CV or not CV.. that is the question

CV-funny

If you’re originally from the states like I am, then you will know that the CV is known as the  résumé in this instance. Let’s face it.. the title would have been difficult to create… what really rhyme’s with  résumé  anyway?

ré·su·mé

or re·su·me or re·su·mé  (rĕz′o͝o-mā′, rĕz′o͝o-mā′)

n.

1. A brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application.
2. A summary: a résumé of the facts of the case.

Okay, now down to the nitty-gritty….

“This above all: to thine own self be true” what a wonderful quote(Thanks Will!) This is what you should be portraying in your CV.  A CV as you may or may not know, should be a “snapshot” of who you are today with a frame suited to what you are currently seeking. (e.g. goals, roles etc) Apologies, but for some reason I cannot stop rhyming!

If you’re like me and have perfected a CV,  you know that it takes a lot of time, effort and thought.  (almost as much as the actual interview preparation takes) Yet, for some reason, many employers and companies  ask that you complete an application to make it easier for them to read or score.  I do understand the reason behind this but disagree that the CV should completely be eliminated. It’s almost like asking someone to cover their phone calls at work… even though they use and answer the phone, they don’t specifically answer someone else’s. They have the knowledge and confidence with their calls or in this case, their CV, which is a personal and professional presentation.

There is also very little CV preparation and guidance support from educational institutions, which needs to change. I’ve received numerous CV’s from applicants during my career from under 30’s that were so poor, I was almost tempted to fix them all to give them a chance at securing an interview.  We live in a competitive world these days and how you present yourself on paper is quite important. Although…. I’d be curious to conduct a test without the need for a CV and invite someone in who calls and asks for an interview because they want a job doing what we’re advertising.  Hmmmmm

LinkedIn is also a good way of showcasing your professional background and if an applicant has recommendations included, “wallah” instant reference’s! Genius! How many employer’s today use LinkedIn to recruit?  Perhaps a lot more than a couple of years ago.

So I ask you the question again…. CV or not CV?

By the way, I have included a pretty good CV-template-2015, for those that need one.  Just doing my bit to help.

As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.

Hands-on

Interview with a graduate

My mission today is simple…. to help showcase a talented young person’s quest for success and communicate to the public how challenging it is for the youths of today to secure their future.

In order to make this real, I chose to interview a promising soon-to-be graduate (Caroline),who will leave University this summer with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism and enter our world as an independent adult professional.  Caroline has dreams… BIG ones I might add and as we spoke I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “I’m glad I grew up during the time that I did”.

Caroline is really passionate about helping other peers benefit from what she has learned too….  so let the interview begin!

Hands-on: Caroline, “what are your dreams and aspirations”?

Caroline: “I’d like to be a reporter for network or regional TV news like the BBC and have a particular interest in crime reporting and covering police investigations”.  “I also enjoy the travelling aspect of the job and would LOVE the opportunity to gain some experience as a news correspondent in the United States”.

Hands-on: “What do you feel are your biggest challenges”?

Caroline: “Well, my voice or rather my local Northern accent is probably number one on my list and I’m working hard on that”. “My other challenges would have to be the transition from young adult to professional, gaining trust and respect in my chosen field and getting rid of the stigma attached to the term student or recent graduate”.

Hands-on: “Caroline, what would you say are the pros and cons of your chosen industry”?

Caroline: Pro’s would be:

  • Variety of work, meeting different people from high-profile to local resident and even criminals in some cases
  • Providing a necessary service
  • The thrill and excitement of capturing a new story

Cons:

  • It’s not very well paid, considering the heavy workload
  • Being away from home a lot
  • People tend to stereotype and avoid the press

Hands-on: “What would you change to provide more graduates with an opportunity?

Caroline: “The government should provide better support for graduates”. “At the end of the day, I’ve invested in my career and future and would like to get paid back for my investment”.  “There also should be more opportunities for lesser skilled people, who don’t have the means to go to university or the experience to get a good job”.

Hands-on: “What would your message be to potential employer’s”?

Caroline: “I’ve studied non-stop, have taken the time to develop my work experience profile and I’m willing to work hard and learn as much as I can to prove that I am worthy of an opportunity”.

Hands-on: “Do you have any tips for your peers”?

Caroline: ” Yes, make sure that your work experience is based on your field of study and not just retail jobs for cash”. If your CV shows that you are passionate about your chosen study field, you’ll probably have a better chance at getting a job when you graduate”.  “Also, networking online and offline and keeping in touch with previous employer’s raises your profile and may open up other opportunities”.

Caroline: “Always be polite and courteous, regardless of the type of company you’re dealing with”.

Thanks Caroline, with your dreams in tact and a determination to succeed, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we wish you all the best for the future!

Secret recipe.. or is it?

As a job candidate, have you ever been told that you have too much experience?

There is no such thing as too much experience however; there are still some employer’s who are providing this feedback following an interview.  They might not use those exact words however; it could go something like this: “We felt that although you definitely met the criteria and we really liked you,  this role is below your level of expertise”.

What that says to the person applying is this: “After taking the time to apply, prepare and research your company, you do not believe that I’m serious about wanting this job”.

The employer may be thinking:

  1. This candidate won’t be full-filled in their role and leave if a better offer comes along
  2. They could be a threat to my job
  3. We’ll need to increase their wages sooner than the average candidate

The employer is entitled to think and feel that way, but having not given the right person a chance is a darn shame.

The truth is, the candidate is  disappointed because they never had the opportunity to prove that they could be an asset to the company.  Their confidence has probably taken a knock at this point too, for what they believed was a “perfect match” for them.   The best advice I can give is, keep going and believe in yourself … the right opportunity will come a long.

What can the candidate do to change  this outcome?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Clearly explain in your CV and/or application WHY you want the role including your reason for applying for a lower level position
  • Pace yourself and don’t be overly confident
  • If there’s an opportunity to pitch your position during the interview, do it
  • Thank them for their time and reiterate that you would be delighted to have the opportunity to join their company if successful

There are no guarantees with these suggestions, but they can only help.

Now back to the employer…. what they’re looking for is pretty clear within their person specification and guidelines but what they really need to take into consideration are these qualities and traits:

  • Positive attitude
  • Enthusiasm
  • Knowledge of the company and role
  • Previous core skills and experience
  • Will they fit into the company’s culture (This is very important)

I am a strong believer in corporate culture and finding the right fit for employer and employee.  The way to do this during an interview is to allow the candidate to openly “sell themselves” by asking the right questions.  Sorry to say that I do not believe in scoring sheets to interview people. Scoring should be reserved for games and this is not a game.. it’s your company’s future success and the candidate’s lively hood at stake.

Do you have a secret recipe for recruiting the right person?  I’d love to hear your techniques.

Thanks for reading,

Nancy