Yesterday it was John Clegg’s turn to present for the seminar series.
If you don’t know John he’s the guy with the brilliant idea to have the a CreativeHQ Summer of Code. This time the subject matter was super practical. Topic of the seminar was born out of dismay at the state of our interns CV’s and a belief that that a sensational CV is the edge in getting a good job. To help us with this challenge John shares some learnings from readings lots of resumes and a book by Bill and Michael Faust called ‘Pitch Yourself.’
Today, there a number of challenges in facing a candidates. One, job seekers face “automated bots”. Popular work-places like Amazon, Ebay and Google, your automated programmes to screen potential candidates. Second, your may have to pass a number of gatekeepers to reach the right person. And finally, its important to remember “who you know is as important as what you know” to get a job!
The main focus of your CV is to get an interview.
Most CV’s tell the potential employer about who you are, where you have been and what you have done, but do they show what you are good at? John emphasises that most critical component is often missing from most CV’s. To find out the employer has to interview you to find this out. What an employer really wants to know is “What can you can do for me?”.
What people really want to see in a CV is your core skills and competencies ie. who you are, why you are who you are, how you got there and why you can do it again. ie. Skills => results => how you did it => The real you!
It is important to realise that you have around 30 seconds to impress a potential employer. So you need to make sure the most important information is on the first page of your cv. Every cv needs to be adapted for every job. In this way, you can show the most relevant skills for the job. The basic cv layout should contain your contact details, a ‘personal promise’ and around four to five technical skills. Each skill should have 2-3 examples why you are good at this skill and how you have used it in your career history. All other information like University grades and technical skills should be included on other pages.
Us Kiwis are sometimes a bit humble when it comes to what we are good at. Well newsflash boys, you need to find out what you are good at. An approach John suggests in determining how your behaviours translate into skills is to take an approach that breaks down your work experience into four categories; objectives, analysis, actions and results.
And once you have the CV sorted, John suggests that you to be smart about the interview. Make sure that ask questions and provide good answers. The biggest problem he comes across is candidates who give one word answers to open ended questions.
At the end of the seminar, John provided an example how you promote your self in an interview. A developer was applying for a job at an internet company. At the end of interview the company asked, “Do you have any questions?” The guy said “Actually, I have got a presentation on how you can improve your website”. The presentation blew them away. The result ? They said, “Can you start tomorrow?”
Finally here are some general tips for your resume:
* Do you homework in a potential company, so you can tailor the cv appropriately.
* What you leave out is just as important as what you put in.
* Always save your CV as a PDF
* Make sure your formating is good, so that it prints ok.
* Take time to meet potential team members. Remember you could be spending a lot of time working at this place. Use every opportunity to find out more about your potential company.
* Don’t feel pressured to take a job offer. Take some time to decide if the job is right for you