Ten Tips to make your CV work for you!!
provided by Tom O'Neil of www.cv.co.nz

Tip One

Your CV is your brochure - It must sell your skills, achievements and experience to the reader!

Companies spend millions of dollars to create professional brochures that market their products to their target markets.  Your CV is your brochure - It must sell you to employers as a travel brochure sells you to travel to Sydney!

It must highlight the key points that meet the employer's requirements!

It must be brief, but have enough information to sell you (I.e. 2-4 pages)

Tip Two

Quantify your achievements and what you can offer - For example imagine if Tiger Woods wrote his resume stating:
 Occupation:     Golfer
 Responsibilities:  Hit ball
   Hit ball again
   Tap ball lightly
   Tap ball into hole

- this would not sell him to potential employers!!!  It does not demonstrate his immense value and achievements that stem from this seemingly mundane activity!

Tip Three

Tailor the CV to the role! - It is pointless marketing yourself to an employer, if you are not meeting the requirements of what they are seeking in an employee.  When a top tailor makes a suit for a client, they take measurements to ensure it will fit the client perfectly.  Therefore remember to always tailor your whole approach for the position you are applying.  This will significantly increase your chances for reaching the interview stage.

I.e. You want to ensure that the key aspects and keywords in the advertisement or position description are ‘mirrored’ in everything you send and do!  If an advertisement states that an employer is seeking an “honest and focused individual”, you could state that you are a “person with integrity, who focuses on setting and achieving business goals”. 

Tip Four

Cheak yoru speling!!! - Nothing says I am unprofessional more than "I am always sure to ot the Is and cross the Ts." (Yes this really happened in a CV sent to me!)

Tip Five

Make it look nice.  Search on the internet and seek out some cool templates, but remember to not use too much colour or generally speaking pictures (unless it's of your work).

Tip Six

Audit your message presence and email

Check your personal voicemail message and your email address

 A poor email address can destroy any chance you have with employment.  Anything sexual (sexyboy123@hotmail), too personality driven (funkyfunchick@hotmail) or stupid (just_a_mess_81@hotmail) is a NO GO!

If you want to have a fun address, make sure you also set up a work only email too so you can check this periodically during your job hunt.

Your mobile / home voicemail can also be totally unsuitable for job hunting.  Check this to ensure it is also professional.

Tip Seven

Audit your internet presence

Check your personal websites

Recent statistics state that approximately 25% of employers check online site such as Bebo, Facebook, MySpace etc. prior to making an employment offer.

Tip Eight

Get proactive and knock on doors (both figuratively and literally)

Statistics state that less than 25 per cent of all vacancies are ever advertised.   This leaves the field wide open for those who are prepared to do a little more than scan the jobs vacant websites.

Make a list of key companies you would like to work for and approach them directly or use a specialised recruiter (such as Attwood Cozens for Accounting)

This may include firms close to where you live, because many small / medium companies like to employ local people. Or take your pick of the top firms in your field of interest and contact them directly or encourage your recruitment agent to be proactive.  Good recruiters will do this automatically, working with you to maximise your opportunities.

This approach to job hunting is called "cold calling" and it puts candidates in the driving seat.  You scan the employment market - rather than the job market - and directly approach the firms you want to work for yourself, or get your recruiter to do this for you.  However it takes a lot of initiative and determination.

Tip Nine

Spend time and be professional in your record keeping

All your hard work may well be lost however if you do not take a disciplined approach to record keeping.  It is vital to know where you sent all your applications to, and when. If you are dealing with recruitment agencies, keep control of your CV - make a note of who is sending your CV to which employer and make sure they give you feedback on progress.

The recruiter / HR person will assume that you work like you job hunt.  Therefore if you seem to be disorganized or not proactive, they will see your skills in the same light.

Tip Ten

Use your own personal and business networks to spread the word!

Surprisingly most people in New Zealand know each other through probably 3-5 degrees of separation.

Therefore ensure your networks know that you are seeking a new position.

People trust their friends, therefore if you are referred to an employer by a friend, you come with a higher level of trust than others who just come of the street!

Some networks are obvious, some less so, they can include:

  • Schools
  • Clubs
  • Church
  • Toastmasters
  • Rotary/BNI/Lions
  • Local employers
  • Past employers
  • Dog training

Tom O’Neil is Managing Director of CV.CO.NZ (NZ) Limited and is a leading international career specialist and contributor in CV preparation and career achievement to various global career guides and software packages. Contact him at tom@cv.co.nz or www.cv.co.nz


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