Free CV Review Online – the “CRO”

Hey, perhaps you’re interested in a free CV review online because you just want to make sure? You want to know that you’ve built your CV ‘proper’ and it’s gonna work?!

Okay, so if that’s what you need, great! It’s a good idea to consider the following points – you’ll find more tools and detail over here, but these are the foundation principles as a quick-check.

I call it the “CRO” – use it you’ll have to eat it!

Here’s Your Free CV Review Online:

Review each point. Compare your CV. Learn. Adapt.

1 Keep it short – 2 pages perhaps? Short is confident. Short is easy to read and absorb. Chop older experience, summarise it.

2 Name it with your sought job title: “Joe Soap – Sales Rep Achieves Targets”. Yes, add some zing! Or just “Jack Soap – Senior Accountant”. Clear focus is important to the reader.

3 Be relevant. Immediately. State clearly at the top what job you fill, what your profession is. State your credibility immediately: years of experience, key qualifications, key outcomes you achieve. The reader must immediately see where you fit in.

4 Under your job history, use an easily recognizable and understandable job title. Give a quick 2 line summary of what you cared for and what outcomes you were responsible for.

5 Don’t include long lists of ‘duties and responsibilities’. Make it 3 or 4 lines only. Concentrate it on critical items only.

6 Be very sure to focus on how you fixed things, what goals you achieved, what problems you solved. “Here was the problem / here’s what I did to solve it / here’s the result we got.” Be specific, include statistics!

7 Eliminate long paragraphs. Chop them down to 2 or 3 lines at the most. These are more easily digestible. Easier to read.

8 Did your CEO, MD or senior manager say: “Joe (you!) does great work, he really made a difference!” Include that quote in the CV! A CV must build trust. This is one way to do it.

9 Have you made any stupid mistakes?? Spelling? Grammar? Do your best to clean things up. It shows something about you.

10 Keep focus on recent work. Start with your latest position.

How did you do on your free CV review online, here at wowcv.net?

Still confused, unsure about your CV? This stuff can really make you tear your hair out!! If you’re still struggling, send your CV to me, perhaps we can have a chat about ways to improve?

Also see the dedicated page: CV Check Online for more details on all of the above. Hope this helps!

-Gerard
gerard@wowcv.net

PS ALSO link with me on Facebook: www.FB.com/kickassjobsearch

 

Quick Idea to ‘Kickass’ Your CV

Quick idea to ‘kickass’ your CV: Include as many statistics as you can.

Numbers get attention. It’s human psychology, it loves numbers. Why?

  1. they catch the eye, add interest;
  2. give a sense of “this person measures performance… they are focused on getting great results, fixing things”;
  3. they build trust, you make yourself stand out.

WHAT TO DO WITH THIS: look at your CV, at your last job – any stats?? You don’t have to make a science of it. But for e.g. if you sped up a process significantly, don’t say “significantly”, that’s weak. Rather say, “by 75%” (it’s a geuss-timate, but that’s okay as long as it’s more or less true.)

Share this with someone who needs it.

More ideas here: www.facebook.com/kickassjobsearch

A Great CV, in a Nutshell. 3 Points.

Just wrote this to a prospective client in Australia:

My philosophy regarding CVs is to present you as a ‘solution’. So instead of early focus on ‘personal details’ and then career history, focus is squarely on where you fit into an organisation and what you can be trusted to achieve.

The rest of the CV then backs that central theme up, providing statistics, facts, details, even what your Managers / Directors / Colleagues say about your work (good stuff only, of course!)

I keep it brief. Info must be easy to scan and absorb. An employer must see, not just another job hunter, but a solution, someone poised to come in and deliver a definite set of outcomes & benefits.

What would you add?

Warning to my CV Writing Clients

Just amended my CV Writing Service info. Added this…

+++++++

WARNING: MY SERVICE MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU!

This is for your protection. And mine.

If you’re looking for a traditional / old-school CV – 10 (or even 5!) pages long, a cover page with a clip-art image of two people shaking hands on it with your name in big bold type and enveloped in scrolls … if you’re looking for a CV that begins with your “Personal Details” followed by your “Secondary School Details” … a CV that has long lists of your “Duties and Responsibilities” … then let me be clear, my service is NOT for you.

However … IF you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone a little, if you feel it’s time to ‘push the envelope’ in your efforts to market yourself, if you’re willing to take a bolder, fresher, more to the point approach in which you distinguish yourself (in a competitive and cluttered job market, not a bad idea!); IF you view yourself as a ‘business’; IF you want to present yourself as a ‘business solution’ to a company (whether you’re a PA or CEO) in just 2 or 3 pages (international standard)…

… THEN you’re the kind of person I LOVE dealing with. You’re the
reason I do what I do. And together we’ll get great results.

+++++++

Really, no-one (no employer) wants long. No-one wants boring. No-one wants long lists. They want hard-hitting value. Relevant to their needs.

If your CV focuses strongly on your best achievements, your best qualifications & skills, your best qualities AND translates them clearly into value / benefits for the employer…

THEN adding long lists of minutae is unlikely to do anything other than bloat & confuse and fragment attention of the reader. You want a few main points (your best), hammered home hard. If a few points (your best) – hammered home hard – don’t make the impact you need, NO list of minute details is gonna help.

Combatting Job Hunt Stress & Overwhelm (and how I lost the skin off my feet)

Are you the kind of job hunter who – like me – struggles to focus on anything but the problem at hand. Do you get overwhelmed by the job hunt … you’re anxious … everything suffers – health, relationships, kids, personal growth, sleep?

And this at a time when you really need to be at your best. To be strong, confident, bold, bright. (For job interviews, etc)

Keeping yourself ‘together’ during a challenge is hard. It’s easy to feel like this one problem has taken over one’s life. But one has to realise that you’re better equipped to cope and to smash the problem when you’re feeling strong, together.

A few years ago there was a show on TV called EcoChallenge. It was created by the Survivor guy, Mark Burnett. Basically teams of 4 race cross country, on foot mostly, to an end point. It takes elite teams 3 or 4 days, others it takes 10 days.

In one race, 2 teams were neck-and-neck. One stopped to sleep, just for an hour or two. The other didn’t. It made all the difference. While the non-sleep team stumbled around exhausted toward the end of the race, the other team quietly & steadily overtook them. And won.

The lesson? There are certain things that keep us as humans, ‘together’. Sleep, good nutrition, exercise, positive relationships, positive thoughts (an incomplete list). When we neglect them, we pay! Performance suffers. Results suffer. We suffer.

So, pay attention to this stuff. Plan your week. Keep timeslots open for walks, exercise; eat healthy; take time to think of the good things in your life; be kind.

Just this week I’ve added a new resource to the Get a Job Fast programme. It’s called “6 Secrets to Staying Strong when Facing the Job Hunting Fire.” When you join for just R75 you get it as well as a bunch of good guidance aimed at helping you ‘get a job fast.’

[If you want to become a member, you can download the application form here: www.careerandsuccess.info; or if you’d like me to e-mail it to you, I’m at gerard@careerandsuccess.info.]

Personal thought of the week:

Made a huge mistake yesterday. My daughter (11) and I have been running, and I’ve been running barefoot (there’s a whole barefoot running trend and I figured it’d help my squash and toughen up my feet since I’m in the office all day).

But yesterday was around 30 degrees C. It was 5pm. The road was hot. But I didn’t think much about it. So now I have these massive flaps of loose skin / blisters on my feet. My wife says it’s what I deserve for being so stupid. Maybe she’s right. The lesson: I’ll learn from my mistake. The painful lesson is useful.

In a job hunt often we make the same mistakes over and over. Like thinking recruiters/agencies are really interested in us. It’s not a mistake to use them. It’s a mistake to have that strategy as your MAIN strategy. You’ll get burned.

Share your thoughts here:

www.fb.com/gerardlerouxonline

This Could be Your Edge in a Cluttered Job Market

Perhaps this could be the “edge” you’re looking for in your job search. The thing that differentiates you from the crowd.

With it you’ll make a better impression. You’ll help yourself stand out. You’ll show that you’re not just a qualification + skills – you have the spirit, attitude and mindset to produce more, to achieve more, to be of more value in a business.

What is it? Learning.

On the one hand, it can be a R150 000 MBA. On the other hand it can be a free online course or just a book.

Here are some ideas that can be free (and ideas on how to use them):

* You read a book. Think library, 2nd hand bookshop, or $0.00 ebooks from Amazon.com – read them on your Kindle for Android / mobile phone or Kindle for PC – both free.

* You read a book, then write a blog post about what you learned. Your blog is free, hosted at wordpress.com, you have a link to it in your CV and on your LinkedIn.com page.

* You read a book, then develop a “5 Step” strategy to apply what you learn in your work environment, you track the results. You put it in your CV – “My 5 Step Strategy for Motivating People”

This way you SHOW an employer you’re not just a backside on an expensive ergonomicly correct seat. You’re there to make a difference. To help produce results. To help the enterprise improve.

[Many, many of my CV writing clients say they read books. Some say, “I read 5 business books every month.” Okay. Good. But what have you learned? What have you applied? What have you put to work? What results have come as a result? What difference has it made to your performance, to your value to your employer, to your value as a little one-man business?

Everybody’s read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. But what’s more interesting is this: how has it made you more effective, more efficient, more valuable?]

  • You can take a free course, like full diploma courses on www.alison.com
  • You can read blogs of experts in your field of work. You can comment & participate.
  • You can read trade/industry magazines. You notice trends. You have an opinion.

Learning does not = university, college, certificates only. It’s an approach to life. An attitude. It reveals a person who always wants to improve. And when what’s learned is APPLIED (put to work in achieving measurable results), then it becomes a major differentiator  in your job search (iow: it makes you look better than other applicants, set to land more job interviews, more job offers.)

Learning can make the older look young and fresh. And can make the young look wise. And not just “look”, rather actually be: “young and fresh” and “wise”.

Note: within my member’s only website – Career and Success –  is a Library of books and guides, on career and improvement topics (including “Think and Grow Rich.”)

The main program of learning in it is “Get a Job Fast”.  Becoming a member is R75. Go to here to get the application form:  www.careerandsuccess.info.

How to Hack Back at Job Market Intimidation

Intimidation is a major roadblock to success in the job market. It hacks you down. Keeps you down. Here’s how it works: because of it … you don’t. Yes because someone, somewhere said something or gave you a look that instilled fear in you, you don’t. You don’t do the things you need to do to get that job fast.

  • You don’t take action.
  • You fear looking “unprofessional”.
  • You fear that “that’s not how it’s done.”
  • You don’t take the bold steps.
  • You don’t confidently (but with due humility) explain your achievements: “30% growth in 6 months, 8 new accounts”.
  • You feel that because you have no degree, you’re worthless.
  • You conclude that because you did just an ‘average’ job – which you may have – you don’t have a place, you can’t be bold.

Because a personnel agency treated you poorly, perhaps were rude or uncomplimentary about your work history and qualifications … you start doubting yourself.

Because a friend said: “You can’t do that!?” (when you mentioned your plan to set up a meeting with a local business leader to explain how you could improve an aspect of his/her business) … you hesitate and then you just don’t do it.

Because the HR Officer was abrupt, aloof and quick to point out your faults … you don’t follow up on your plan to start out the follow-up interview for Admin Manager with this: “Before we start, I’ve prepared a 3 minute presentation: “The 3 biggest admin department melt-downs I’ve solved, and how this may help your business, Jones & Jones.”

You get blocked by fear. You take a conservative approach. You play it safe. You’re passive. You sit and wait instead of ‘going and fetching’. You hope things will happen, instead of making them happen. Who are these people who can make us feel this way? You allow them to of course, but also:

  • That HR person who’s aloof. Maybe she’s just insecure. Or longing to be in another job, perhaps to be a lawyer or accountant. But he’s stuck with people. Yuck.
  • Or that friend who says: “you can’t do that!” Are they the one unemployed? Or are they rather speaking from their safe little space where all is well for now? Will they pay your bills?
  • Or the personnel agent who’s rude. Maybe they’re just stressed over that sales target they’re not making. Or maybe the guy’s wife wears the pants at home and this is his chance to feel powerful.

Should we be intimidated by these people? No. Hack back. If you have a valuable skill – even it it’s just average – then some business, somewhere, will hire you. If you can provide a benefit then offer it confidently, persistently, creatively. Many will say “no” to you. Some may even make you feel intimidated. But in the end someone will say, “Wow, you’ve come just at the right time! When can you start?”

[Note: this is why I’ve added on a Support Group to my member’s-only “Get a Job Fast” programme. So if you become a member of my CareerAndSuccess.info ‘inner circle’ site (now a R75.00 no-brainer) then you can also join the Support Group where you can keep a positive vibe going on. Where you can improve your efforts and engage with others who are applying what they learn. Go to www.careerandsuccess.info for the application form (bottom of the page). Or e-mail me for it.]

Thought of the week: Ethan (my son, Grade 3) comes home with 45 mins homework. And he moans. So I sat with him to do it. We were done in under 10 mins. We made it fast and fun. Makes one wonder what – as adults – we could do if we just had the right guidance, mentor, coach? (BTW, this guy specializes in helping: www.siekin.co.za)

2 Approaches to Writing a CV, Inspired by Seth Godin

Your CV is a pretty critical document. It goes ahead of you. It tells a story. It influences. It persuades. It gets you found. But your CV can be the opposite of all that too. It can be a powerless.

Here’s one idea inspired by Seth Godin (marketing guru)  to make an improvement.

Seth Godin wrote a few days back about 2 approaches to marketing. One is where you say to the customer: “What do you want?” And then give it to them. The other is: “Here’s what I have for you. Choose.”

Which is best? He used the analogy of a restaurant to explain.

Say you go to a restaurant. And instead of offering you a menu, they ask, “what would you like?” As – amazing – as that sounds, actually, for me, that wouldn’t be that great. It requires too much thinking. Suddenly when faced with all that choice, the offer isn’t that compelling, I’m not sure what to do. I hesitate.

Instead restaurants offer a menu. Like this (droool!):

  • Black Forest Double Chocolate Cake – decadent, rich chocolate cake packed with brandy soaked cherries.
  • Peach Melba – Peaches sautéed in rum over vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries and sauce.

Yes, droool! So the choice is limited. But, man, it catches the imagination. So much better than, “what would you like?”

So when job hunting, with your CV, in job interviews, what’s your approach? Do you …

1) Present your experience, qualifications and then say, “what do you think, can I do something for you?”

Or do you …

2) Present a small number of really exciting benefits / results you can deliver – backed up with examples:

    • how as an Administrator you implemented a process that sped up customer service by 50%;
    • how as an Engineer your idea for a new design / product led to an 37% increase in sales so that the division exceeded budget by 23% in the 1st year and by 63% the 2nd year;
    • how because of your organizational abilities as a PA, your boss has never missed a flight or mislaid a single document;
    • how because of your relationship building skill, as a Sales Rep you’ve often won new accounts away from the competition (even though your prices are higher).

Is your CV a ‘menu’ of benefits to the employer? Quicker service; increased sales; total reliability; business growth? Or is it a list of personal details, duties and responsibilities – hoping that the employer will – somehow?? – get turned on by it enough to pick up the phone to call you.

[It’s this kind of ‘entrepreneurial’ thinking I teach within my member’s only INNER CIRCLE called Career & Success. It’s cheap to join. Go here: www.careerandsuccess.info]

Q&A On Following Up with Employment Agencies

Q&A from a reader regarding following up with a recruitment agency. Here’s the question:

“Dear Gerard: I got an email from an agent just before Christmas saying that they had sent my CV to a client whom they would make a follow up with week beginning the 13th of January 2014. They have not been in touch with me since. Should I call them?”

Here’s my answer:

Hi [Reader]. There are 2 things you should know:
1) Agencies are notorious for just never getting back to you – sometimes with valid and often with poor reasons. So you should absolutely follow up with them. Badger them. If they made a promise you are within your rights to follow up. In a cluttered job market you can’t leave these things to chance.
2) You should however also manage your expectations. Don’t expect too much from agencies. Most often you won’t even get an interview. It’s just a fact. So definitely follow up… BUT … you also should never be waiting for them to make a move, never rely solely on them to make things happen in your job search. You have to be proactive in finding work for yourself. Using agencies should be only one means by which you search.
[Note: there’s a lot more on alternative job search methods – some of them are so simple and clever – in my member’s only and very low cost members only site, see more here: www.careerandsuccess.info]

What Your CV Needs to do For You to Be Taken Seriously – 9 Specific Things

Background: someone sent me their CV for review. It was written by a recruitment agency. The individual is looking to make a career change from the military to private sector. This is entirely do-able, but the CV really needs to ‘hit’ hard for them. Here’s my answer to her:

For an employer reviewing your CV, really, they must:

… see benefit to themselves, they must see that you have skills they need, they must see that you are someone who can work hard and well for them, that you can provide the benefit they need, and more.

So, you want to highlight things you’ve achieved –

  1. how you’ve reduced backlogs,
  2. how you’ve worked with difficult people successfully,
  3. how you’ve provided accurate, on-time services,
  4. how you’ve kept an organized, up-to-date office,
  5. how you’ve ensured compliance to regulations,
  6. how you’ve done the work of 2 people (saving money, etc),
  7. how you’ve streamlined processes (again, saving resources),
  8. how you’ve learned new things quickly, etc, etc.
  9. You want to show people have trusted you with much and you’ve delivered, on-target, on-time.

All of this needs to be highlighted and detailed in various ways in the CV in order to get attention and to be taken seriously. If all you have is a list of “duties”, you could be in trouble.

(Recruitment people often have no idea of what a CV can be, they just use the same old approach, one that they’ve been using for the last 40 years.)