Sarah Williams of Sigmar Recruitment has advice about How to make your CV stand out from the crowd.
In a tough candidate market, where HR departments are overwhelmed by CVs, a common concern for jobseekers is how they can make their CV stand out from the hundreds of other applications.
1. Good base
All good CVs begin with a good structure. Employers spend about 20-30 seconds scanning your CV so you need to make sure it can be easily digested.
Resist the urge to cram everything into one page and have a layout that is broken down into appropriate sections, with a clear font, consistent formatting, and adequate white space. Use concise sentences and bullet points. This makes your CV easier to read and encourages you to only list the important points of your past experience.
2. The main ingredients - experience and achievements
A lot of candidates have a tendency to just state their duties and responsibilities when writing their CV without outlining their performance. You are not the only person applying for a job so how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
An employer not only wants to know you have got the necessary skills for the job but that you can add value to the role. So take a second and think about your current role, what has been your proudest achievement? What challenges have you had and what did you do to overcome them?
Aim to have at least two achievements - specific examples, rewards, performance to targets, or achievements in relation to others in your team.
Vague, general, CVs just don’t cut it. You need to target your CV to each job sought. Get your hands on the job description for the role you wish to apply for and then write your CV to suit this job description. It is crucial that your CV lists what is relevant and recent, or you lose the interest of an employer.
Apply the “so what” test to every line of your CV. If it is not mirroring a requirement of the job you are applying for, remove it. Irrelevant detail is a waste of space.
It may sound time consuming but making the effort to tailor your CV will greatly increase your chances of securing an interview.
4. Finishing touches
The biggest bug bear of employers and recruiters alike are spelling mistakes and typos. Spell check does not catch everything so make sure you proof read and get a second pair of eyes also. Nothing shows lack of attention to detail like spelling mistakes.
As well as checking spelling and grammar, make sure your employment dates match up and that you have provided the correct contact details.
Sigmar Jobs of the week
Manufacturing Engineer: classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123299
Process and Test Technicians: classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123300
Ronan O’Sullivan of Cpl Recruitment gives some tips about How best to use Google alerts to aid your job search
Firstly for those who are not aware what exactly Google alerts are - they are basicially a monitor of the web. You get e-mail notifications when Google finds new results on a topic you are interested in. It is therefore important to make sure you use an e-mail address which you check regularly. One can then opt to get a daily alert or real time alerts.
Ronan O’Sullivan says the first alert jobseekers should opt for is job announcements. This will show who is hiring and potentially what types of jobs are on offer. You can specify the types of articles you wish to receive so it is best to limit this to news articles.
Track the industry domain you are interested, in eg, medical devices. This gives you insights and news about the industry you are currently working in or wish to get a job in. This can be set as a once weekly alert.
Once you are aware of the industry you are interested in, you can track various brands such as Medtronic, Hewlett Packard etc.
This gives you an edge if you are in a position where you are called for an interview. Many people will just go to a corporate website to look for information about a company but this website may not be updated regularly. However if you are watching alerts you will have the latest up to date knowledge on a company. This will impress potential employers if the question arises as to what you know about the company.
A final tip is to use a website called glassdoor.com The site holds a growing database of six million company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews, and questions, etc.
Cpl Jobs of the week
Senior Software Sales Manager: classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123290
Regulatory Affairs Specialist: classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123291
Niall Toland of Hays Recruitment gives advice on How best to set up a LinkedIn page.
On average, your target audience will spend 2.7 seconds at most viewing your profile. Use these guidelines to help ensure you make the best impression possible. Niall Toland’s first piece of advice is to use a picture. “People respond better when they can see who you are, so it is importatnt to use an appropriate profile picture. Make sure you use a smart, corporate, photo of yourself - it needs to be a professional looking, and clear, head and shoulders shot.”
Other tips include;
- Ensure your professional headline is correct, as this is one of the first things people see. The headline should comprise keywords that are relevant to your role and specialism.
-Where possible, job titles, past and present, need to be optimised by including similar and relevant keywords in each title.
-Your summary needs to be written in a clear, informative and engaging way to ensure the target audience build up a quick, accurate, picture of you.
-It is important to add to your summary regularly, in order to ensure it is as up to date as possible.
-Optimise your summary using keywords. It is important that the most prominent words on your LinkedIn profile are also the most common words that your customers would use to find you on LinkedIn.
-Include your contact details at the end of your LinkedIn summary. Make it as easy as possible for your LinkedIn connections to contact you. Include your email address and telephone number if applicable.
-You can add up to 50 skills to your profile. Your LinkedIn connections can then choose to endorse you for these skills. This is a good way of demonstrating expertise in various areas.
-Your profile is like a CV, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will portray an unprofessional image of you. Proof read your profile and ask a colleague to do same.
Hays Job of the week
Accounts Assistant: classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123293
Recruitment Consultant: Galway; classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123301
Michelle Murphy of Collins McNicholas Recruitment and HR Services gives her view on How an applicant should negotiate a salary for a new position.
In an interview situation 99 per cent of employers will ask what is your current salary and what is your salary expectation. This is a question you need to be prepared for as it is vital to get the best deal possible.
Salary negotiations can be extremely tricky and it is essential both parties come away from the process feeling satisfied. The employer must feel he/she has got the best candidate for the job and value for money and the employee must think he/she has been fairly treated.
Michelle Murphy’s first tip is to leave the salary question until late on in the interview until you know the full details of the particular role. There may be additional responsibilities which were not outlined in the initial job description.
-Do not lie about your current salary, your new boss will find out the exact figure when he receives a P45 from former employment.
-It is not realistic to expect to get a major salary raise unless there is a lot of extra responsibility involved in the new role/ or it is a promotion to a higer rank. For example if you currently earn €30,000, do not expect to get €40,000.
-Give a ballpark figure as your expectation. For example if you are currently earning €50,000, say the mid 50s.
-Be familiar with the market range and what is the average salary for a particular role. This means you are well informed and do not over/under value yourself.
- If you feel the salary offered is too low, first look at the bigger picture. Are there any other bonuses/extras like pension or healthcare built into the offer? These may be automaticially worth a few thousand euro extra.
If you are still unhappy, it is extremely important not to be too hasty and turn down an offer. Do not be afraid to negogtiate with the employer. Ms Murphy says candidates must be realistic but if you think you are worth more money, outline the experience you feel you should be rewarded for, and ask if the employer can increase the offer.
The expert has some advice if negotiations are not going your way. “If the offer is not increased, see if the employer can meet you in the middle or if the salary can be re-assessed in six months, and get that built into the letter of offer. If you are the right candidate for the job, there may be some room to manoeuvre. However sometimes there will not be a budge and you will have to walk away from an offer. Do this amicably and graciously. Never burn any bridges. There may be oppurtunities within the same company in the future. Employers are always impressed with people who handle themselves well- whatever the outcome.”
Collins McNicholas Jobs of the week
Quality Engineer: www.classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123289
Manufacturing Engineer: www.classifieds.advertiser.ie/1123288