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

STRIKE-JOBS WEBSITE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

YOUTUBE

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.

134w_job-interview-etiquette

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

STRIKE-JOBS WEBSITE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

YOUTUBE

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

STRIKE-JOBS WEBSITE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

YOUTUBE

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!

bigstock_Happy_Business_People_2706069

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

STRIKE-JOBS WEBSITE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

YOUTUBE

How IT job seekers can use keywords to enhance their chances

steve jobs

It’s important to realise how important it is to use relevant keywords on your online CV’s, resumes and profiles such as LinkedIn to increase your chances of being spotted by the right employers. This applies no matter what your sector is.

For example, if you are a software developer, you should mention programs you use like

  • ‘Java’
  • ‘C++’
  • ‘Oracle’
  • ‘NET’

This will help recruiters who are looking for candidates with those specific attributes to fish you out from the crowd.

Don’t forget your previous roles:

  • ‘reviewing and maintaining current systems’
  • ‘analyse’
  • ‘writing programme codes’
  • ‘testing manuals’.

You can look at job descriptions for guidelines, as those specific requirements would be what they are looking for.

Listing your qualifications is a must. For example an IT network manager could include:

  • ‘higher professional diploma for IT practitioners’ or
  • ‘BTEC/HND in computing’
  • or any others like OCR award and NVQs.

Use nouns not verbs where you can avoid them. Employers are looking for skills, degrees, job titles and names of products and software rather than searching directly for ‘assisted or contributed’.

Ceren Kardelen Sagir | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

STRIKE-JOBS WEBSITE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

YOUTUBE

Home or Away?

how to find local jobs

how to find local jobs

For jobseekers, it can sometimes seem like trekking to the big city with its bright lights is the only answer to our job search… Until one encounters the commute. Hot, sweaty, angry passengers on a long, uncomfortable journey. Or when frustration arises as the enormity of the job market in the city becomes clear, and where to begin becomes extremely unclear. That experience may not be worth the job you find away from home, especially since your perfect job might be right around the corner.

So what are the advantages of keeping your job search local?

Of course your commute will be shorter or perhaps it will barely even exist! Staying local means more time with your friends and family, in an area you are familiar and comfortable with.

Furthermore, many of the job opportunities in your local area will be in smaller companies. This is an advantage for a number of reasons. You are more likely to meet your potential employer much quicker, and therefore will be able to persuade them you are right for the job in person, rather than with an anonymous piece of paper. You are more likely to be able to communicate with the company directly rather than through a huge human resources office. You may also have a better chance of getting opportunities to climb the company.

Many jobs require or would highly appreciate someone who has a good knowledge of the local area. You will already have contacts and connections in that area; you will know where to find resources in the surrounding area; you will be able to discover local clients and will better understand their requirements for example.

What are the disadvantages?

Since local often means smaller scale, the amount of jobs in the area may be far fewer and consequently competition may be much higher. Local jobs may go much more quickly so you must be on the ball. Do not hesitate when you spot a local job that takes your interest.

There might be a smaller range of jobs available. There may not be jobs fit the kind of job you are looking for. There may not be vacancies for the niche area you are looking for, or there may only be niche jobs when you are looking for a more established role or a more general position that allows for developing your skills.

How to find a job

There are a multitude of ways to find jobs in your local area:

  • The Job Centre have a number of social media platforms that you can use to interact with your local employment agency and the jobs that they have. You can then even message or tweet them for help with your job centre online application form.
  • Twitter is a great resource for discovering jobs because you can follow local companies that you would like to work for as well as jobs websites and vacancies will appear on your timeline ready for you to review.
  • Your local county council will have a website which is likely to post local jobs. There may also be a .gov.uk website for your area too which can have a list of jobs on it.
  • Search for a Connexions website for your local area. As well as posting jobs, they offer CV workshops and appointments for job application advice.
  • Be bold and email companies you would love to work for. Most businesses will have contact details on their website or on business cards in their office. Preferably find an email for the person in charge of recruitment for the company and write to them enquiring if they have the position you would like available. Attach your CV with a cover letter and hope they reply! Many local businesses will at least reply either way, and lots will promise to alert you when a vacancy appears if they are impressed by your CV. Your dedicated and enthusiasm by actively seeking them will impress them and show that you really want to work for them.
  • The easiest and most useful way to find a local job is to register with a recruitment website. Set up a job alert with your specifications of location and job type. You will then receive jobs that fit your description via email and you can apply immediately. 
  • Of course you can go out into your local community with your CV in hand and enter companies you would like to work for and hand our job application to the manager. You can make your first impression here, in person, and talk over your skills with them directly.

Most importantly, decide what you really want and where you want to be. Stay firm and committed to meeting those goals and you will see results.

 

Miriam Beard | Strike-Jobs.co.uk | Journalist

Keywords in your CV to get you noticed

resume clean up

Most people don’t realise how important it is to include specific terms in their CV’s so recruiters can find them. Many companies now use recruitment management software to screen applicants when they have a job listing as they can be bombarded with hundreds of candidates. This is where hiring managers search for keywords in resumes.

Include specific job requirements like your skills, any software you are fluent in and technology know-hows, your previous employers and any other relevant credentials. Your CV should include the same words and requirements in the job description in order to increase your chances of finding a match and to be noticed.

Use industry appropriate lingo to show your knowledge of the role.

Use a job search engine to find keywords by looking at listings. Observe the results, you can determine common and popular themes and use this to combine your CV with the listings.

Use nouns and not verbs as employers are looking for skills, degrees, job titles, names of products and software rather then searching for ‘contributed’ and ‘assisted’. Where you need to place a verb, make sure it is strong and portrays your background accurately like ‘managed’, ‘resolved’, ‘generated’ and so on.

Take a look at the employers website as it will tell you a lot about the company culture and attitude. This way you can tweak your sentences to sound more familiar and can gain more terminology to use. If words from the job description are mirrored on the web page, it would be advantageous for you to use them more than once for emphasis.

Use keywords as close to the beginning as possible, this way the terms will stick out, not only in the keyword search, but also for the hiring manager who will read the CV in person.

The terms should especially be used under the skills section, job description and in a clear job title. Here are some examples of sector related keywords:

  • When applying for a retail position you could use keywords like ‘inventory control’, ‘brand management’, ‘advertising’ and ‘customer service’.
  • For IT and telecoms: ‘Java’, ‘HTML’, ‘Web development’, or ‘system management’
  • Engineering: ‘maintenance’, ‘site’, ‘technical documentation’ and ‘analysis’
  • Education: ‘classroom management’, ‘intervene’ and ‘behaviour management techniques’
  • Tourism: ‘travel sales’, ‘galileo booking software’, ‘bookings management’, and specific foreign languages.
  • Medicine: ‘administration’, ‘nursing protocols’ and ‘pharmaceutical’
  • Banking: ‘profitability’, ‘fixed assets analysis’, ‘private banker’, ‘fixed income’ and ‘monetary losses

keywords in cv : breakdown

 

Ceren Kardelen Sagir | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

STRIKE-JOBS WEBSITE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

YOUTUBE