“Write a letter explaining why this job is right for you” … wrong!!

Recruitment companies and departments often try to be clever when advertising a vacancy with a request like this, to go along with your CV/résumé. The truth is, though, they don’t actually mean it. What they really mean is, “write a covering letter explaining what you will contribute to our company.”

write a good covering letter for your job application HTWB

Make sure your covering letter is NOT just all about you, even if you think that’s what they want to see.

As long as you realise this, you can use this cover letter to gain the edge on other candidates who take that request literally. And what happens to them? Their letters come across as boastful, “me-me-me” documents that unwittingly make them look like they’re totally up themselves and only regard the job concerned as an opportunity to advance themselves. and that’s hardly what today’s employers are looking for.

Here’s how to gain that edge…
[Read more…]

Job seeker’s nightmare: what NOT to write in your CV/résumé

“Résumania” is a term coined by Mr. Robert Half, founder of RHI Consulting’s parent company, to describe the goofs that often appear on job candidates’ CVs/résumés, job applications and covering letters. Here are some examples (original authors unknown):

Job seeker's nightmare: what NOT to write in your CV/résumé“I perform my job with effortless efficiency, effectiveness, efficacy, and expertise.”  (And an eye on the “e” section of the dictionary, evidently.)

“Insufficient writing skills, thought processes have slowed down some. If I am not one of the best, I will look for another opportunity.”  (No problem …)

“Seek challenges that test my mind and body, since the two are usually inseparable.”  (Glad to hear it.)

“My compensation should be at least equal to my age.”  (And bonuses tied to his shoe size?)

“I am very detail-oreinted.”  (With the possible exception of spelling)

“I can play well with others.”  (We’ll be sure to tell your mommy.)

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“Married, eight children. Prefer frequent travel.”  (A new twist on work-family balance.)

Job seeker's nightmare: what NOT to write in your CV/résumé“Objection: To utilize my skills in sales.”  (Have you considered law school?)

“My salary requirement is $34 per year.”  (They say money isn’t everything.)

“Served as assistant sore manager.”  (Ouch.)

“Previous experience: Self-employed – a fiasco.”  (Definitely to the point.)

“I vow to fulfill the goals of the company as long as I live.”  (And they say loyalty is hard to come by.)

“Reason for leaving last job: Pushed aside so the vice-president’s girlfriend could steal my job.”  (We’re glad you’re not bitter.)

Now, let’s make sure what you write does  get you a job!

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

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How to land a good job with a totally insane application…

HTWB angry funnyThis is supposed to be an actual job application that a 65-year-old man submitted to a company in the UK. Apparently they hired him because he was so funny…. [Read more…]

The Write Way to Get a Job: don’t lie!

 

The Write Way to Get a JobWhatever you need to write about yourself in your job search, at all costs you must avoid lying to your recruiters and potential employers. Here are some handy hints to help you make sure your CV/résumé and other documentation show you in your best light without telling any untruths.

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

It is surprising how many lies are found on CVs / résumés.

Yes, it is important to make the most of your CV and to capitalise on the knowledge, skills and experience you have.  However, blatantly exaggerating and lying about the extent of your skills is a foolish thing to do.

Some indiscretions might improve your suitability and get you an interview; in fact you might even land the job. However, truth will always out in the end, and you are highly likely to be compromised at some point and have to admit that you are not as good as you claim to be or can not do what you are expected to do.

How will that look?

Honesty is always the best policy

Fabricated work histories, made-up responsibilities and even falsehoods about your employer (did you REALLY work for Lord Sugar or Donald Trump?) appear regularly on CVs. The fictional mention of being a prefect, captain or monitor at school may also not be the best representation of your abilities and will also contrive to put you on the back foot should you be questioned more closely at any stage of the recruitment process.

Making things up that you have not done and pretending you have achieved goals that are relevant to the job you are applying for might seem like a good idea since clearly the right experience and suitable skills are what the recruiters are looking for.  However, being called to account for misinformation results in heartache and more disappointment.

You might even get blacklisted.

Recruiters aren’t stupid

small__7793770020It is a bad idea and mind boggling that people continue to lie on their CVs when it is easy for recruiters to carry out some simple investigations and verify candidate’s claims.  OK, not all companies check every detail about their potential employees past history but it is possible to quickly discover sufficient information to oust the liar.

A candidate that has straight As at GCSE and A levels that works in a fast food outlet since leaving school will certainly be questioned in depth. Or most probably, because there is a lack of consistency, the application will be discarded.

In my book, “Get That Job”, I advocate that your CV is your very own marketing tool and that it is essential that you use it to present yourself in the best way possible.

So what’s the difference between boasting/bragging and self-promotion?

It is a big mistake to appear boastful throughout your CV.  A great many people make outrageous and pumped up claims in their CV that despite a realistic training and work history it is unbelievable that they have achieved the level they suggest they are at.

Prerequisite for many roles is the ability to use information technology. Would it surprise you to know that there are many augmented claims of IT prowess and program use?  When these are put to the test, the candidates fall foul and fall dramatically into the failure pit.

Watch you don’t contradict yourself

Whilst we are on the subject of untruths, how many of you read through your own CV and realise that you contradict yourself? You claim in one section to be, for example, an astute negotiator and in another you counter claim something else.  You might also detail your competency level in a language but your explanation and evidence is contrary.    

Recruiters also see CVs that list dates that overlap and raise questions about which date is correct and what the applicant was doing at that time.

Emphasising disinformation is clearly unacceptable and most inadvisable.

Don’t do it.

Let us know of your experiences in compiling a good CV for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

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The Write Way to Get a Job: don’t be boring

 

The Write Way to Get a JobWhatever you need to write about yourself in your job search, at all costs you must avoid boring your recruiters and potential employers. Here are some handy hints to help you make sure your CV/résumé and other documentation are interesting and lively.

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > and they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

This article is all about miscellaneous and irrelevant information that many CVs unnecessarily include.

Some of these misnomers are obvious, others obtuse but all of them affect your chances with the recruiter and weaken your case for finding your perfect job.

Emails

No doubt you are using email to send your CV or to register on specific online job sites. Your email address says a lot about you and can reflect your personality.  Many candidates have unprofessional email addresses for instance hotchick@playgirl.com or killer@thehouseofhorrors.co.uk which detract from your content and are unlikely to impress an employer. At the same time using a risqué, silly, comical or crude email address also means that spam filters kick in and you will end up in the trash folder.

One embarrassing error that occurs frequently is when candidates fire off emails with their CV attached, except instead of attaching their CV they send a different document.  An example seen recently was when a claimant’s letter to insurers was received instead of the CV.

Poor attention to detail sadly rears its ugly head again.

Common faux pas

If you send your CV as an attachment to a recruiter (especially if you are writing speculatively to them) there is a chance that PC virus and spam settings may flag the email up erroneously and send your email with the CV attached to a trash folder. This means that all your hard work and hopes will be dashed without you knowing anything further.

Mundane errors

  1. Lists are useful and serve a purpose in focusing your reader on your specific skills. However, duplicating skills lists in every section make dull reading and won’t make you stand out from other people with similar abilities.
  2. If you include too many facts in your work experience you risk overloading your reader and losing the relevance of your application.
  3. Writing in an informal way makes your application familiar and unprofessional.
  4. Not including keywords, alternative terms or abbreviations that would help your CV be found online.
  5. Using in-house or sector specific terminology within your CV narrows your chances of being short-listed.

Not enough information

Albeit that the advice is to have a maximum of a two-paged CV, some of you go too far and provide a very brief concise document that has no substance at all.

With little or no factual information it is nigh on impossible for the initial short-listing decision to be made and therefore no informed decision can be taken on your ability to do the job.

Additions and omissions

medium_4020584983Then there are the honest candidates that mention (and occasionally justify) low grades, degree awards or test scores; this is information that the recruiter does not necessarily need to know and again, may alter their perception of you.

Already mentioned earlier in this series of articles is the inclusion of hobbies and interests. Another serious oversight is including ineffective information, for example your interest in kite flying on your CV, and then forgetting that you have mentioned it.

Following the introduction of age discrimination legislation in October 2006 in the UK, it is no longer necessary to include your date of birth.

Unless you have been asked, and it is relevant to the role you are applying for, the state of your heath is of no particular interest to the reader of your CV.

Likewise your marital status and children’s details are irrelevant, adding no value to your CV and ability to undertake tasks at work.

Your UK National Insurance number is not required at this stage of a recruitment process and nor are full names and addresses of possible referees.

Remind yourself at all times why you have written your CV and what its purpose is.

Irrelevant information

Recently spotted howlers which have been seen on CVs.

**I am talk, dark and very good looking so when you meet me you will definitely employ me

**God fearing

**Please do not think that I have jumped from job to job from the 15 jobs listed.  I just get itchy feet and need change.

**Personal interests (man) – painting my toenails in varying colours

**Personal profile:

Height – 5ft 2″,
Weight – 10 stone,
Religion – catholic,
Colour hair – black,
Colour eyes – blue

**Qualifications: No education or experience.

**Marital Status: Unmarried Bachelor

**Interests: I enjoy driving around in my Lamborghini at the weekends

Let us know of your experiences in compiling a good CV for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

photo credit: amboo who? via photopin cc

The Write Way to Get a Job: avoidable CV goofs

 

The Write Way to Get a JobThere’s nothing like a quick reality check to pick up on any mistakes in your CV before you send it off. Here are some useful checkpoints that will remind you of your CV priorities and make sure you’re going along the right lines.

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > and they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

Here are some careless, miscellaneous but avoidable errors that can impact on your chances of being selected for interview are mentioned in this final chapter.

Hiding information
Sometimes it is the information that you do not disclose that sabotages your application.  Either you forget to mention it or you don’t highlight it.  You might have even hidden it.

Freshness
Gaps in your CV were mentioned previously but another serious omission is submitting a CV that is out of date.  There is no excuse for not submitting up-to-date information or for giving reasons why there is a blank period. Having a stale CV registered on a job site also critically reduces the options you have and how likely it is that you will be selected for interview.

What not to include

Salary
Mentioning your salary does nothing to enhance your success rate.

References
Adding full reference details to your CV is a no-no and not amusing when you use inappropriate referees, for example your friends or family members.

Jargon / abbreviations
You must bear in mind that it is likely that your CV will initially go to an HR Manager or recruiter, who may not have the industry knowledge or level of technical understanding that a Hiring Manager would have.   Littering your CV with industry jargon and many abbreviations will confuse the non-technical reader and ultimately do you no favors when it comes to short-listing.

Which brings me to the point that if your CV is written for a limited audience it will only attract a very small amount of attention.

Keep information to yourself

Seriously. For example, in most countries it is illegal for an interviewer to ask about marital status, sexual orientation, race or age so there is no reason to include it.

Saying why you left
Reasons why you want to change or you left your job create some little light reading for the recruiter. Look at these examples and see if you think they would improve your chances of reaching the short-listing stage…!!

small__5170970014 (1)I was fired because I told my boss I wanted to sleep with him

I have failed the last 4 accountancy exams that I have taken and so have decided to look for a job in a different field

I had an affair with my boss which went wrong, so I had to leave my current job

I have been working as an accountant for 5 years but I am very bored of it and am in need of a change

The pay was too low

I have worked for my Mom for 3 years, but it is now time for a change!

I have been out of work due to having my leg amputated, however, I am now recovered and looking for employment again.

Myths and Rules

So what is it to be?  Do you carry on as you always have? Design and write your CV making the same judgement errors and sabotaging your opportunities or do you learn from your mistakes?

However you answer remember it can take a lot to recover from deadly blunders on your CV.

Let us know of your experiences in compiling a good CV for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

photo credit: x-ray delta one via photopin cc

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