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Nov 012010
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What’s the most important part of a typical job application? Is it your CV / Resume? Is it the  years of experience you’ve built up? Is it your unique blend of skills and expertise? The correct answer is none of the above! While all of those things are crucial components of the perfect job application, a really successful application is about getting you invited for interview. The For that, the single most effective weapon in your job-seekers arsenal is your covering letter. Why you need a great cover letter for your job application The term “covering letter” implies that this is perhaps a less important document than the material it accompanies. Not so! You see, when you’re applying for a job, your covering letter is much more than just a note to accompany the enclosed documentation. It is what the recruiter is going to read FIRST. It’s not so much a covering letter, it’s more of a sales letter.

Sell yourself with your covering letter

Your cover letter is the first opportunity you have to really shine… and to impress upon your employer just how perfect you are for the job. It’s worth spending a bit of time getting this right: Continue reading »

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 »

Sep 232009 a new Irish online CV distribution service A new Cork based start-up is aiming to offer jobseekers a new way to get their CV in front of potential employers. is the brainchild of Niall Mullane, a 34 year-old from Glanmire who got the idea for the new website when he was personally affected by the recession when he lost his own job at the end of 2008.

“I’ve been working consistently since I was 17,” said Niall, “so being suddenly out of work with a family to support was a bit of a shock to the system.”

While searching for work himself, Niall realised there was no dedicated Irish website offering unemployed people the opportunity to promote themselves to nationwide employers free of charge. offers a platform where people who are looking for work can get their CV in front of the right people people at no cost, and a pool of readily available candidates for potential employers. Candidates can log in to the site to update their details at any time, and reply to messages from prospective employers.

"At the end of the day,people out of work need to feel as if there doing something positive in their search for a job, and i felt there was a need for all employers to view all job-seekers CVs for free," commented Niall. "I believe that can help countless people hit by the recession and make a positive move in getting Ireland back working."

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

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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

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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 102009
The Apprentice

Image by jovike via Flickr

Last week saw the remaining 5 candidates on the BBC‘s popular The Apprentice television show go through a gruelling round of interviews with four of Sir Alan Sugar‘s high-flying business associates.

Watching Apprentice hopefuls being put through the wringer by a cohort of seasoned business leaders certainly makes for entertaining television, but have you considered that it could also help you in your job search? 

While the process on the TV is extreme, and doesn’t mirror your average interview scenario, there are still valuable lessons for real-world job seekers looking to secure employment in one of the most competitive labour markets in decades.

  • Be prepared: it’s astonishing on a programme like The Apprentice that some of the candidates don’t do their homework before the show. Knowing as much as you can about the organisation and job you’re applying for before interview helps you stay calm and composed under fire. It also helps you to anticipate awkward questions so you’re not thrown by them.
  • Know your application inside out: you should not be surprised or flustered when an interviewer plucks out a fact or statement from your CV or application form. Remember what you said in your application, and be prepared to provide more information on any aspect of it when asked.
  • Don’t tell them everything: your application is a sales document that’s selling you. It’s your opportunity to highlight your strengths, play down your weaknesses and to guide the interviewer to specific areas of your career that demonstrate your suitability for the job. Throwing down everything can make your application confusing, introducing irrelevant detail that can prove counter-productive at interview. Tailor your application to suit the specific job.
  • Candidates aren’t the only ones doing their homework: while your application can help steer your interviewer’s questions, you need to remember that while you’ve been doing your homework on them, they’ve also been checking up on you. So don’t be shaken if they throw in a questions from left field about an aspect of your career not mentioned in your application.
  • Let your personality shine through: while maintaining a calm, composed and unruffled demeanour is a very positive thing to cultivate at interview, you don’t want to come across as an automaton either. You need to establish a rapport, connect with your interviewer on a human level and let your personality come across.
  • Stand out for the right reasons: with so many applications landing on employers’ desks at the moment, it’s more important than ever to make yours stand out from the crowd — but you want it to stand out for the right reasons. By all means get as creative and innovative as you like… as long as you stay focussed on the positives. Avoid going for shock-factor: it will almost certainly flag your application for the wastepaper basket.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit to your shortcomings: nobody’s perfect — and coming across as "too good to be true" can actually have a negative outcome at interview. Don’t be afraid to put your hands up and admit to mistakes… just make sure you highlight how you learnt from them, and what steps you’ve taken to make sure you never make them again.

Being able to perform well in an interview situation is something that will stand any job seeker in good stead, and the more practice you get, the easier it becomes. If you treat every interview as a learning opportunity, a chance to refine your technique and hone your skills, pretty soon you’ll stop dreading them.

Look at it this way: every interview you do moves you one step closer to securing the job you want.

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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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