Navigate the job application process

A traditional CV and the cover letter are the only parts of the job application process over which you have full control. Even this is being diminished when you apply on-line with standardised response boxes and limited word counts. No matter what the format, it is vital that you invest your time and energy in getting it right 1. There is no such thing as one definitive CV or cover letter: have a good final draft of each but it is essential to tailor what you send off to match the demands of each specific job application /employer. 2. The CV and cover letter are marketing tools: be sure to present your best experiences using positive language and don’t be shy about detailing your relevant skills and competencies. 3. Be concise and make every word count: it is demanding to write something that is both meaningful and compact but do focus on this to get the best result. With on-line applications, be sure to respect word count...

Write a cover letter to go with your CV

In these days of on-line applications and e-mail, you may think that a cover letter is no longer important. This is NOT the case although it is fair to say that cover letters now come in various formats, of which the traditional letter is only one; it may be an e-mail to which you attach your CV, an e-mail to which you attach a cover letter and a CV or it may be on-line application which offers you the opportunity to write some sort of equivalent to the cover letter in part of the standard form. Treat them all seriously, giving due care and attention to what you say and how you say it. The cover letter (or equivalent) is important for a number of reasons; it is often the first thing the person at the other end reads; it allows you to “sell” yourself and say why you are applying; it sets the tone for the CV it introduces. As with the CV, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all cover letter”. Here are the most important things to watch out for: Make sure all address /addressee details are accurate and that the date is correct. Write no more than one page and pay attention to layout and eye-appeal. Provide your contact information clearly. Refer in first paragraph to the title of the position you are applying for and if appropriate where you saw the position advertised. Carefully compose a couple of sentences that highlight your core skills and competences, choosing ones that reflect back what you can see in the job description. Write...

First steps to a brilliant CV

“If you call failures experiments, you can put them in your resumé and claim them as achievements.” Mason Cooley It may be easy to be a bit cynical sometimes about the true value of a good resumé but CV’s really do count. They provide your future employer with the information they need on your competences and achievements and are the stepping stone to that all-important interview. Most people assume that a simple “historical” CV will suffice – that is a list of where you have worked and when, with a few bullet points under each job position starting “Responsible for…”. Wrong! What you need in today’s competitive market is something more sophisticated that allows you to sell yourself by focusing on your skills, competences and achievements as well as providing (in overview format) the historical information on your previous employment and educational background. This is known as a “functional CV”. You’ll find the tips and templates in many places on the Internet and in books but here is a link to a great website we like called Business Balls with useful resources. We summarise for you the most important things to watch out for: Aim for something that is nor more than two pages long. Start with a concise and punchy personal profile. Select 3 or 4 achievements or competences that you want to illustrate and under each one;briefly describe the situation and task related to the achievement or competence; state what the objective of the task was; describe the action you took; don’t be shy about saying what a great result you got. Build in positive “power” words;...

CV’s with visual impact

When someone opens an envelope or looks at your files on their PC, what they see in front of them delivers an impression of you as a potential employee or colleague. Before they even get to reading the content, the visual attractiveness of your documents ( or lack thereof) will lead them to begin formulating an opinion about you. You need to take care of the look and style of your CV to make sure it is attractive and easy to read. Here are our top tips: Impact at outset: Start with your name (in bold text, 20 pts) and your personal details can be “boxed” underneath and in a smaller size. You do not need to use “Currriculum Vitae” or “CV “as a heading. To photo or not to photo: Opinions vary on the inclusion of photographs (there are advantages and disadvantages) but if you do use a photo, make sure it is professional in tone and style and that the resolution is suitable. Make good use of headings: Separate out sections, highlight key information and differentiate different types of information by consistent use of bold, italic styles or a slightly larger font height. Underlining looks messy. Font style: Choose one font that is simple, clear and readable.  Sans Serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Trebuchet MS work nicely. Take care with Serif fonts such as Times New Roman – they can sometimes look old-fashioned and a bit complicated. Font size: Select a font size that ensures ease of reading but balances this with compactness.  Making things smaller may help you to hit the target of a two-page...