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Posts Tagged ‘job hunt campaign’

The profile on your CV – the box at the top that summarises you and what you offer – can be the hardest part of a CV to write. I’ve seen profiles that are chock full of adjectives telling me how wonderful the person is, how they’re good at team work and can work well without supervision, how they have great people skills and get on with people at all levels, that they’re hard-working and loyal.

The problem is, anyone can claim those kinds of generalised statements. So how do you make your profile stand out from the crowd?

One way is to focus on dimensions and credentials before you get to your personal qualities.

The profile is normally about 30-50 words.  Any more than that and the reader is likely to skim rather than read it. That’s about three sentences. Here’s what you can put in those sentences:

The first sentence should position you.  If you are applying for a job as a finance manager, then your first sentence should include the words ‘finance manager’ in it.  I have seen profiles that say ‘an [adjective] [adjective] person’.  Everyone is a person – that is not helping to say anything about you.

In addition to your role, you should include dimensions and credentials. Dimensions are factual or measurable things that get across the size and scope of  your job.  Credentials are recognition by others of your ability and performance.

Dimensions include:

  • number of years experience
  • industry, industry sector or type of organisation you have worked for
  • financials: budget, turnover, sales, income
  • number of employees, size of team
  • types of projects, areas of responsibility
  • specialist or technical skills

Credentials include:

  • professional qualifications
  • awards (company, industry, departmental …)
  • publications

So a first sentence might be: ‘A CIMA qualified finance manager with 12 years experience running the accounts department for a £4m t/o engineering company’.

Can you see how anyone reading that would immediately get a sense of the size of job the applicant is capable of?

The second sentence should include more dimensions and credentials.  If the CV is for a specific job then use the most relevant ones.  If the CV is a general one for an agency or job board, use the dimensions and credentials that get across the size of your job at its biggest.

If you have some major achievements, you can also start to edge one in here. For instance: ‘A successful software sales manager, with more than ten years experience selling [type of software] to blue chip and large public sector organisations. Turned around an under-performing sales team and increased sales by 340% in three years, to become number two in the market.’

The third sentence is where you can bring in your personal qualities. Think about what you are good at, what you get good marks on your appraisal for, what people say about you, what your strengths are. This is where to put them.

Try and make them specific rather than general.’Gets on well with people’ is general. ‘Gets on well with people at all levels from directors to shop floor’ is more specific.

Health warning: don’t make unsubstantiated claims.

You can either give evidence for your claim in the profile or in the rest of your CV.

‘Excellent customer relationship skills’ is an unsubstantiated claim. If you add a credential it becomes a fact: ‘Excellent customer relationship skills – won company-wide customer service award three times in 18 months’.

If you have made claims in your profile, you must provide evidence of them in the rest of your CV. If you claim ‘excellent people skills’, and don’t have any examples of people-skill related achievements in the body of your CV, then not only will your reader be less inclined to believe in your people skills, they may also discount the rest of your profile.

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Picture this: you’re out of work and you get up and go to your computer. You look on the job boards and you find a job that is absolutely made for you. You get an email saying that you’ve got an interview for a job you applied for last week. How do you feel? Elated? Optimistic? Full of the joys of spring?

Replay, a couple of weeks later. There’s nothing on the job boards that is even worth applying for. You’ve just had a ‘thanks but no thanks email’ from that interview. You haven’t got any other interviews lined up.  How do you feel? Deflated? Hopeless? Down in the dumps?

This boom and bust cycle is a common experience for full-time job hunters, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s the secret – it all depends on how you measure success.

Most people in this situation measure success by results – did I find some good leads,  get an interview, second interview, job?  The problem with these is that you don’t really have control over them, and they may be in short supply.

The alternative?  Measure success based on what you do have control over. Set yourself ‘input targets’.  For instance, this week I will:

  • contact three old colleagues
  • search  job sites for two hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • send off at least one application on Monday, Wednesday and Friday – the best of the bunch if nothing is perfect
  • attend one networking event
  • identify five companies in my field/area who I could approach directly
  • Find one new agency and set up a meeting/call with them
  • Approach five companies directly
  • go for a run three times a week
  • meet a contact or old colleague for lunch

These are just examples – you can come up with your own list. Check that it is doable – no point in setting yourself unachievable targets. Make sure that they are all things that you have control over.

Having set yourself some achievable targets, measure success by whether you do them. Keep a log. Tick them off. Give yourself gold stars.

At the end of the day, you can feel good because you have done everything you set out to do.

You are also making consistent progress towards getting a job. You put in the work regardless of the number of interviews you have lined up or rejection emails you have received. You will get there!

PS If you like this approach, you might like C J Hayden’s book ‘Get Hired Now

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