Win a Job Search

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 - Article, CV Tips, CV Writing, job search, tutorial


Job Search

Just Read the Advert at Least Four Times!

giant stack of resumes

Do I look like Superman? No, but why is it that I, and many other CV/resume writers get called superman – or Wonder Woman for our female more than equals – when none of us wear our red underwear outside our clothing?

Could it be, that all we did was win someone a Job Search who previously didn’t know why they haven’t been able to for the last three + months?

You see, we recruiters and CV/resume writers don’t see it as super-human during a Job Search not to be able to read, and with the materials given – your skills, qualifications and experiences which results in what an HR professional calls competencies – write an answer to the question posed by the Job Advert.

However, many people do. And further, they are hampered by the fact that looking in the mirror is probably the most difficult thing anyone can do. That’s why you either need a friend, a third party, or a CV/resume writer to help you get that perspective.

Employers need skills

Often when I first engage a candidate – either as a recruiter or a CV writer – I get a story:

  • I left my old job for (insert a reason)
  • I applied for new jobs, which on a majority I made it to interview
  • After three months, I widened my search
  • I don’t get to interviews any more
  • Oh and PS: the savings are running out

Well, here’s the background to most of those stories:

  • I left my old job for (insert a reason) – yeah I know, great reason!
  • I applied for new jobs, which on a majority I made it to interview – you wrote a CV/resume which was poorly constructed, but applied for jobs you were functionally qualified for. Hence, you got interviews. You probably were too ambitious, and got rejected because of that
  • After three months, I widened my search – you got too many rejections, hence your ego got realistic at the time your self confidence took a dive
  • I don’t get to interviews any more – because you still can’t write a great CV, but now apply for jobs you don’t have the competencies to do. Hence you sound depressed in your Cover Letters, and are not qualified to do any of the jobs
  • Oh and PS: the savings are running out – surprise! The average person has around enough savings on which to survive less than tow months. You cut out the Chablis, but cutting out water is proving more difficult – plus job hunting is not cheap

How to get a job

So what do we get them to do? For those who are in a three months plus stage of job hunting, it has gotten a bit routine – job hunting should be fun! Quite often they need to be perked up a bit, so we suggest they take their partner out for a meal, buy themselves some new clothes, or have a meeting with a coach. The test of the brief is – whatever floats your boat, just do it!

Once we have picked their spirits up a bit, we get them to write down all the experiences they have had – the job, the community work, and even stuff with the family. Good candidates keep diaries or write up monthly summaries of all the things they have done – like a professional engineer would, or a doctor in training. People who get rejected a lot don’t know what they have to offer an employer.

Now we write that down for them. That forms the experiences sections, the skills section, the qualifications section (yes, people forget they have degrees!), the interests section, etc.

There are only three pieces now to complete, to have a complete CV/resume suitable to apply for a job against an advert:

  • Their contact details – on which security is now the biggest issue
  • Their personal statement
  • The Cover Letter

Pick your job

It is now that the greatest error of the out of work candidate is revealed: the ability to read. So, I am going for free to give you a trick which should cost you a maximum of £1 or $1 to implement, to fix this problem for ever.

Go and buy yourself a highlighter pen! Now, when you:

  1. Read an advert of interest, cut it out of the newspaper or print it out
  2. With your pen highlight the skills, experiences and qualifications to do that job – the competencies
  3. Write each of these competencies down on a separate sheet of paper
  4. Once you have written your personal statement and Cover Letter, take out your highlighter pen again, and highlight in a draft copy of your Cover Letter and CV/Resume every single one of those competencies

That’s the minimum four times you have to read the advert! Now if you can’t find the competencies the employer requires, will you get rejected? Yes – but why?

Behind every job advert is around 100hrs of effort by a professional HR team, and £3,000/$4,500 of cost per post. The company decided that they needed new staff, built a business case, had it signed off, wrote and agreed a job description, and reduced that into a job advert. They then paid a recruiter or went to a newspaper classified desk or job board to post it. If it was your money or your time, and the person answering the question couldn’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that they had the whole set of skills: would you employ them? So as no is your answer, what do you think there’s will be?

Often the long term job seeker has a further opportunity. When they first started searching, they spent about two hours on each application. They read the advert, researched the company, and applied only for jobs on which they had the skills – but probably for positions that were a little bit better than their old job. Now as they have widened their search and got more desperate, the volume of potential jobs has got bigger and they spend less time on each – often less than 30minutes. As a result, they don’t check if they have the skills for that job, and so hence they are rejected. Feedback for employers like over qualified now come back from employers, but if you were an employer who just needed enthusiastic people, and you had a depressed candidate with a degree who hadn’t answered your job advert question, what would you say?

Getting a job

Getting a job is about:

  • In selecting the jobs you apply for – picking the jobs which your competencies show you can fit the functional requirements of
  • In your CV/resume and Cover Letter in response – communicating that your competencies match+ the jobs functional requirements, and showing that you could fit the team
  • In interview – communicating and showing in real example you can apply your competencies in the actual job, and showing you would fit into the team

You too could be a super hero, if you only you could read whilst looking in the mirror.

Good Luck!

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One Response to “Win a Job Search”

  1. resume writing company Says:

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing these tips.

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