CAREER ZONE

CV ADVICE

It has never been more important to have a CV that really sells you and your competencies. With recruiters receiving much higher volumes of CVs it is really important that yours stands out from the crowd and Temple Recruitment can help you do this.

Having a CV that sells you from the first few lines is vital. The presentation and content needs to grip the reader in the very first few moments.

When most people start thinking about pulling together a CV, they usually concentrate on the content of the CV. What they are going to say and what they are going to highlight as being important, but they rarely think about how they are going to say it and what the recruiter really wants to see.

When it comes to CV writing; structure, layout and content are all very important factors to consider. But it is the words, phrases and terminology that highlight how well you can communicate, and this has a huge influence on recruiters.

It is important to remember that your CV is your primary marketing tool. You use it to sell yourself to potential employers. Your CV needs to offer a high level summary of you, it needs to detail some of your core competencies and it needs to highlight explicitly your achievements in previous roles. Most importantly it needs to be aligned with the role you are seeking.

It doesn’t matter if you are a graduate or senior executive you need a CV that sells your unique talents to the audience that you want to impress.

JOB SEEKING

Using an Agency

Most Agencies work on the same principle – they get vacancies from clients looking for employee’s and find candidates with the skills and experience to fill these vacancies. The client with the vacancy pays the fee, and the candidate has no financial outlay or penalty. What changes is the standard of service, the specialism of the Agency, and the tools they use to deliver their service.

The best way of using Agencies is to select 2-3 agencies with a reputation of professionalism and integrity, that don’t have the same vacancies and who seem to work in a style you find innovative.

Then simply build a relationship with them – create genuine relationships that are built on respect and trust.

If you are successful in achieving this you will never have to proactively job hunt again. You will be in demand for vacancies that meet your skills set and experience.

Use the internet

Job-boards like http://www.irishjobs.ie/, http://www.findajob.ie/, http://www.jobs.ie/, http://www.monster.ie/ and http://www.bestjobs.ie/ allow you to search hundreds of roles by industry, location, salary and/or job type. You can also register with these sites to receive daily emails listing jobs that match your specified criteria.

Read a newspaper and/or trade publication

Yes, it’s a more traditional way to find a job but national and local newspapers can still be good source of advertised vacancies – particularly if you are subscribed to online overseas versions in the location you are looking to work. They are also an excellent resource for finding out news and information about companies you’d like to work for, as well as industry news – you can then use this information to target career pages directly on company websites.

Using New Media

Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular mediums of advertising for companies. Friends sharing links and job postings is a strong referral network and gets the word out very quickly. It’s a great way of being in there with the first applications.

Similarly, professional networking sites such as Linkedin and Xing are not only a great place to find out industry news, and connect directly with organisations but they are also becoming a valuable tool used in the job search process by companies and by agencies. An online profile of some description is fast becoming a must have.

Use your network

Networking is not just for executives. You can enlist the help of family members, friends and colleagues to keep a lookout for opportunities that match your skills and interests, as well as introducing you to people that can help with your job search. Personal referrals when you apply for jobs are rated very highly too.

APPLYING FOR JOBS

Every application you make should be tailored specifically to the job you are applying for. Candidates often use CV’s as a lazy job application – so it doesn’t take much to make your CV stand out.

Here are Temple Recruitment's top tips:

  • Read the job advert or job description and ensure you meet the essential criteria. If you meet the criteria, ensure your CV includes all of the essential criteria. For example if the ad says you must have experience in using Excel Spreadsheets, it is not enough to say you have ‘excellent IT skills’. You must ensure your CV says the words “Excel Spreadsheets”. If you don't meet the essential criteria you are unlikely to get a response to your application.
  • If the companies you have worked for are overseas, include the type of company/industry it is or a link to the company website.
  • Do not make your CV a copy of a past job description. Potential employers and recruitment agents do not want to know what your job description says. Often your list of duties will not tell us about projects you have become involved in, mentoring you have carried out to assist new colleagues or what your role is within a wider team.
  • Prioritise your duties to ensure the items from the essential criteria are near the top of the job information.
  • As well as wanting to know what you actually do, we want to know how well you do it. Think about your achievements in current and past positions and include them on your CV. If you won an award or were employee of the month 5 times include it. If you were top sales person, consistently achieved 120% of target or even if you were asked to contribute to a project because you were an expert in a particular area put that on there too.
  • Remember that things in your personal interests and experiences can be beneficial to an application too. For example if you traveled the world for a year and funded it by doing things like picking fruit from 5am to 12 midday for 6 days per week – it isn’t the experience you gained picking fruit that is the selling point.
  • It’s the fortitude you've shown making your own way, the commitment in getting up each day before dawn, the fact you are prepared for hard work (in this case physically), that you have the courage and communication skills to get jobs in 10 countries in 12 months, and that you experienced those cultures.
  • Be upfront and honest. For example if you have gaps in your employment, don’t try to hide them.
  • Include a cover letter with your CV that simply regurgitates the criteria you meet that is on the advert or job description. This can be in simple bullet form, or a short paragraph. It should not be another version of your CV – it should just have enough information to make the reader review your CV immediately.

APPLICATION FORM TIPS

Most employers require applicants to complete an application form. These come in many shapes and sizes but the information being looked for is basically the same.

Before you start

Planning is important. Make sure you read the instructions on the form carefully. If it asks you to put the information in a certain order then make sure you do.

Here are some tips on filling in application forms:

  • Always check the instructions for filling in the application form - for example: whether you have to write in capitals or fill in the form in black ink only
  • Spell the name of the company correctly
  • Prepare a draft of the application form and then transfer the information to the actual form - if you’re filling it in by hand
  • Read over the job advert again and make sure the information you include on the form is relevant
  • Answer all questions and fill in all the boxes
  • If there are gaps in your employment history say what you were doing during that time - for example: bringing up your children or voluntary work
  • Include skills that you have developed outside school / work
  • Ask a friend or relative to check your application form before you send it

Online Application Forms

If the form is online it may be a good idea to draft it offline first e.g. In a word processing package like Word and save this on your computer. This way you'll be able to run a spell check before you copy the info into the online system. It also means you'll have a back-up if there's a problem with the form.

Many sites allow you to store your application online which will let you review or edit your application if required. If you need a username or password to access the site it will be very important to record these in a safe place for future reference.

You may be allowed to use one form for multiple job applications. If this is the case you should update relevant parts of the application form to highlight your skills / experience to each specific post.

Online forms can be longer and more complicated than paper forms – follow the instructions carefully and check how many screens you have to fill in before you can submit your application. If necessary, copy all the questions into an offline document – that way there’s no danger of submitting an incomplete application.

INTERVIEW TIPS

These top interview tips will help you cover everything you need to know to succeed at job interviews. From checking out the company to sending an interview thank you note, these job interview tips cover all the basics needed for interviewing success.

Check Out the Company

How much do you know about the company that just contacted you to schedule an interview? It should be plenty, and all the information you need is available online. Here are tips on how to research a company, get the inside scoop on the company culture, and use connections who can help you get an interview advantage.

Visit the Company Website

Visit the company website, review the company mission statement and company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you're interested in. You'll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. Take a look at your interviewer's profile to get insight into

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Dress for Interview Success

The first impression you make on a potential employer can make a big difference. The first judgement an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That's why it's always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.

Use Social Media

Check Facebook and Twitter. Become a Fan of the company on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. You'll find information you may not have found otherwise.

Google and Google News

Search both Google and Google News for the company name.

Improve Your Interview Technique

A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and what you do is going to either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention

A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and what you do is going to either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention. It doesn't take much to make an impression - good or bad. If you haven't taken time to dress appropriately or if you say the "wrong" thing, it will be over.

Take the time to prepare your interview technique including knowing what's on your resume, being able to present why you are qualified for the job, why you are interested in the company, and practicing staying calm and focused. It's important to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when he first meets you is the one that is going to last.

Know the Facts

I've been surprised when applicants weren't able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis at their job. Review your work history - and make sure what you say matches what's on your resume. Take the time to learn about the company and about the job you're applying for.

What You Don't Say

What you don't say can - and will - be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Too much perfume or not enough deodorant won't help either. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could be done with your candidacy before you even say a word.

What You Do Say

Your verbal communications are important. Don't use slang. Speak clearly and definitely. If you need to think about a response to an interview question, that's fine. It's better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Practice answering some interview questions so you're comfortable responding the basics.

Listen

It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It's stressful and you're in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. That said, if you do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.

Prepare for a Phone Interview

While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment's notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk. Review these tips for advice on how to pull off your phone interview without a hitch.

Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.
While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment's notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.

Be Prepared to Interview

Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.

  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it's at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  • Turn call-waiting off so your call isn't interrupted.
  • If the time isn't convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
  • Clear the room - evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV.
  • Close the door.
  • Unless you're sure your cell phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static on the line.
    Practice Interviewing

Talking on the phone isn't as easy as it seems. I've always found it's helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work. You'll be able to hear your "ums" and "uhs" and "okays" and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Also rehearse answers to those typical questions you'll be asked.

During the Phone Interview

  • Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
  • Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Use the person's title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
  • Don't interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time - it's perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short answers.
  • Remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.

After the Interview:

Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.

Remember to say "thank you." Follow with a thank you note which reiterates your interest in the job.

Practice Interviewing

Taking the time to review typical interview questions you will probably be asked during a job interview will help give you a framework for your responses and will help calm your frazzled nerves, because you won't be scrambling for an answer while you're in the interview hot seat. Practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time and it will be much easier when you're actually in a job interview.

Take the Time to Say Thank You

Taking the time to say thank you after a job interview not only is good interview etiquette, it reinforces your interest in the position. Use your thank you letter, as well, to address any issues and concerns that came up during the interview.