The Most Common CV Mistakes.

Writing a CV can sometimes seem like a particularly difficult challenge. After all, how can you boil yourself, your skills, passions and past, down to a couple of pages? And even then, how do you refine it into something so polished you can’t look at it under direct sunlight? A great place to start, is to learn from the mistakes people often make with their resumés, so you can avoid making them yourself and make sure each application is the best it can possibly be.

Spelling and grammar.

Probably the most common mistake made when people write their CV’s. This can instantly put a sour taste in any prospective employers mouth, as it makes it appear that not much care and attention has been given to your CV. Particularly if one of your qualities is listed as “attention to detal.” It can stop employers dead in their tracks and instantly damage your chances. Get plenty of people to check it for any spelling and grammatical errors, as it is far too easy to miss your own errors. Don’t forget to make absolutely sure that any contact details you have listed are correct and up to date as well.

working with computer

Not Tailoring Your CV For Each Job.

It might take a little extra time, but it will make all the difference when applying for a job. You want your CV to say that you are absolutely right for the position, and you can do this by demonstrating only the qualities they are looking for, and removing anything that doesn’t reflect a relevant skill needed for the job in question. You don’t need to list all of the things you’ve ever done, just put the ones that you think will really grab the employers’ attention.

Quantity over Quality.

Avoid waffling and spouting clichés. Even if they fit like a glove. Just listing things such as “good communicator” or “problem solver” don’t mean a whole lot, without examples to back up these claims. They’ve been completely overused. “Good communicator” might just mean you can use words, and “problem solver” could say that you just enjoy crosswords. You want your CV to be concise and easy for employers to see your best qualities quickly, to increase the chances that they see them. They are going to be looking through a lot of CV’s, so one that is brief but thorough is much more likely to be read. Make sure your CV stays under two pages as well. It’s more of a list than a novel.

Listing Duties, Not Achievements.

When you list your previous jobs, make sure to give examples of achievements while you were working at the position. Employers will most likely know what your past job was, and what you had to do. Instead, mention times and ways that you made a difference or exceeded expectations, so that potential employers can see how committed and competent you are.

Businessman Overwhelmed with Paperwork --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

And here is an example of a CV that Business Insider describes as excellent, to help you when you’re writing your own.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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If You Can’t Say Passionate, What Can You Say?

Passion has become somewhat of a dirty word. To some employers, it can be like nails on a chalkboard, while to some it’s a great word that demonstrates enthusiasm without being frightening or obsessive. Can you really describe yourself as passionate about bathroom tiles or filing? People might think you’re mad. Are you a passionate person, or do you just enjoy things loudly? Another problem is that everybody uses it. It can be hard to stand out when everyone else applying is passionate about the same thing. But what can you use instead? Before charging off with a thesaurus and hoping for the best, let’s have a look at the alternatives.

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It can often depend on the job. Sometimes describing yourself as passionate about something like data handling or account managing can sound a bit too strong, even if you really want the position in question. A better word in this situation would be to describe yourself as committed, as it also implies a certain degree of success, and a long-term loyalty to the position. Committed also says that you are able to keep a clear head while working. Passionate, meanwhile, says foolhardy and blinded by your own love of something.

Saying that you’re passionate in a job interview is also a piece of information that someone conducting an interview can’t really do anything with. Sure, you can tell them that you are really passionate about something, but they have probably heard that several times that day already. It doesn’t demonstrate any results in your professional history. Instead, listing a number of examples where you can prove your enthusiasm and commitment is a much more tangible method of showing your passion without even having to say it.

Job Interview

Passionate as a word, used to mean an intense burning devotion and interest, almost to the point of being completely obsessive. It should be a laughable hyperbole almost all of the time, but it’s been so diluted that you can now describe yourself as being passionate about anything. In the world of business, particularly, it’s an important word to avoid. Instead, go for words such as focused, knowledgeable, loyal and specialised, which demonstrate attention to detail as much as they do enthusiasm. And make sure to continue to back up these claims with examples. Sometimes they might not even have to come from professional experience, if you can demonstrate these aspects from examples outside of the world of work, you can add that extra bit of personality during a job interview or on your CV.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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Prince Charles’ Missing Millions: Unemployment and the Over 50s.

Prince Charles is set to bring to bring attention to the “missing millions” of the UK. Over 50s that have been forced out of their jobs early, costing the country potential millions. He is set to give a report later today urging companies to utilise the over 50s’ for their skills and experience. The report is to be called The Missing Million, which could just as easily be a dystopian thriller.

The report stated that 1.1 million aged fifty to fifty nine in the country had been involuntarily pushed out of work for various reasons, such as health reasons and being forced into an early retirement. And of those 1.1 million surveyed, 1.1 million have stated that they would like to work again.

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“I wish people would stop sending us photocopies of  their bottoms.”

Research has suggested that if companies have as many employees aged 50-64 as employees in their 30s and 40s, their UK GDP could be as much as £88 billion higher. He is hoping it will become easier for those aged over 50 to stay in work, and the results could be highly beneficial for the economy.

Owner of charity PRIME, set up to help business creation for the over 50s, and face of royal commemorative plates, Prince Charles stated that businesses “failing to harness their potential.” If you are one of the missing million over 50s looking for work, at www.strike-jobs.co.uk we have almost 20,000 jobs currently available. And here is a picture of him looking at a tree from The Telegraph. Or perhaps cowering from something frightening in the sky, it’s hard to tell.

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Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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What Are the Recession-Proof Industries?

The recession hit the economy hard. After all, that’s sort of what it does. When the Lehman Brothers folded in 2008, life as we knew it changed forever and phrases like “credit-crunch” haunted our every steps. HMV, Zavvi, even Woolworths folded, making buying DVDs on the high street nigh-on impossible. But not every industry goes into the red during a recession. Some survive, even flourish during difficult economic times. But which ones? And why?

3955973259_2d49c40616_zTattoo artists, for example, do surprisingly well during the recession. Maybe because they provide a luxury, but a relatively cheap one. Because even in an economic downtime, people want to have a permanent depiction of a Chinese character for courage on their arm to show that they are courageous enough to get a tattoo. And during hard economic times, alcohol and tattoo removal services also thrive to aid the tattoo industry.

A lot of services that flourish during a recession are professions such as restoration and repairs. After all, impulse purchases for things like cars and watches become less frequent, but being able to fix them thrives as an industry because people aren’t looking so much to purchase any more. So restoring items, from antiques to televisions becomes an even more viable business venture as people look to restoration not retail. Business like furniture repair are less affected, while furniture purchase suffer, particularly as people aren’t buying so many houses. Electronic repairs also do just fine, as technology has a tendency to break constantly and people are less likely to purchase the latest technology. Particularly since it’s often hard to find the improvements over last year’s latest electro-rectange.

Another industry that isn’t too damaged during the recession is farming. After all, people are always going to have to eat. But you don’t need me to tell you that. While more luxurious food and culinary companies might run into complications, the basic food produce itself is always going to have to come from somewhere. In the last year raw materials from farms was up over twenty percent, while construction industries have been in decline, including selling lumber and other construction materials. So if you want a job that lets you get your hands dirty, maybe consider picking up a pitch fork rather than a sledge hammer.

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Industries that are constantly needed also do just fine during a recession. Funeral services, waste disposing and vets for example, all survive during difficult times because the need is there and they’re not impulse purchases. Unless fixing Rover’s broken leg is something you consider being a bit too decadent. You monster. If you can find an industry that is never going to go out of style, and is constantly required by the public, you should find yourself in a strong position no matter what the economic climate.

Temp work has become a great pursuit during the recession. While a lot of people have been let go, and it is expensive to take on any new staff, there’s still a lot of work businesses need done. Especially paperwork, so you can always consider spreading yourself like professional marmalade across a lot of businesses to solve your recession woes.

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Supposedly the recession is over, thanks to changes in a graph that are so small if they were pins they wouldn’t even hurt to tread on. But it’s always important to consider the industries largely unaffected by the recession still as the country finally begins to rid itself of the proverbial shackles of economic downtime and poke its nervous head into what will hopefully be a new golden age of business.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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Five Unusual and Possibly Brilliant CV’s.

Some of the best in weird and wonderful CVs.

  Sometimes you really want your CV to stand out to potential employers and perfectly demonstrate your unique brilliance. But how? A hypnotising background picture to brainwash employers? Writing it on a brick and throwing it through a window? Taping it to an adorable dog and hoping it wanders into the right office? Obviously none of these, so put the brick down and let the dog go, it isn’t yours. But here are some great examples where people have been really creative with their CV’s that will hopefully inspire you to create your own eye-catching and inventive resumé. Make sure that it’s relevant to what you’re applying for in some way, though. If you’re applying for a job as a vet, they might not be particularly impressed if you’ve made your CV look like a magazine cover. They’d probably prefer one taped to a dog.

The Chocolate Bar:

ChocolateBar

This one really acts as a double-whammy, and was used to apply for a marketing job. It demonstrates both an understanding of marketing, and also comes with delicious chocolate. Provided it is delicious chocolate. It could just be fancily wrapped wood.

The Lego Resumé:

Lego Resume

Everybody loves Lego, especially the under 12’s. So if you’re looking to be hired by any it’s a great trick to grab their attention. But hopefully any prospective employers would spend some time reading the instructions and getting to know little Lego you as they build. Then they’ll probably make you into a spaceship afterwards. It’s also a great way of gently revealing that you have no face.

A Box CV You Can Make:

Making a Box

People love it when you think outside of the box. Particularly after it turned out the box was just full of haikus and wasps. This guy thought so far outside of the box, he was far away enough to see it, and it inspired him to make his own. The next logical step would be to make it into a pencil holder, so that it can sit on people’s desks constantly reminding employers of your usefulness. Actually, that’s not a bad idea.

The Board Game:

A Board Game

You wouldn’t turn down Mr. Monopoly if he applied for one of your vacancies. Although probably because he owns the electric company and the water works. You could also make yourself a deck of Top Trumps type cards, and make your card the best by some distance. And maybe twice the size of the others. Then you’d really stand out. Or maybe a game of Mouse Trap that actually works.

Fabric Graphic Designer CV:

Fabric CV

Nothing says graphic designer like a napkin. But it does demonstrate a certain amount of care going into each application, and you’ll always be there when an employer blows their nose or spills some coffee on their shirt. Just hope they don’t drop your CV in water, or they might always think of you as a wet blanket.

I’m surprised I didn’t see any done like an old-west wanted poster. With a header saying “Wanted: Job”, and a sepia picture of you looking like an angry criminal. Actually, that’s probably why I haven’t seen it.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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Six Tips For Effective Job Searching

So you’re looking for a new job. Maybe it’s been a little while now and you’ve signed up to so many job board websites, your e-mail inbox is starting to become bloated with updates from sites you can’t even remember visiting, advertising jobs that are entirely wrong for you. What can you do? Here are six tips to help you in your search for professional fulfilment. Because people like lists.

  1. Take a good look at yourself.

    Not a long hard look in the mirror, you already look great. But consider your strengths and weaknesses to help you refine what jobs you look for. What are you passionate about? What experience and skills do you have? It doesn’t always have to be professional experience either, if it demonstrates a relevant skill such as leadership or creativity it’s still important.

    From there you can refine which job board websites you sign up for. Look for more niche ones that list jobs in the sectors that you are looking for, and some larger more general ones to balance things out. Make sure to check any e-mails you get from these websites as well, as they will suggest recently posted jobs that may be relevant to you.

    Ask yourself what you want to get from a job to help you refine your searching. What salary are you looking for? What kind of hours? Will you need training? Remember these when you’re looking to apply for a job.Shes drawing on your screen

  1. Organise your time effectively.

    Don’t be afraid to give yourself a daily schedule. It’s what you’ll have at work, anyway, so why not get used to it now? Set yourself daily targets and meet them each day. How many jobs are you going to apply for each day? Are there any improvements and refinements you can make to your CV or covering letter?

    If you can’t find any jobs that match your skills and interests, you can always spend time researching the areas that interest you to track down relevant vacancies. Maybe there are more specialised job-boards hidden away on the web, or magazines geared towards your skills and experiences that are currently advertising jobs. And don’t forget to keep track of where you’ve applied for jobs and when, so you know when to follow up applications.

  2. Personalise your CV and covering letter for each application.

    For every application you make, spend a bit of time adjusting your CV to match the criteria the employers are looking for. This doesn’t mean writing a new CV, that would be mad. Unless being mad is directly beneficial to your job search. But if they are particularly emphasising excellent team-working skills and that applies to you, you can bump that up your CV a little. Take a look at the job listing, look for the things they’re looking for, and emphasise these attributes in your CV and covering letter. And make sure to trim any excess flab from your CV, if things aren’t particularly relevant to the position.

    You can even adjust your interests & hobbies to highlight relevant past-times you participate in that might impress employers or add activities you’ve done in the past, search as performing a play or coaching a football team that might not necessarily impress every employer but could give you that extra personal edge if it matches skills you might want to demonstrate that are needed for the job.

  3. Follow up applications with a phone call.

    You’ve sent your CV, you’re really excited about the job, why not call them and put a voice to your application? Employers can get a lot of applicants, and hundreds of CV’s, and they may not even get round to looking at yours. Even if it is fantastic and beautifully formatted (and if it isn’t, spend some time making sure it is!). Don’t be afraid of being too pushy either. You can wait 24-48 hours and call them up, let them know you’re really excited about the opportunity and ask them if they have received your application. This way you can be sure that they have taken a look at your CV, rather than sitting around twiddling your thumbs and hoping that they have.

    You can also e-mail them an article you’ve read that is interesting and in some way relevant to the job you’ve applied for. This can spark a debate, and show that you have really been thinking about the current vacancies.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  4. Utilise the social networking sites.

    There are all sorts of websites you can use to help you in your job hunting. If you don’t already, get yourself a Linked.in account and start to network. Join any relevant groups you can, start discussions. You can get your name out there, and impress potential employers. You may also talk to others on the site that can point you in helpful directions to assist you in your search.

    Social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook can be fantastic for building up an online presence. Stand out. Approach employers and relevant companies, ask them about vacancies, show them that you’re incredibly keen and it’s more likely they’ll remember you when you apply for anything.

  5. Don’t give up!

    It’s difficult to find a job, particularly with the economy the way it is, but keep trying and don’t get disheartened. You can do it!

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Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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Does Having the X-Factor Save You From Failure?

The X-Factor began making dreams come true after exploding out of the bitter darkness in 2004, and since then many memorable faces that we definitely haven’t forgotten have become irrepressible stars that have changed the world of music. At least, that’s what you’d think, considering the hordes of people all over Britain that still seem intent on lining up to be abused by square headed man-trousers, Simon Cowell and friends. Maybe because they thought they sounded great in the shower, or they looked fantastic miming into a hairbrush, or because slightly less than five of their co-workers had told them to never sing in the office again, which was a few less than the year before.

Screen shot 2014-10-20 at 17.13.37Winners of the X-Factor are given a £1 million record deal, generally manage a Christmas number one, and a tour sometime later that also includes the contestants that they beat, who are presumably made to stand behind them and look sullen. But is winning the X-Factor the dream-ticket that it suggests it is? Where are any of the stars now? The first winner, Steve Brookstein’s first album Heart and Soul went to number one, went certified gold and sold 105,080 records. His second sold just 3,632 records. This may have been due to the difficulties he went through with the Sony label he was signed on to after winning, and a general lack of advertising, but it’s hardly a fate fitting of someone who has the much coveted X-Factor which, if you’ve been wondering, is the same ingredient that Coca-Cola refuses to disclose.

There have been success stories for winners of X-Factor, though. It would look very suspicious if there hadn’t. Leona Lewis shot to stardom with Bleeding Love, which was everywhere, and she is still recording as a singer, but there isn’t nearly the same hearsay around her. Olly Murrs has released four albums, the number most of the more successful winners seem to have managed, and become a presenter, so he seems to be living the life that X-Factor contestants all yearn for. JLS did well enough to move onto becoming a successful brand of contraceptives and clothes. Little Mix’s first album even did better than the Spice Girls’ debut.

The show still seems to continue to sell vast numbers of records, but winners get chewed up and spat out once the novelties worn off and there’s a whole new set of warblers to abuse or adore, usually by the time the previous winner’s just done a second album. It’s not uncommon over the Christmas period to see previous contestants releasing a Christmas covers album or adorning posters for pantomimes across the country, which doesn’t seem to be such a huge achievement when considered alongside Alexandra Burke starring in The Bodyguard on the west end. But once we begin to move away from more recent winners of The X-Factor, we see stars beginning to fade back into the obscurity they once exploded out of. You might have already forgotten who Steve Brookstein is. Winner of the fourth series, Leon Jackson, hasn’t really done anything since 2011. Shayne Warde was on Dancing On Ice. Amelia Lily’s last single went to 83.

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Finalist of the second series, Andy Abraham, had to file for bankruptcy, even though his first album went platinum. He came last in Eurovision but continued to do live shows long after. He only lost by just over one percent, but still disappeared from the public eye years later. Of course, music is a fickle business, and winning a contest judged by an equally fickle public isn’t going to be a good judge of success. Possibly much like the judges themselves. There’s simply no way of knowing. But if it’s a contestants dream to do very, very well for about six months, and then quite well for a few years before gently dissolving into being at best an occasional contestant in something and at worst a disgusting normal person with an interesting anecdote, signing up for the X-Factor wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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