Category Archives: Job Advice

Video: How to Write a Winning CV

As a follow up to my previous post ‘Your CV – First Impressions Count‘, I have put together a quick video, which I hope visually demonstrates the format which I believe makes for a  winning CV.

Also it contains a few word formatting tips.

I am always on the look out for comments and would appreciate to hear your feedback.

What to wear in an interview‏

Believe it or not many people still ask the question:  Does my appearance really matter in an interview?

The answer is simple; “YES!”

The human race judges one another on appearance and whether you like it or not, you will be judged as an expression of who you are and your approach to work.

This does not mean, however, that beauty and good looks will get you through the door. It won’t. But what you wear and how you present yourself will be viewed by the interviewer as a measure of your status, confidence and worth.

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the dress code according to the company. Sometimes creative industries can have a more relaxed and informal approach to dress, however, this does not mean that a professional look is not required.  The right image is going to be one that helps the employer easily visualise you as one of their team and reassures them you could represent the company appropriately as a member of their staff. If in any doubt, contact the company’s HR department for advice or look at the company website or literature to see how people are dressed.

Some basic pointers on how you can come across well to a potential employer with your personal image are given below:

  • Invest in a new, high quality outfit which fits well and makes you feel comfortable. If you are constantly struggling with the cut of your suit this will come across to the interviewer and make you look distracted.
  • Try to reflect the look of the business and office that you are entering. If the organisation is high powered and contemporary try to convey a creative and dynamic look making sure that you are on trend. Should the business be of a more traditional nature, a classic look such a pin-stripe suit will make you fit right in and already give you a look of being one of the team.
  • For organisations with a more relaxed dress code getting the interview look right can be a little more problematic. The suit and tie option may be a big faux pas.  Instead it may be preferable to opt for a smart, coordinating outfit.  Jeans are rarely seen as appropriate attire for an interview, even if worn by staff members on a regular basis. If in doubt, seek advice for the company before the interview.
  • It goes without saying that outfits should be clean, lint free and intact – no missing buttons, fraying hems or ladders in tights. Remember you could be sat in the interview for anything up to 90 minutes and your appearance will be noticed within this time.
  • Hair should be neat and up to date, nothing too fussy or unmanageable. If you colour your hair ensure that it is freshly done before the interview.
  • Accessories such as handbags or briefcases should be smart in order to reflect your appearance and show how organised you are. Jewellery should be unfussy and make-up should be subtle as should perfume or aftershave.
  • Good grooming is a must have, no matter what type of organisation you are looking to go into.  Men should be either clean – shaven or have a neatly trimmed beard. Clean hands and nails, deodorant and fresh breath are all essential.

If you are unsure about your look before an interview ask for an opinion – preferably from someone that will be honest and give constructive criticism where needed.

The term “you should never judge a book by its cover” does not apply when it comes to your personal image and an interview.  The way in which you present yourself can strongly influence a potential employer’s perceptions of you, the way in which you will work, your ability to carry out the tasks given and the way in which you will fit in within the company.  Get this right and you have already nudged that door open a little.  Get it wrong and you may find yourself reading this post again 😉

HOW TO: Land Your Dream Job Using Google AdWords

HOW TO: Land Your Dream Job Using Google AdWords

Just seen this article from http://www.Mashable.com regarding a brilliantly creative way to get you noticed when looking for a job.

Check it out and I would love to hear your thoughts and ways that this could be adapted to your job search.

Posted using ShareThis

Mapping your career – literally

Whilst looking into creative CV writing I came across the example of Copywriter – Ed Hamilton who has produced a very clever CV on Google Maps .

Ed Hamilton's CV on Google Maps

Ed has included everything you’d expect from a ‘normal’ CV – address, education, work experience and interests.

I’m not sure if it’s perfect for everyone, however after having over 40,000 hits its certainly got him noticed.  His musing also demonstrate perfectly his copywriting style.

What do you think?

Your CV – First Impressions Count

Until you actually meet your potential new employers, the only thing they can base you on is your paperwork.

Therefore the quality of your CV is crucial. Unless you are a networking wizard they are THE essential tools in your job search. They should be treated like any marketing document, a CV should help you sell yourself and they should be directed at their audience.

Preparation:
Remember proper preparation prevents piss poor performance, so get out your pad of paper and brainstorm your skills, competencies, qualifications and experience. Highlight what your unique selling points and strengths are whilst noting down what you have achieved.

When applying to a specific job advertisement, it pays to review what key words and tasks were used in the advertisement and if possible use these words and similar phrases in your CV.

Audience
The look of your CV should reflect the job that you are applying for. A creative role would benefit from a more creative CV.

Whilst the following article by Smashing Magazine was written with Web Designers in mind, in shows how a creative CV can give the first impression of your style of work. As they mention “the résumé is the first portfolio piece that potential employers see, and if they’re not impressed, chances are they won’t look at the rest of your portfolio”.

That being said if the job doesn’t warrant fancy pictures, or vector graphics, it’s not worth including.

Content
Regardless of whether it’s a creative CV or not, content is king, the aim of it is to be read, to be liked and grab the readers attention enough for them to arrange an interview with you.

  • Include enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader. Remember you need something to elaborate on in your interview!
  • By providing bite size pieces of information you stand a better chance of having your CV read.
  • Three pages should be the absolute maximum. Two is great. keeping it to one page is even better!
  • Every word must contribute to the overall message – don’t waffle, keep it brief and ensure that the content is relevant to the job you are applying for.

Lay out
Remember – a CV that is awkward to read is often put aside and forgotten. Don’t try and be too clever, following a logical layout is very important.

First things first
Put your name (nice and bold) at the top, followed by your home address, phone number and email. Other things to consider include a link to your LinkedIn page and Twitter.

However please think about the content that’s on these sites, if you barely use LinkedIn with only a few connections and not filled your details in any great detail then don’t bother. Same for Twitter, if you use it mostly for banter with your mates then it’s not going to do you any favours however if you are actively involved with discussions which your future employers would be impressed with then stick it on.

One thing to remember when thinking about content is what harm could it do? Unless you are going for a job as a social marketeer, not having a Twitter link probabley isnt going to do any harm however if you stick it on there and they see your latest Tweet about how drunk you got at the weekend and slept in the middle of a roundabout…it might have a negative effect (it might be the clincher in other organisations!!).

Soundbite
Next should be a brief introduction which is pretty much limited to who you are, what you currently do and what you want to do in the future. This could be as short as:

Motivated CAD Technician with 4 years’ experience working for a market leading Architect looking for a CAD Manager’s position.

Keep it simple and short, it should reflect the key skills and experiences required for in the job description. It’s very easy to drag this introduction out and duplicate other sections further down but believe me this is all a recruiter wants to see.

Education vs Employment
What’s next; education or employment? In most cases I would prefer employment, the only exception is if you have little work experience, e.g. recent school leaver, university graduate or only two years’ work experience. If this is the case put your education first.

Do:

  • Include achievements and quantify them in sales, financial or production terms.
  • Present your employment history in reverse chronological order, (i.e. last job first).
  • Include other achievements that were not part of your regular tasks.

If you are slightly older and have had more jobs, focus on the most recent and the most significant. The roles you had 20 years ago are less likely to make an impression, you could list these. The amount of elaboration could depend on how many pages you have written. If it’s the difference between 2 pages and going onto a third, cut it down to the minimum.

Other bits of information
Include a list of key skills, specialist software pages used, any languages, training courses undertaken or professional memberships.

List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines, and only if they are relevant to the position in question. If you know that the company has a football team, make sure you say you enjoy playing (don’t lie though), small details like these can sometimes be the difference. Any voluntary or charity work or external posts you hold are worth including.

Do not feel you have to provide referees on your CV, these can be provided at a later date.

And finally…
Double check your work, get someone else to check your spelling and grammar. Does the content grab them? Is it easy to follow? Careless mistakes can be real turn off.