After reading countless CVs day in, day out here at Sigmar, there are many a CV cliché that makes our eyes glaze over. Phrases such as ‘motivated, hard-working, team player’ and ‘enthusiastic individual with experience working in a fast-paced environment’ are white noise to us as recruiters yet we still see them appear on numerous CVs every day.
The problem for many job seekers, is that whilst the have accomplished many career goals and achievements, when it comes to writing their CV they can’t remember any of it. So when in a rush to throw a CV together they end up using the same words and phrases as everyone else. Your CV is your marketing tool for getting you an interview and you need to utilise it to distinguish you from the other candidates.
As recruiters, we want to see career progression, concrete examples of achievements and your growth within the company. Anything else is considered filler. Rather than listing your skills and job duties, demonstrate your accomplishments with specific examples. Providing examples will allows us as recruiters the ability to relate you to a specific role.
Whilst some clichés are unavoidable here’s our guide to working around the most common offenders;
Probably the most overused phrase of the lot is ‘team player’, ‘thrives in a team environment’, ‘loves working as part of a team’. Don’t state one of these phrases, rather talk about an accomplishment that shows you’re a good team player. For example; ‘Headed up a team of sales people to create a new sales model that increased sales by 41%’.
In what? What did you do to get this track record? Have you saved your company money? Have you reached ambitious targets? Quantify your results; ‘Over a period of 6 months, I brought in €150,000 of business and 15 new clients’. A company would be far more impressed with this statement than a vague comment.
Well, you’re not going to write that you’re a bit lazy are you? You’re not the only one using these clichés, so clean up your CV by stating how you go that extra mile. Did you take a class to improve your skills? Did you meet some really tough deadline? Show the HR manager what makes you this person with a strong work ethic, instead of using another cliché.
As you can see strong CVs make claims but then back them up with evidence. Smarter job hunters realise that trying to sell your personality on paper sets you up to fail. So to sum up make fewer claims and offer more evidence matched to the employer’s shopping list.
Posted by Ruth Tobin on 28 November 2017
The Benefits Of Contract Work
The Benefits Of Contract Work
The jobhunting period can at times feel quite negative, and many people will be put off contract work as they know they have a date where they will be out of employment after the role expires. Also, jumping between different industries in quick succession can prove a challenge for the Wallflowers in this blogs audience. However, Contract work does have benefits that should not be overlooked both to the short and long-term trajectory of your career. Here are a number of reasons why you should accept contract as well as some added benefits you may not have considered.Make ConnectionsThe nature of contract work dictates that unless you’re offered a permanent position, you will be moving between places of work every 6 - 12 months. The benefit of this, is that you are likely to become acquainted with many business leaders, executives, CEOs, and industry experts along the way. This will prove invaluable as building your contact list of reputable business leaders will provide new connections, long lasting business relationships and an impressive list of references for your next employer to contact. In a world where a person’s experience in the field can be the deciding factor in being chosen for interview, having connections to add to your credibility will only ever benefit your applicationFind your job passionIt is not uncommon for young professionals to work a variety of roles before settling into a more permanent fulfilling role. This method can provide a multitude of valuable experience, references, and insights into the nature of the industry. Contract work is a good way to dip your toe into the pool of the industry and find out if you are best aligned with the culture and work involved in the industry.SalaryContracted roles will get you better pay. They offer a higher basic salary in lieu of a benefits package. You can make your experience really work to your advantage. Employers are typically willing to pay you generously, providing you meet their requirements, if you solve their problem or need quickly. Employers tend to really value experience, since they want to bring onboard someone who can jump right in and hit the ground running.Faster EmploymentNow this of course does not cover all contract work, and you shouldn’t apply for a contract position assuming you’re going to be accepted by 9:30 and start work at 10:00. However, the creation of a contract role may have resulted in a sudden urgency and vacation that needs to be filled, so the onboarding of contracts does move faster than permanent roles.More FreedomAs you are not bound by the standard contracts of the business, you have more negotiating room when discussing hours, pay and location. You may have been brought into the contract role to assist with a sudden influx of work, therefore If you can assure your employer you will complete the work, you can choose working hours that fit for you, which can provide more time out of work for looking at more roles, building your professional profile and networking.In ConclusionThere are many business professionals who have built there who career around contract work and it’s not too hard to see why. Contract work offers more flexibility, better pay, more variation, and greater chance of networking and building a profile within the industry. Understanding the process and careful planning can ensure you are never out of work for lengthy periods of time, and with the flexibility contract work offers, you can use any free time to plan ahead once your contract expires. If you are keen to build your professional CV, build strong industry connections, gain experience and entertain a higher pay, contract work is definitely worth your time
Refining Your CV
Refining Your CV
The CV is the key that opens the doors of opportunity, and like many (if not all keys) they have to be a perfect fit in order to turn the lock.In simpler terms, this badly explained metaphor demonstrates that like keys and locks, you will need a CV tailored to a particular job in order for it benefit your application. Admittedly a mistake I made when talking my first steps in the industry, was to fill my CV with every award, accolade, and skill I’d obtained in my life in order to appear like the most impressive candidate possible. I had moderate success with this approach, however, as I started to work towards specific roles within the industry, I realised the importance of keeping my CV focused and specific to a particular field.There are many different blogs, videos and online classes that tap into the field of CV writing. We here at Sigmar Recruitment receive many thousands of CV’s every day and it can be the difference between being invited for an interview or missing out on the shortlist of candidates. Here are some key points to include in your CV PresentationA little attention to the presentation side goes a long way. Nobody wants to look at a plain black and white Times New Roman Word Document CV. Your CV is your business passport, your personal brand that you’re selling to potential employers. Adding a dash of colour and flair to your CV will help add a more personalised, professional look. Of course, this is still a formal document, so don’t go for the full Andy Warhol, however, even so much as changing the colour of the headings will breathe life into your CV. Blue, dark brown, olive green and beige work particularly as it will help keep your CV professional whilst drawing attention to key areas of information. IntroKeep your introduction focused, short and relevant. Potential employers will be sifting through a number of CV’s searching for specific information that is applicable to role, so make sure you include your main profession, key skills, and brief examples of work. You have the rest of your CV to list your varied skillset, so try to focus on specialities and the core of your work. There will be time to dive deeper into your backstory when you make it to the interview stage, but for now, keep your intro short and sweet. Imagine your writing text for a billboard that advertises your business. You’re going to want to include all the key points that sell you to clients. X . I have been interested in creating content since I was 9 years old, and it started when I used to edit images and videos on my iPad. I used to create marketing tools for my friends, like memes, YouTube videos and photos and eventually decided to focus on a career in marketing. I am proficient in a number of content creation tools, such as Adobe, Final Cut, Canva and Office and have been able to utilise these skills in a number of assignments for clients in music, clothing, and events management. I work well in a team but am also capable of setting my own goals and completing tasks within a given timeframe ✓. Passionate and experienced digital marketer, specialising in both audio and visual content creation using Adobe, MacOS and Office. Competent, adaptable, and focused, I have worked for a number of clients in a wide range of industries, such as clothing, music, events, and businesses. Work ExperienceWhen I first started to apply for more specific industry positions, the first thing I did when tailoring my CV to certain roles was to include only work experience I felt was relevant. This proved to be my downfall, as in leaving out parts of my professional career, the naked eye would assume I was simply out of work and not doing anything for lengthy periods of time. Try and include all of your previous work experience in your CV and explain any gaps i.e., if you took a year out or went traveling. If your previous jobs were in an industry different to that which you are applying for, list various roles, responsibilities and acquired skills that are transferrable.In the case of myself, I had worked a number of roles in hospitality and catering before I started to focus more on a career marketing and content development. Now pouring the perfect flat white isn’t that important when it comes to designing and executing marketing strategies, however, skills such as time management, brand awareness, consistency and building brand awareness are some of the necessary skills needed in marketing and were therefore, noteworthy References When selecting candidates for interview, Employers will often research the applicants further, so the best way to steer them in a direction that benefits you is to provide contact information for work references. This can be anybody that you have worked with, or for, in a professional capacity, though its advisable to provide details for Senior Management, such as Managers, Directors or Executives (after obtaining permission to do so) rather than listing your friends. This will help remove the illusion of bias.Also, a reference from a family member will not be relevant in the eyes of an employer. Common knowledge, but important none the less. Hobbies and InterestsMake sure to include a short list of the things you like to do outside of work, be it socialising, or holidays or what you like to do in your downtime. Of course, a CV is a formal document and the more professional you come across the better, however, you are not a robot. You are a human being; you are ALLOWED to have interests outside of work. A short list of 4-5 hobbies will help get your personality across to your employer and show that you will bring passion and positivity to your place of work. Other ExperienceThis is where you are able to list any further experiences that will aid in your application. The Presidents Award, Travelling or any other notable accomplishments can help you standout as a person who is looking to enrich their mind or go out of there way to help others. Employers will likely entertain candidates who have have a certain zest for life and bring a positive attitude and mindset to the work environment.
The Benefits Of Journaling
The Benefits Of Journaling
Let’s first dispel any preconceptions you may have had before clicking on this post. This post will not be outlining the benefits of keeping a diary of sorts to document your thoughts and feelings. Of course, if you already do that, then more power to you, but in this blog we will be focusing on why using a journal is the most effective medium in keeping track of any upcoming events and increasing productivity. But I Have Notes on My Phone… Smartphones manufacturers are continuously updating and innovating their products with the intention of streamlining our day to day lives. However, they can also provide distractions and reduce productivity. It can be all too tempting to tap on the YouTube App next to your Notes or Calendar. Having an actual notebook to write in reduces the temptation to get side-tracked and allows you to be present and focused as you document information. Smartphones also allow mistakes to be erased or things to be rewritten, which of course has its benefits, however, writing with pen and paper encourages a certain commitment to the process and taking time to document information in this manner allows information to be subconsciously registered. So what are some benefits of journaling? Organisation Traditionally, people would associate a journal as a daily record of news and events amongst other things of a personal nature. In essence, it’s a diary. However, rather than use journaling as a way to document the past, instead, use it to plan for the future. For instance, when applying for jobs, you may need to remember important dates such as interview's, online calls or tasks to complete. And whilst in employment, use it to remember deadlines, meetings, commitments and work based social events. Business and work-related alerts can become lost in the void of the other notifications on your devices, so having all important information contained in an accessible, easy to use portable format is guaranteed to avoid such occurrences. Productivity There can be slow times during a period of work and the temptation to scroll through social media or watch videos online can be all but too enticing. This is where a Productivity Journal can help. By tracking habits or division of time spent on tasks throughout the day, your working hours will ultimately be more focused with less wasted time. Time Management and Reaching Goals Journaling provides a way of breaking down a seemingly herculean task into obtainable goal by distributing time across a number of dates. Having all your important tasks and commitments scribbled down will allow you to quickly identify spaces in your schedule and allow you to dedicate time accordingly. Without question, planning your time effectively will increase productivity and decrease stress. Reflection Of course, it is worth mentioning that though you may journal as a means of planning ahead, it can be nice to look back through the previous weeks and months you have documented and reflect on previous projects. It can help instil a sense of pride to look back at your past accomplishments and completed tasks, which will motivate you to continue to work hard and not feel daunted when presented with a lengthy task. Viewing previously completed tasks retrospectively can provide good hindsight in preparation for similar projects in the future. Stress Relief A simple but important point of note, Journaling in this method can also be quite meditative, and is a sure way to keep the stress levels down. As previously mentioned, removing the ability to delete mistakes requires you to focus more on what you’re writing. This means you are present in the moment and focused on one specific task. The world of work can present many matters that require your attention and in a busy week of work full of deadlines, meetings and commitments, it can be nice to take 5 minutes away and just focus your efforts on one task. Doodles and Drawings In a similar fashion to the traditional diary, your journal isn’t just for handwriting, its your own personal document that you can shape and customise however you like. Studies have shown that drawing or doodling in your journal enhances your memory and can also provide further stress relief. A lot of people have strong visual remembrance and are more likely to recall information from an image than a written document. Aside from these benefits, personalising your journal is ultimately enjoyable and will encourage you to use it more often! In Conclusion Its difficult to list exactly how journaling can affect your professional life, as everybody uses a journal for different things. Some to plan ahead of time, some to document, and some as a way to take a few minutes out of there busy schedule to just focus on one task. Chances are as you read this blog post (thank you for reading to the end by the way) you already had some idea of what you would use a journal for, or maybe you’ve observed a close friend or colleague viciously scribble away in a notebook whenever they have a few seconds away from a call. We’ve mentioned a few practical uses of journaling, however, the best way to get started is just to get stuck in and see what works for you. Buy yourself a notebook and pen and get writing, it’ll help, trust me!
Why You Should Research The Company Who Want To Interview You
Why You Should Research The Company Who Want To Interview You
Before entering into an interview situation, we HIGHLY advise that you research your prospective employer as thoroughly as possible. Not only will this increase the chances of your interview being successful, it can also help you decide if the business is a good cultural fit for you, and also offer peace of mind that the company has good intentions. Provide Company Authenticity Allow me to briefly divulge to you a personal experience I’ve had. During my years of studying I was signing up to agencies in the hope of getting some money to help with living expenses. I was contacted by an agency that said a company was looking for assistants to help out in their studio. I went along to the interview and after the usual questions and formalities, I was offered the job on the spot! Amazing right? Well, shortly after I verbally accepted the position, I was informed that before they would send a contract over, I was required to send £500 to the company accounts team to cover any potential ‘damages and expenses’ to equipment inside the studio. Naturally, this was some cause for concern, and long story short, after a quick flick through their online social presence, I found that most of their followers were paid for/bots and the company address listed on their website was actually a room above a laundrette 50 miles from where it should be! It is the unfortunate truth that there are some undesirables who will pray on the good intentions of jobseekers by offering opportunities in industries that are traditionally challenging to enter. Prior research into a company that has contacted you will provide peace of mind that the company exercises lawful practices and that their business is authentic and genuine. In the case of my own experience, it's certainly a rare occurrence, but unfortunately, not an impossibility. Is The Company Right For You? The average person will work for around 37.5 hrs pw, some more and some less. This is a long time to be spent at the workplace, so in order to avoid any negative feelings or resentment towards work developing, you must make sure that the company’s culture aligns with your own. Ask yourself the following questions, am I able to complete the level of work required, can I work within company deadlines, am I able to handle the demands of my role, can I adhere to the company's work location i.e. work remotely, in office or hybrid? All these things will help you determine whether you can meet the demands of the role and perform consistently. Demonstrates an Interest in the Company As an employee of a company, you will be expected to act in a way that reflects the company’s best interests and core values. Employers will be looking for candidates in interviews that they feel best resonate with their core company ethics and philosophy. Demonstrating knowledge of the company’s history and expansion and recognising its achievements and accolades is sure to impress your potential employers. It conveys your own passion for the brand and desire to be a part of a company’s growth. This will help show your employer that you are committed to the future of the company and intend to work within the business for a long time. It helps you prepare meaningful questions Now you may have seen a post on our knowledge centre about questions you should ask your interviewer. These are all tried and tested ways to go the extra mile in an interview by seeking additional insight about your employer and demonstrating an interest in the company ethos. However, if you truly want to go above and beyond to impress your interviewer, mould your questions in such fashion that they directly relate to the business. Example: I recognise the company’s overall mission is X. But can you share some of the company's short and long-term goals during the next 3 years. What part would I play in helping the business to achieve these targets? Formulating your questions about matters directly concerning the company shows your employers you are eager to become an asset to the business. This will also provide an opportunity to match the business goals with your own! It can help you learn more about the industry If you’ve decided that you need a change in your career path and want to pursue a role in a different industry, research into a company can help provide insight into what the work actually entails and how the industry and company itself operates. Learning the ins and outs, the rough and the smooth of the job you’re looking to apply for will help you make the right decision for both your career and wellbeing. If a company advertises a fast-paced quick response attitude, will you be able to keep up? Similarly, if the role operates within both high-pressure and relaxed periods of work, are you ok with an irregular balance of fast and slow-paced environments? Researching the company and role you wish to pursue will help answer some of these questions that should always be considered when trying something new. In Conclusion As you can see, there are many benefits to researching your employer. Prospective employers are always going to be looking for candidates that will go the extra mile, so this is good practice into the mindset of always going one step further to impress and prove why you are an important asset to any team.