I have recently been focusing in a few posts to explain the basics of what is needed in good Professional CV Writing, and I think that the only way of doing this is walk you, the job seeker, backwards from the point in time that your CV hits the employer or recruiters desk(top).
When talking to job seekers, most seem to think that job search starts with writing a CV and getting some cation done, by applying for jobs via numerous job boards. Their questions are normally around the two core subjects of: what should my CV look like/does this look good; and secondly which job boards should I upload my CV to?
Let me as a Recruiter and Professional CV Writer take you through that route, and how you can create a compelling - and hence job getting - Professional CV.
Good CV Writing
We know from academic research, that has analyzed how employers and recruiters read job applications, that: one third read the first half page of your CV; one third read the Cover Letter (email); and one third read the whole job application all the way through. On this evidence alone, they then decide in the CV sift to either reject your job application or put it in the "more research" pile.
The conclusion is that if you don't communicate your value in both your Cover Letter and the first half page of your Professional CV, then you will be rejected. How do you ensure that this doesn't happen?
Researching the employer/hiring manager
To not get rejected, you need to have: read the job advert for the 5 to 8 key requirements of that job; and added to your job application by having researched that employer. Ideally, you will have networked your way into that employer, and checked the stated and soft requirements, hence placing you closer to the social fit requirements of that hiring manager, and ahead of the competition. How do you know that that is the right job for you?
The three ways to successfully apply for jobs
There are three core ways to successfully apply for jobs:
By researching who is hiring by watching for jobs in one of your 3 core job search sectors, and then applying via techniques that put you: ahead of the competition; closer to the hiring manager; beyond the meagre 12% acceptance ratio of the organizations jobs portal or chosen jobs board
- By choosing 50 target employers
- By target networking in your chosen sectors
- But how do you know which sectors are hiring?
Market testing the employment market place
Before starting out on any job search, you need to have tested the employment market place. You can have the world best set of skills, qualifications and experiences in sector X, but if: no one is hiring; they are not paying what you need; and the jobs that are recruiting are on the opposite side of the world; then you are not likely to apply, and the employer is highly likely to dismiss your job application!
Simply put, if you can find 50 suitable jobs in a target market (at maximum, you need three core target markets), then you can get employed in 30days or less.
Communicating your employer value
If you know what you want to do, then all you have to do to get employed is communicate that value to the target employer: it really is that simple! How do you do that? start with a Personal Statement, and then focus the skills, qualifications and experiences that support that statement in your Professional CV.
Where do you communicate that value? Ten years ago in the Millennium year, over 90% of job applications were received by paper: letter or fax. Now 90% are electronic, and the quickest growing sector of recruitment is employee referral. Hence much as though we in the CV Writing industry talk about CV writing, that's not really where the output needs to placed these days: on paper. Simply, you need to have your "professional CV" or what many are now calling your personal brand, on some key social media sites to be found by the growing number of employers, recruiters, and bonus incentivized employees looking for knowledgeable people like you.
What do you want to be doing (in 5 years time)
I have talked about this question before, and I will talk about it again, but the key answer any employer wants answering before they decide to hire you, is why you want to do that job for them? How do they answer this question: by having a recruitment process.
There are two key questions inside that recruitment process:
Why do you see this as your next ideal job? This answers the why you, and if you have thought through why that job/that company
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time? This answers the stick-a-ability question. How long are you likely to stick around in that job/with that organization?
As a CV Writer, often the first or second question I ask any potential customer is: What is it that you want to do next? Most often, the prospective CV Writing client will answer with one of two options:
"Well, isn't that obvious?"
"Well, I'd like to consider" and then they list everything possible under the sun.
While good CV Writing can be more effective in any job search, if you don't know what you want to do, then how can better writing ever make that more effective? If you don't answer this question before starting your job search, then it is fatally flawed from the start. I personally believe that lack of clarity in both what the job seeker wants to do and not testing the employment market place accounts for over half of failed and hence over 90day duration job searches.
What have you got to offer an employer?
From 14 year old school children to 90 year old grandmothers, everyone has something to offer a potential employer. The only questions then are:
What have you got: skills, qualifications and experiences, known to the HR professionals as competencies
How you communicate it
Who is hiring those competencies?
When you start noting down these SQE competencies, it is also important to note down when you were happiest in work, and why. 35% of all employees leave their existing job because they didn't get on with their management team, not because they didn't like that job.
Employment is not difficult. The problem is that its the process of getting employed which is forgotten, and the fear of long term unemployment which drives job seekers to write Professional CV's which cover all potential jobs that they could undertake. The problem this creates is that when your Professional CV hits the employers desk, they are the forced to search for those 5 to 8 SQE that they seek: if they can't find them, then you are rejected.
Employment is simple. If you:
- Know what you have: SQE competencies
- Know what you want
- Can communicate that value: via CV and Social Media
- Know that at least 50 target jobs exist
Then employment is possible in under 30days. If you can't complete these simple steps, and recognize that the key to employment is engaging the employer, then the result will be long term unemployment.
If you are experiencing high rates of job application, and few or no telephone interviews - less than 1 interview per 10 job applications - its time to get some help from a Professional CV Writer.
Ian R McAllister is the founder of a UK group focused on recruitment and employment in skills-short professional employment sectors, presently covering IT, telecoms and project management. The group also provides job applicant information and services via a series of online resources, providing Professional CV Writers via their website at CV4.biz
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