In a tough candidate market, where HR is overwhelmed by CVs, a common concern for jobseekers is how they can make their CV stand out from the hundreds of other applications. Whilst in recent years we’ve seen great examples of creative CVs, such as ‘Jobless Paddy’ (the Galway man who landed a position with Paddy Power after his high profile billboard and social media campaign to help him find a job) – unless you are in a creative industry it’s best to stick to the basics when creating yours.
1. Good Base
All good CVs begin with a good base and by base I mean structure. Employers spend about 20-30 seconds scanning your CV so you need to make sure your CV can be easily digested.
Resist the urge to cram everything into 1 page and have a layout that is broken down into appropriate sections, with a clear font, consistent formatting and adequate white space.
Cramming too much into your CV will make it overwhelming to an employer so use concise sentences and bullet points. Using bullet points makes your CV easier to read and encourages you to only list the important points of your past experience.
2. The Main Ingredients – Experience and Achievements
A lot of candidates have a tendency to just state their duties and responsibilities when writing their CV without outlining their performance. You are not the only person applying for a job so how do you differentiate yourself from the competition? By demonstrating your achievements of course!
An employer not only wants to know you’ve got the necessary skills for the job but that you can add value to the role. So take a second now and think about your role, what have been your proudest achievements? What challenges have you had and what did you do to overcome them?
Aim to have at least two achievements – specific examples, rewards or performance to targets or in relation to others in team.
In my eyes not tailoring your CV to a specific job is a cardinal sin. Vague, general CVs just don’t cut it. You need to target your CV to each job sought.
Get your hands on the job description for the role you wish to apply for and then write your CV to suit this job description. It is crucial that your CV lists what is relevant and recent, or you lose the interest of an employer.
Apply the “so what?!” test to every line of your CV. If it is not mirroring a requirement of the job you are applying for, kill it! Irrelevant detail is a waste of space.
It may sound time consuming but making the effort to tailor your CV will greatly increase your chances of securing an interview.
4. Finishing Touches
If there was ever a time when perfectionism is warranted, it’s when writing a CV. The biggest bug bear of employers and recruiters alike are spelling mistakes and typos. Spell check does not catch everything so make sure you proofread and get a second pair of eyes also. Nothing shows lack of attention to detail like spelling mistakes.
As well as checking spelling and grammar, make sure your employment dates match up and that you’ve provided the right contact details.
Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 30 November 2017
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.
What Is LinkedIn?
What Is LinkedIn?
It’s difficult to comprehend what our lives in 2022 would be like without the various platforms and interconnectable mediums we use every day. The Nokia 3210 has been replaced by the iPhone. TV Cable has made way to streaming platforms, and much of our music is consumed via Spotify, iTunes and YouTube. However, the most poignant example of the increasingly connected age we live in, is that of Social Media. In the race to dominate the social platform, businesses are constantly updated their sites and apps with new ways to digest content, integrating features such as videos, shops, posts, blogs and stories. Though the intention of drawing in a diverse clientele is understandable, it results in a saturation of the market, thus making it difficult to ascertain the USP of a certain platform. Snapchat’s quick photo/story update features can now be found on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger command our 4G instant messaging services, and Facebook, well, Facebook does everything. However, there is one of few platforms that’s focus has managed to remain consistent since its creation, and that platform is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world's largest online professional network. You can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career. In essence, LinkedIn is the main social media hub for employers and businesses. For some, checking LinkedIn every day is like checking the newspaper, except unlike other social media platforms LinkedIn is optimised, professional, well presented, practical, focused and ultimately good. Now I have not been monetarily compensated by LinkedIn to write anything on the behalf, however I do believe that the importance of LinkedIn cannot be stressd enough, especially if you are looking to progress into the upper echalons of the corperate world. To those who have yet to utilise this platform, or simply want an overview of what it is and how it works, read on Who Should Use LinkedIn? Given that the main focus of the site is to connect businesses, establish relationships and help companies advertise jobs, your average LinkedIn user will fall into the category of ‘business professional.’ It is a platform for people looking to advance their career’s, including people from various professional backgrounds, small business owners, students, and job seekers. LinkedIn members can use the platform to tap into a network of professionals, companies, and groups within and beyond their industry. Though LinkedIn’s homepage features a feed where users can post updates and developments in their personal lives as well as photos and videos, the content still centres around the professional working life, so you may have to look elsewhere to get your cute animal fix. Why You Should Join LinkedIn LinkedIn is the key that will open the door to the interconnected landscape of business. Your profile will display your various accolades, previous work experiences, qualifications and personal bio, along with any personal hobbies and interested you wish to share. Now you might be thinking this sounds a lot like the criteria one would find on a CV, and that is not an unfair comparison to make. Many jobseekers use LinkedIn as their primary tool of self-marketing to send to companies who have advertised jobs, and employers can use it to search for candidates and present them with opportunities to work. Thus, a fleshed out, optimised and slick LinkedIn profile can prove to be an invaluable tool as you progress through your professional life. Where Do I Start Like many social medias, the best way to learn more about the features of the site is to simply jump in with a freshly created profile and click your way around the sites menu’s. However, we have a few suggestions to get you started: 1. Create a Profile Though this may seem obvious, LinkedIn does allow you to explore most of what the site has to offer without the need of creating a profile. However, having your own profile with allow the algorithm to tailor your experience on the site to your own personal preferences. Jobs advertised will become more closely linked to your current profession, and industry related content will appear more frequently on your feed. Naturally of course If you already have a reason in mind for signing up to LinkedIn, then one assumes your profile is ready to go Do take time when creating your profile. As previously mentioned, LinkedIn can function as an online CV, so take this into account when uploading a profile photo and writing your bio. Include all relevant experiences and skills you have within your profession in indoor to add further employability to your page 2. Build your connections The network you create will play a crucial part in unlocking the power of LinkedIn as it will help you understand what is happening in your industry and professional circle. You can begin by adding your family, friends, past or current classmates, and co-workers to your network. You can also follow people, companies, or topics by navigating directly to the Follow fresh perspectives page, which displays recommended sources to follow. 3. Browse the Catalogue of Jobs The job search is one of the standout features of LinkedIn. You can use the job search to research companies in preparation for an interview, reach out to hiring communities or simply see what current roles are being advertised for. LinkedIn is one of the top platforms when it comes to advertising vacancies, so there’s a high chance a specific role or a role in a less well known or advertised industry will appear in your searches. You can also save jobs searches or notify your connections and recruiters that you’re open to job opportunities. 4. Engage in Conversation Though LinkedIn as a platform caters more to a tool for business than traditional social media, you can still connect and talk to people as you would on any other platform. Feel free to engage in updates and posts from the companies or individuals you follow. This can even work as a catalyst to establish further connections with new likeminded individuals. 5. Post Content And finally, post stuff! Don’t be afraid of uploading content onto your page. Keep your connections updated with any recent developments in your professional career, reach out to industry experts for advice, stimulate debate and even alert people to vacancies in your place of work. In Conclusion LinkedIn is an invaluable tool used by many as a catalyst to progress further in their working life. The benefits of LinkedIn should never be understated, and once you’ve begun to explore the site and engage with content, you’ll wonder how you ever navigated the job market without it
Would Your CV Make the Naughty or Nice List?
Would Your CV Make the Naughty or Nice List?
If you’re job seeking this holiday season it's important to make sure your CV ends up on the hiring managers nice list and not their naughty list. In order to do this here are some top tips to follow... Good Structure Good CV structure is so important and it’s the first thing that the person reading your CV will notice. A good structure will have the following: Work history and education arranged separately according to date and in chronological order. Keep education and work history in separate sections of the CV. No borders, tables or strange fonts and pictures/images. The document is in word format and not PDF format. The formatting is uniform and consistent. If there are bullet points, they are all the same style and alignment. Details The more detail you give about your work history the easier it is for a recruiter/hiring manager to understand your experience and know if you are suited to a particular role. Job seekers often put just one word to describe their duties and when you consider the competition out there this just isn’t enough detail to stand out so make sure to give as much detail wherever you can - but don't give so much detail that it becomes waffle (see below). Achievements and Extra Curriculars Including what you’ve achieved in your professional career like awards and certificates are very impressive to hiring managers. However, they don’t always have to be job related awards, they can be personal achievements too e.g. completed a marathon, raised money for charity, served on a community or student committee etc. It’s good to show on your CV that you’re outgoing and achieve goals in your personal life as well as work. Also, if you are passionate about your hobbies include this on your CV. Hobbies will help you to stand out to a hiring manager. Charity work and sports are acceptable, but don’t put down hobbies for the sake of it, because this will make you stand out for the wrong reason. Leave out things like “I enjoy walking” or “watching Netflix series”. A good CV will use that space for something more relevant. You Don’t Know What You Want Whether you’re a graduate or have years of work experience, you shouldn’t apply for jobs for the sake of it. When it comes to job seeking, you need to be specific and apply for jobs that you are qualified to do and that you have an interest in. You can’t just apply for jobs in one batch and hope for the best. Know what you want and demonstrate your interest in your CV. A hiring manager can always tell when someone applied without any real interest. Too Much Waffle Now that you know what you want, the next thing is to portray that to the hiring manager, but the problem is you undersold yourself by sharing the wrong information about your experience. Hiring managers appreciate stats, facts and figures on a CV and will instantly lose interest in an application if there is too much waffle. It’s a common mistake to make, but it is one that can obliterate your chances of getting the job. To make your CV and/or cover letter more concise, why not include some stats on what you’ve achieved? It depends on your industry, but information that will impress a hiring manager are things like sales figures, marketing statistics or facts about your accomplishments in your previous roles. Not Matching Your Qualifications/Experience to The Job This is another critical mistake. When you are applying for a job you need to show the hiring manager that you are the perfect match for the job. You do this by specifically stating all the relevant experience and qualifications you have that match the job description. When a hiring manager sees this, it will make their job easier because they will clearly see how you tick all their boxes. If you have been applying for jobs with the same CV, it might be time to rethink that approach and tailor your CV to each job specifically. Job seeking isn’t easy, but we hope this blog will help anyone searching for a new job this Christmas. If you need help with your CV why not get in touch with us and one of our recruitment consultants can put you on the right track. Best of luck and happy Christamas! Click here to see our opening hours this Christmas