportunity to impress potential employers, an introduction to the best that you can be, and that makes it a very powerful document.

But with that power comes the very real temptation to embellish, elaborate, in some instances, to lie outright on your CV.

Independent research by employee verification experts Callcredit Direct in Britain reveals that more than one in ten 18 – 24 year-olds (12%) admit to lying on their CV to secure a job, and across all adults who admit falsifying their CV a third (33%) say they’ve  fabricated crucial information like academic qualifications.

Some of the key findings include:

  • More than one in ten (12%) of UK workers aged 18 – 24 years admit to lying on their CV
  • Of all adults who have lied on their CV, one third (33%) of workers say they’ve fabricated GSCE or equivalent qualifications with 7% making up or enhancing degree-level qualifications
  • Of the people who admitted to exaggerating academic qualifications, the 25 – 34s and 45 – 54s are the age groups most likely to embellish their GCSEs/ O-levels (38%)
  • Of all adults who have been untruthful, the most common lie is making up hobbies and interests (38%), followed closely by embellishing experience (35%)

Continue reading »

Jun 192009
US Whig poster showing unemployment in 1837

Image via Wikipedia

Today around the world thousands of people just like you are losing their jobs.

It’s an enduring, if unpalatable fact that due to the economic circumstances we’re living through workers are being made redundant through no fault of their own. That’s generally accepted, and being made redundant in itself won’t necessarily tarnish your impeccable employment record. But when it comes to your CV, just how much leeway do you have? What’s an acceptable gap between periods of employment, and when does the dreaded label of "long term unemployed" start to rear its head?

Six months! That’s the magic number, according to research carried out in Britain recently.

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) surveyed more than 1,000 managers on the topic. The results show that being unemployed doesn’t carry the stigma that people losing their jobs so often fear. At least not at first. In fact more than 80% of them said that the current employment status of applicants was completely irrelevant, as they didn’t consider it an accurate reflection of ability or performance given the current climate of mass redundancies.

But there is a limit to this benign outlook: spend six months or more out of work and a quarter of employers say they’d be less likely to give you a job, considering you to be "long-term-unemployed" at that point. Of course it’s not as cut and dried as that: studying for relevant vocational or academic qualifications, getting involved in voluntary work or perhaps pursuing your own entrepreneurial enterprise in the interim can bridge the gap, and demonstrating that you’ve been keeping up-to-date with developments in your industry while out of work can also help your credibility.

The ILM also warns those who’ve lost their jobs against splashing some of their redundancy cash on an extended career break; managers typically described candidates taking a gap year to travel or volunteer overseas as "unattractive" in the poll.

"Unemployment isn’t necessarily an indicator of ability, especially in the current climate when hundreds of talented individuals are being made redundant through no fault of their own," explained Penny de Valk, chief executive of ILM. "The good news is that most employers will treat unemployed applicants exactly the same as other candidates.

"The research shows that it is important for job seekers to try and get back to work as quickly as possible. They should use their time not only job hunting but finding ways to put themselves in front of the competition. The most effective way for job seekers to boost their future employment prospects is to play to their strengths, freshen up their knowledge and skills and keep up to date with developments in their sector," she added.

When you’ve been made redundant, picking yourself up and getting into the right frame of mind to look for work can take time – and in one of the most competitive job markets in decades finding a new job can be a long and drawn out process. So start early, and stay focussed. It’s tough out there — and that six month window identified by the ILM could slam closed much sooner than you think!

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Oct 152008

Whether you’re looking for your first job, a new job, a promotion or a career change, an effective CV is one of the most crucial weapons in your career-development arsenal.

The purpose of your CV is to convince a prospective employer to invite you for an interview. That’s not as easy as it sounds. The average employer’s is swamped with CVs, and will typically spends less than 30 seconds looking at each one. If it’s going to stay out of the rejection pile your CV has to make an immediate impression.

So how do you go about transforming that list of work experience, academic qualification and extracurricular activities into an attention-grabbing, interview generating tool?

  • Put yourself in the employer’s shoes: it is important to remember that you’re not creating a CV for your own benefit or to impress your peers. You’re creating it to convince a prospective employer that you should be on their interview short-list. Before writing your CV put yourself in the employer’s position and consider what you’d be looking for in a candidate. Then make sure you address those requirements in your CV.

  • Provide the most important information first: it’s surprisingly easy to bury important deep in the body of your CV. As you assemble the information in each section, prioritise it and list the most significant and relevant information first (remember to do this from the employers perspective).

  • Don’t try to cram everything in: your CV needs to be a concise summary of your skills, experience and achievements as they apply to the specific position you’re applying for. Keep your CV short and to the point (ideally no more than 2 A4 pages), while making sure you include all of the necessary information.

  • Presentation: your CV is the first glimpse that a prospective employer will get of you. Everything about it should reflect the qualities they are looking for in a candidate. Use high quality white paper, and ensure that your final document is formatted in a way that makes it easy to read. Use no more than two different fonts throughout (one for headings and one for body text).

  • Make it scannable: use clear headings and bullet points where relevant to make information more accessible. With only seconds to impress guiding your reader to the most relevant information quickly will pay dividends.

  • Be confident and don’t sell yourself short: not many people like singing their own praises, but your CV is no place for modesty. Use positive language to highlight your skills, strengths and accomplishments to maximum effect.

  • Tell the truth: while it’s vital to make the most of your achievements on your CV, it’s equally important that you can back up the statements you make. When you get called for interview you’ll be asked to elaborate on the information in your CV – and any falsehoods will come back to haunt you.

Finally, always remember that time spent honing and revising your CV is never time wasted. Think of it as an investment in your future. After all, an effective CV can open the door to a whole new world of opportunity.

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