You’ve spent hours fine-tuning your resume or CV and you go to SEEK or other job boards only to find that they ask if you want to write a cover letter. You don’t really, do you? But here’s why you need to.
If you’re looking for a job it’s a daunting process because you have to sell yourself to an employer and most people don’t have to do this very often. Parents returning from parenting can find it particularly daunting because they’ve found themselves surrounded by nappies, cleaning, cooking and washing and the thought of presenting themselves to other adults can be scary.
I’ve spoken to some EzyLearn students in the last couple weeks about our Accounting Course Tutor Initiative and have been impressed at how capable many of them (you) are!
DO YOU KNOW THERE is no reason to find a job interview nerve wracking, even though so many people do. It’s simple enough to understand why. People put a lot of pressure on themselves to give the best impression and come out as the successful candidate. And look, these things are important, no argument there, but together the pressure to give a good impression AND win the job itself, can conspire to turn you into a “yes man” (or woman).
A job interview is about finding a suitable candidate for a position available at a company. This is not a one way street. As much as you need to give a good impression, so does the company, and if you look at it that way — that you’re interviewing them as much as they are you — it takes the pressure off A LOT.
I don’t just mean at the end when they ask if you have any questions — honestly, you’re probably not likely to have any questions by this point, because if you’ve been paying attention, you should have covered any of questions you had going in.
When you’re asked how you would handle a particular situation or what your approach to something might be, ask for more information if you need or qualify the situation they’re referring. People are often afraid to do this in case they look silly, when actually it makes you look quite smart, and show that you’re not afraid of authority.
Take your time
Don’t rush to answer a question. There’s no real way to prepare for an interviewer’s questions, and they know that. However, your answers should also be rooted in some previous experience you’ve had, so while it may take you a while to wrack your brains for a previous example, you shouldn’t be unable to answer either. If you can’t think of an exact experience, discuss a similar one and how you handled that.
Be yourself and relax
This is so important, because as much as the interviewer may be looking for the most skilled candidate, they’re also looking to make sure you’re not a robot. Show your personality, show you’re a human, establish some rapport with your interviewers. Some of the interview process is confirming you are what you say you are, but mostly it’s finding out if you’re someone they want working for them.
In the IT and engineering industry, interviews aren’t even set up to determine skill sets, but rather personality traits, because many companies today are looking for programmers and engineers who can communicate to stakeholders in plain English, rather than tech talk.
Remember, who you are in the interview should reflect and expand on who you are in your resume and cover letter. You can learn how to use PowerPoint to create a resume in our PowerPoint training courses. For more information, visit our website.
You can also brush up on Word for your resume presentation by enrolling in our Microsoft Word online training courses. You’ll be amazed at the things you can create with a comprehensive understanding of Word.
Gone are the days of excruciatingly dull PowerPoint slide presentations… Nowadays PowerPoint is the hidden gem used to generate animations, videos, movies, advertising and graphics. It’s a great ally to the marketer or social media person in your organisation. This creative program can also be used to conjure up the most beautiful and modern pictorial slides to enhance any presentation or induction.
And the truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. If you don’t like the idea of this, well then maybe being self-employed isn’t for you! Why? Because in order to find the best work; the kind that you’ll love, you need to be always looking for it — or always be closing, if there any fans of Glengarry Glen Ross in the house tonight.
The truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work.
Do pay attention to design
I’m choosing to exclude the “grammar, spelling and punctuation” portion of this list, because if you don’t already know that’s important by now, then oh boy, I can’t help you. But formatting and design are important, whether you’re looking for work in a creative industry or not.
The key is to grab attention in less than half a minute. You can use different fonts, for instance, a larger plain font for headings and a smaller (perhaps serif) font for the body text. You can type your resume up in Word or use PowerPoint or some other design tool. But just don’t get ahead of yourself and use something too fancy that you don’t have a proper grasp of and end up with a resume that is hotchpotch and messy.
These days, some recruiters will even upload your resume into their own “system” which “parses” your content and basically re-formats it all into plain text. If this happens, your gorgeous CV will look very different on the screen of the employer. The simpler the design and layout of the original resume, the easier it will be for them to read if they indeed use this system for getting through the applications of hundreds of job applicants. But don’t feel disheartened, there are others ways to get spotted amongst the crowd.
Don’t use jargon
The next hurdle, once you’ve got the recruiter or hiring manager reading your resume or cover letter, is to urge them to call you. Do not, I repeat, do not use jargon of any kind in either your resume or cover letter. The minute someone reads a sentence that starts with or contains “experienced in”, “team player”, “responsible for”, etc, etc, they switch off.
These phrases mean literally nothing. Nothing. Telling someone you’re a team player: redundant. Everyone should be a team player, and there is no one, not a single person ever, who has written on their resume that they’re not one. Instead, tell the employer what you like about working in a team. (On a similar note, also avoid the term “able to work autonomously” by explaining the times you’ve had to and how that’s gone.)
When you go to use the words “experienced in” try to remind yourself that this is something that happens to you — not something you proactively go out and do. Instead refer to your background in terms of achievements. Search “typical jargon to avoid on a resume” for more.
Do show your personality
Remember that employers are people too. Work culture is important to lots of businesses, so they need to know that any potential new hire, freelance or otherwise, will be able to fit in and work with them. And if you can make the person reading your resume laugh, oftentimes you’ll get a call back.
Don’t list silly interests
I should add a qualifier to that, which says that it’s okay to list a really silly interest if you know and make a point of noting that it’s a silly interest. This makes you seem thoughtful, and definitely not as dumb as a person who says they like reading or sports on their resume. Reading what? It implies novels, but it could also mean signposts, Aldi catalogues, Post It Notes. And if you like playing cricket more than once a year on Boxing Day, then for the love of all that is holy (cricket on Boxing Day), say that. Otherwise, put down interests that you actually are interested in — they reveal a lot about the type of person you are, which again, goes to help with the point above.
We’ve had several hundred bookkeepers Pre-Qualify for our National Bookkeeping, Bookkeeper Directory and most of them upload a resume demonstrating their qualifications, experience and references but I’m baffled at how bad the formatting is in these resumes!
To help our students do the best job presenting themselves on paper we’re including the Microsoft Word Course for free when you enrol into either the MYOB Courses or Microsoft Excel Courses (when you choose the all courses and 12 months access with Certificate option). That’s a saving of $267!
The problem with making mistakes with your Microsoft Word formatting is that questions could come up in an interview. The Interviewer might throw in a question about software skills, particularly if you’ll be writing some detailed reports or proposals, forecasts etc. in the new job.
Here are some extra tips for Bookkeeper resumes
Most of the Microsoft Word skills you need to write a good resume are covered in our Word Intermediate Courses, but we’re including the entire 9 courses so you can become a power Microsoft Word user! Here are a couple other things to think about when writing you resume:
Include an image – it makes you stand out and brings the reader closer (make it a selfie where you’re smiling 🙂
Include your full name and desired role in the filename (we’re all using files these days! use it to your advantage)
The last one about filenames is a big one because if interviewers are like me they’ll put all the resumes for one role into a folder and I find myself renaming most of them!
FREE Microsoft Word Workbook
We spend a lot of time on marketing so I assume that you know we offer free samples of our training material, but I should mention again that the Microsoft Word sample is actually the entire Word Beginners Course 201 Training Workbook, make sure you get it! Get it now.
Quickbooks Course Update
It’s been a while in the making, but we have the final draft of our Quickbooks Course workbook! Unlike some training companies, we write up a detailed course story based on a real business scenario and use that as the basis for recording our screen videos that demonstrate how to use the software. We’ve had a huge number of Course Alert Registrations and they’ll ALL receive a free copy of the workbook, so if you haven’t already registered do it NOW!
EzyLearn Wholesale Partner Update
I made a brief reference to our new Enrolment Voucher system in a recent post about BAS deadlines and we’ve got an update. The new enrolment voucher system is now in beta testing which means we’ll shortly be inviting EzyLearn students who love our courses to receive a massive wholesale discount on selected courses. Make sure you register your interest.
Get Your Free Microsoft Word Training Workbook Now
We’ve been hard at work on our Microsoft Word courses in readiness for the launch of our 2016 Microsoft Word courses and I’m happy to let you know that we are offering the first of our Microsoft Word Course Workbooks to you for free. It’s the 201 Course workbook and it includes exercise files that explain all of the different types of tools available in Microsoft Word.
The image in this blog is of one of the exercise files we’ve created that has loads of different Word formatting, including:
Font formatting (colour, size)
Paragraph Formatting (alignment, spacing)
Headers and Footers
Images and Graphics
Background shading formatting
Sales Letters, Proposals and more
The “Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents” exercise file included with the free Microsoft Word workbook is one of dozens of files we include in our MS Word Courses and as a Microsoft Word student you’ll also get access to new training content we’re including Sales Letters and Proposals.
The exercises in all of our courses and the object for every course is to use software for practical purposes in every business. The Sales Letters and Proposals exercise files we’re working on combine software skills with marketing strategies we go through in our Small Business Marketing Course. Not only will you learn strategies to grow your business by increase your customer base and enhancing your product service offering, you get to create your own marketing materials using Microsoft Word.
Microsoft Word Training Course is Being Nurtured With New Content
I recently wrote about the content in our Microsoft Word Training Courses and because its a couple years old we’ve been offering the Microsoft Word Courses as a FREE BONUS to anyone who enrolled in our Excel or MYOB courses (with certificate options). If you’re a regular reader (subscribe here) or an EzyLearn student you’d also know that we offer either 12 month or lifetime access to courses and that includes access to brand new content.
[highlight]We’re in the process of create brand new content for Microsoft Word, including training on the creation of great sales letters, resumes and tender proposals.[/highlight]
I’m happy to share with you that we’ve been working on our Word course feverishly for the last 3 months (and there is still a couple months of work to go) to make sure that we have training on the most recent version – Microsoft Word 365 (the clould-based Microsoft Word program that you can purchase on an annual subscription that costs less than the previous versions). The new Word course content is now also aimed at helping you create documents to make sales (for businesses) or find work (for job seekers).
If you’ve always wanted to improve your skills using this popular program and write documents faster, make them look more professional or take advantage of tools like Mail Merge then you’ll get some great value out of this course. We’ll be going through some exercises to help you create
A great sales letter to highlight the call-to-action for your direct marketing campaigns as well as
A resume for the job you’re looking for (and a focussed cover letter).
Proposals and tender documents to win new business for your company
Sales Letters, Resume’s, Cover Letters and Proposals
[highlight]Can you see what they all have in common? They are all marketing focussed.[/highlight]
Each of these documents are used by people EVERY day to show how professional, smart, committed and capable they are. Most companies need to write sales letters and proposals to try to win new business and maintain or increase their annual revenue. Job seekers create resumes and cover letters to convince employers that they are the best person to choose for a job vacancy.
In creating this updated Microsoft Word Course content we’ll also be working on some real life examples of creating marketing materials as part of the Small Business Marketing Courses AND our Career Academy that aims to prepare students to confidently search and apply for job vacancies.
Sales Letters for Bookkeepers and Website Designers
Bookkeepers and website designers need new clients all the time, sometimes because they just don’t have enough work but sometimes because the nature of their work is project driven so it’s [highlight]important to always be spending some time in the sales department[/highlight] (even if you are a one person band). Some people do this with content marketing, or Pay-per-click advertising on Google or Facebook, while others actively seek to meet new people and give them a reason to engage their services.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ll be working on sales letters as part of a direct marketing effort to reach potential clients and give them a [highlight]reason to act on the sales letter using a special offer and a call to action[/highlight].
You can create sales letters for your marketing campaigns using beginners skills in Microsoft Word, but when you develop the Intermediate or advanced skills you’ll find a dramatic difference in the quality of your documents.
Special Prices & BONUS Courses are for a LIMITED TIME ONLY
Are you planning on doing a Microsoft Word Course in the new year? Why not enrol now and save at least $50?
After we’ve completed all the new course content and support exercise files we’ll be bringing the Microsoft Word Course prices inline with our other course prices, so when you enrol now you can get the Word course free if you enrol into Excel or MYOB (Certification option) or you can enrol directly into Microsoft Word and get the current discounted price. Enrol now and you’ll get the benefit of the new Word course material when it’s published but you’ll get it at today’s price.
A mortgage for your home is a huge debt, particularly for those living in the swelling capital cities with soaring house prices. The pro and cons of buying your own house and living in it are:
You don’t pay capital gains tax on a property you live in, but
You can’t claim the interest component of your loan
The big problem with this is the interest charge – you can’t claim the cost of it yet it’s a massive component of each and every payment you make on your mortgage. You’d need your house price to go up at least at the interest rate you are paying to make it a good investment – and right now you’d be doing fine (perhaps except in Perth now).
Bigger payments reduce the interest paid
Our Microsoft Excel Training Course now includes an Excel spreadsheet file that will help you see just how much money you’d save if you paid even a small amount off extra each month!
You can use the mortgage comparison file to compare two mortgages, make extra payments or even shorten the term of the loan to see how much you’d need to pay each month if you want to pay your mortgage off quicker.
I don’t want to turn this into a financial education blog, but there are several reasons to open this spreadsheet and start seeing the resulting figures to workout the best way to allocate the money you earn. Interest rates are at record lows, house prices ‘may’ be peaking, some people say that Australian banks are so highly leveraged to the residential property market that they’ll need to hold more capital reserves.
Either way you look at it, why not use your Microsoft Excel skills and play with some calculations to see how much better off you could be if you are financially prudent now. You can also use this Microsoft Excel file to do a stress test and see how much your mortgage would be if interest rates do go up as many people expect they will.
Free Microsoft Word Course (or Xero Accounting) when you enrol in Excel Certificate Course
Note that if you enrol into Microsoft Excel Courses and choose the certificate option you’ll receive a BONUS course in either Microsoft Word (to create a professional resume) or Xero Accounting! Read our BONUS course offer announcement.
I recently asked our course development team to review the contents of our online Microsoft Word course and got some feedback about the versions we’re currently using in that course. Let’s just say that although the structure of the course is excellent and it takes students from the basics to intermediate and advanced tools using Microsoft Word, we use an earlier version of Word in most of the Workbooks and Training videos. The RESULT – we are offering the Microsoft Word Courses for free for any student who enrols into our Microsoft Excel or MYOB Accounting Training Courses from the www.ezyLearnonline.com.au website!
This offer is available for a limited time only and may be withdrawn at any time.
[quote]Microsoft Word Training Course is currently free when you enrol into Microsoft Excel Course or MYOB Training Courses.[/quote]
Commitment to Improve
The excuses are that we were focussing on MYOB, Xero, Excel, WordPress and the Small Business Management and Marketing courses AND our new National Bookkeeping service, but the truth is that we didn’t give the Word course enough attention and that makes me sad. So, we are currently creating updated workbooks and videos so our students will once again have not only beginners to advanced Word courses for the one price, but also several different versions included for the one price – just like we do for our Microsoft Excel and MYOB Training Courses.
The great news for students who enrol into this Microsoft Word Course is that they’ll also have access to all of the updates and new course content we’re currently creating!
You’ll still learn a lot
As I was writing this blog post I realised how fantastic the Internet is. How it enables me (and all other small businesses) to speak to their students and prospective students and make offers like this one. Although I am not proud of the fact that we haven’t updated our Word course the same way we have with our Microsoft Excel Training Courses it is still a fantastic course that covers LOTS of topics that are relevant regardless of which version you use.
Knowledge covered in the course includes tools that will help you make a professional looking proposal, letterhead, flier, brochure, pricelist and many other important documents for small businesses. These skills are relevant regardless of how the navigation changes between the versions and they include:
tabs and tables,
styles and tables of contents,
ruler and margin settings,
how to manage data in a mail merge etc
text, paragraph and page formatting
headers and footers
inserting and aligning with images
working with text boxes and text wrapping
Take a look at what is included in the Microsoft Word Courses
Have a look to see what’s included in the course and I’m sure you’ll agree this is fantastic value. The most popular documents that students want to create are:
Flyers and brochures
Training / Education Guides
[button link=”http://ezylearnonline.com.au/courses/microsoft-word/”]Microsoft Word Course Contents[/button]
When applying for a job, there are perhaps only two things most job seekers pay any attention to – the impressiveness of their CV and whether their cover letter is equally impressive, which is fine; CVs do have to be impressive, after all. In fact, if you’re looking for tips on crafting a good CV or cover letter, try reading our posts on both topics – one from the horse’s mouth, well actually that of a recruiter, who shares tips on what will get your CV noticed and another outlines the vital importance of covering letters. But the truth is, many people are still sloppy when it comes to their CVs.
Making a Good, Nay, Great First Impression
When you’re applying for a job, you’ve got to put your best foot forward. Most people know this, which is why they spend hours toiling over their resumes and then spend more hours laboriously constructing sentences that are neither ambiguous, nor too forthright, either; lest it leave the recruiter or hiring manager without any questions that could be answered in an interview.
Once we’re asked to come in for an interview, we make sure to wear our fancy interview threads and our best attitude – in short, we turn on the best version of ourselves. It’s about first impressions, after all, and everyone knows this. It’s so basic that all these things serve to do is weed out the tyre-kickers from the real contenders.
A Tougher Market
But in today’s job market the number of real contenders have increased markedly, while opportunities have remained the same, if not decreased in the years since the GFC. Standing out from your competition requires something extra – it could be something like showing a commitment to continuing professional development by taking a short course like many students of our MYOB training courses have done.
It could also be something as simple as demonstrating attention to detail – an important attribute to have if you’re applying for a job as a bookkeeper or an administration assistant, one would assume. Certainly, if I’m looking to hire a new staff member and I’ve had piles of CVs delivered to my inbox from Seek or Gumtree, finicky things like the filename of a person’s CV are things I look at.
If I receive a resume from someone simply saved as “resume” it’s generally safe to say that this person shows little attention to detail. More often than not, I open the file to find something off – poor formatting, spelling mistakes, terrible grammar, and the like. Sometimes this isn’t the case, and I certainly wouldn’t disregard a perfectly good candidate over something like this, but I’ve still made a note of it.
Think of the Interviewer
But there are practical considerations to this, too. Often, I’ll want to forward a couple of CVs onto another staff member to get their input, usually mentioning which candidate I think seems promising in my email. But emailing several CVs all saved as “resume” means the recipient will have to open each file to see if it corresponds to the applicant I was referring to – kind of annoying, particularly for the time-strapped recruiter.
It also makes saving the files on my computer difficult; plus there’s the chance that I could accidentally overwrite your CV with another candidate’s because they each have the same filename. Consequently, you’re not getting a phone call about an interview. All that time you spent on your CV was just negated in less than two seconds when I accidentally clicked ‘yes’ in response to the “‘resume.doc’ already exists. Do you want to replace it?” warning.
Saving your CV with your name and the job title you’re applying for doesn’t just show your attention to detail, it also makes it easy for recruiters and hiring managers – who are often advertising for more than one position – to identify who you are and the job you’re applying for, giving you a much great shot at being called in for an interview.
Don’t risk your CV getting lost over something as simple as a filename – and if you’re not that attentive to detail, then start! It’s an important attribute to possess, because it means employers can trust that you’ll do your job right, which is why we’re hiring you in the first place. You might also consider getting some help writing your resume and learning how to use Microsoft Word to edit your resume if you need to. If you want to look at starting your own independent contracting business try the Small Business Management and StartUp Course.
There was once a time when saying the word “redundancy” in a workplace stirred much the same feelings as saying “Bomb!” in an airport. But today, as workplaces adapt and change to suit an ever-evolving marketplace, redundancies have become much more commonplace.
Adapt or Die.
Adapt or die. It’s true for businesses, and it’s certainly true for workers. That’s why we find many of our students come to EzyLearn to following a redundancy, taking our MYOB courses and Small Business Management courses to add to their knowledge base — and indeed, add an extra accomplishment under the “education” section of their CVs.
For more on CVs, see our post where we interview a recruiter to find out what makes a fabulous CV. Indeed, when we spoke to Fiona Neumann, recruitment specialist and director of Sydney-based recruitment agency, Skills Savvy, she told us that employees today could expect to be made redundant at least once in their career, if not twice. One young job seeker she interviewed for a position had been made redundant three times in almost as many years.
There was a time when to be made redundant reflected poorly on your skills, capabilities and desirability as an employee. Today, however, that’s no longer the case. In fact, there are many positive sides to being made redundant; we’re going to take a look at just some of them here:
1. Firstly, no one makes you redundant: this is an important thing to remember: you weren’t made redundant; your position was. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Accept that and go forth into the world of employment.
2. Why did you leave?: now when you’re asked that question during an interview with a prospective employer, you don’t have to try and romanticize or find the silver lining in the fact that you couldn’t stand working for your former employer a minute longer. Your position was made redundant. The business was restructuring, and there was cutback in your department. It happens. Employers get that.
3. It gives you the opportunity to do something new: it could be a new job, a new experience, or a new business startup, but with a redundancy payout comes the financial opportunity to do something new. In fact, it’s often after a redundancy that many people decide to go into business for themselves, as an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website last year found.
January is when we’re busiest processing enrolments in our MYOB courses, our Small Business Management courses and so on, and we’ve always been happy to be able to provide people with the training they need to make the career change they’ve been dreaming of. This January we also wanted to give you some advice on the two most dreaded aspects of applying for a new job: CVs and cover letters.
Fiona helped demystify the CV-writing process, which at one time or another has puzzled even the best of us. But in a job market where redundancies are almost commonplace, writing a CV is not just puzzling, it’s very often daunting, particularly for those people starting their career afresh.
Writing a Cover Letter Doesn’t Need to be Daunting!
But here’s the good news: it doesn’t need to be. Getting the job of your dreams has a lot to do with your ability to articulate yourself, which is where the cover letter comes into play.
It’s fair to say that many people see a cover letter as an afterthought; the way people see wrapping paper as the afterthought to a great gift. They spend all their time laboriously writing and fine-tuning their CV, to then put together a slap-dash covering letter just so that Seek will accept their job application.
Mistake. Big one.
Linking Back and Clarifying Your CV
Your cover letter is just as important as your CV. Aside from reinforcing all the information you’ve put into your CV, it shows that you didn’t mean to apply to some other job listed on Gumtree, and importantly, it allows you to show a recruiter or hiring manager why you’re suddenly looking to re-enter the workforce after several years of being out of it.
The key here is to be clear and concise. If you’ve been raising the kids for the last six years, write that. Don’t be vague and allude to something that could be interpreted as raising children or… being in prison.
But also don’t write a flowery vignette of your life. You need to show why you’re applying for the job you are; if it involves are change of field or industry, then explain why; why you’re qualified for the job, but not overqualified—this is important, because people that are overqualified are, to an employer, risky: you could get bored and leave, want more money than they can offer, or have difficulty with authority being that you’ve always been The Authority.
But remember: be clear and concise. And above all: don’t be bland. Recruiters read through hundreds of cover letters; they’re looking for the most qualified, most desirable person for the job. Don’t leave them wondering why you applied for the position you did. For some CV-writing help see this post; for help up-skilling, see the training courses we have on offer here.
If one of your resolutions was to find a new job this year, you’re probably not alone. Job seekers are most active during the early part of a new year, so if you’re planning on taking the next step in your career, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.
Our Small Business Management and MYOB Training courses are most popular this time of year because training courses up your skill-sets and are a key way of ensuring you’re a cut above the competition. However, that’s only as long as you’ve got your CV in front of the right people.
This makes the role of your CV an extremely important one; a lack lustre CV can often be a deal-breaker for a recruiter at the other end of an email address filling up with enough CVs to blanket Siberia — twice.
What Makes Your CV Stand Out?
So what’s going to make your CV the one recruiters and employers shortlist for an interview? We spoke to recruitment specialist and director of Skills Savvy, Fiona Neumann, to get some insight on design, whether or not everyone embellishes on their CV, and what you should put in the dreaded “special interests” section.
Q: What are some dos and don’ts when it comes to formatting, layout, design, etc? Some people think the more creative the CV, the better chance you’ll have of standing out from the pack – is this necessarily true?
Fiona: There is no rule of thumb on what you should or shouldn’t do. It really depends on the job you’re applying for. For example: If you are applying for a graphic designer role or another artistic role, then the recruiter will definitely be looking for a CV that stands out in a creative way. If it is a sales or service role then some candidates can be a little creative by adding their profile picture to the top of the CV. I personally like this, as long as it is a professional photo. This is a great way to stand out.
Q: Should your CV (and cover letter) show a bit of your personality, or is it safer to save that for the interview?
Fiona: I believe your personality comes through via your cover letter and your CV in subtle ways. When candidates place their photo at the top of their CV, this demonstrates that they are willing to put themselves out there and it shows confidence. The language a person uses also shows their personality. These are subtle ways. If your CV and cover letter is written in a way that articulates why you are the best person for the role then a recruiter will call you. A phone interview and a face-to-face interview is where the recruiter/hiring manager will see your personality.
Q: Embellishing your CV – does everyone really do it? And if so, where does that leave the honest jobseekers?
Fiona: Great question. No I don’t believe that everyone embellishes on their CV. Besides, a great recruiter is able to read between the lines and ask the candidate the right questions. The recruiter can then work out what is fact and what is fiction. A CV is important, but it is only one part of the recruitment process. If a person has written something on their CV then they will need to be able to answer questions during a phone interview or a face-to-face interview to back up their CV — and if they’ve embellished or lied in their CV, they probably won’t be able to answer the recruiter’s questions.
Q: Lastly, does any recruiter/employer really care that your interests include collecting antique teacups and reading crime novels?
Fiona: I personally like it [the special interests section], because you never know what the hiring manager may be looking for. Plus, including your interests does, in a subtle way, demonstrate personality, which helps recruiters and hiring managers determine whether you’d fit with the culture of an organisation. Take these two different examples of special interests: “I enjoy spending weekends with my family, going out for dinner and reading books,” and “I love to party, going to see live bands and watching Formula 1 racing.” There is no right or wrong answer, but you can see you are probably dealing with two completely different personalities, and while I would never discount someone based only on their special interests, it does tell me a little more about the person behind the CV.
Need a resume or want to start a home based business?
If you’re a jobseeker and you need to overhaul your LinkedIn profile, then some things to avoid:
Lying: Lie on your resume à la ex-Yahoo CEO, Scott Thomson, and you’re running the gamut of being found out at some point; lie on your LinkedIn profile and you will definitely get found out (either by a colleague or former employer), but lie on your CV and not your LinkedIn profile: now you’re not only a liar, you’re also a stupid one!
It’s simple: don’t lie. Ever.
Too many recommendations: if a prospective employer is scoping you out — perhaps to verify some of the claims in your CV or interview — and you don’t have any recommendations it’s likely they’ll consider you a dud networker, or worse: a dud employee.
To remedy this, send out a few recommendation requests. But don’t overdo it (when you’re job hunting, for example) — a slew of recommendations all at once makes it obvious you’re job hunting, which your current employer may not think too highly of.
Your job description is vague: maybe you think it’s mysterious, but vague or ambiguous statements in your job description is just plain elusive, and it makes you seem as though you’ve something to hide. Like maybe you’re not as fabulous as you let on you are.
The statement “assisted with the grand opening of a new store” could mean anything. For all we know, you could have put out the plastic cups people were drinking their complementary bubbles from. Instead, write what you actually did. No matter how small the task was.
No photo: this isn’t a beauty contest, nor is it the correct medium to post a picture of yourself drinking from a seven-foot beer bong. But the option to upload a picture is there for a reason.
A picture tells a thousand words and like it or not, visuals are important. If they weren’t, we’d never have to go for an actual job interview.
Ambiguous keywords: choose your keywords wisely; avoid overused buzzwords like “proven track record” or “team-player”. They may sound impressive (to you) but they really aren’t.
Instead of saying you have a proven track record in sales, show people what that proven track record was — if you pitched and won a multi-million dollar account for your company, say that. This turns an empty statement into a quantifiable accomplishment.