Bright Ideas for CV Content if You’re Starting Out In Your Career

What would you do?

Situation: you’re a volunteer paramedic/trainee, still quite junior, only with basic training, for the last year or so. How can you land a permanent job? (ACTUALLY this is a common scenario with many junior job seekers, so this is for you too.)

What can you do to improve your CV?

Some ideas:

  • Collect and add testimonials from your supervisor, your colleagues, even patients – collect positive comments such as: “Ranti is a positive, skilled, hard working professional.” “Ranti can handle pressure well.” “If there’s a crisis, I’d want Ranti by my side, for sure.”
[If your performance isn’t up to this standard, then work on it. Get it there. Be that great person that everyone likes to work with.]

  • Continue learning – go to the library and read 1 medical book every month. Make notes on it – what did you learn from it, what can you apply in your job. The book could be about first aid, survival, actual medical practice, or even biographies of anyone connected with the medical or emergency field. Put this list of books in your CV. It’ll show how committed you are.
  • Take any opportunity to learn something new – either via a course, or when you work with someone more qualified than you. Learn something, then include it in your CV.
  • Keep a log of incidents you’ve worked on, like a diary. At the end of every day, write a brief description of what you experienced that day, include locations, times, dates. Explain the situation and then explain what your role was in assisting. Put this log in your CV – well, perhaps only include the biggest events (maybe a collection of 10). This again will show thoroughness and passion on your part.
If you’re serious about building a career – in any field – apply this approach. And when you include this stuff in  your CV, you’ll be taken much more seriously, you’ll perform better in interviews, you’ll learn more, you’ll make yourself more valuable to an employer, you’ll seldom struggle to land a job.
Guaranteed.

9 Ideas to “Fire” up Your Job Search or Career

Too often we wait. We give up. We make excuses.

As a result we remain stuck. In our “lousy job”, in an “impossible” job market, or in an “unfair” country.

But imagine if you do some of this stuff below – only takes a few minutes – how would your life / job search / career change?

[This is inspired by a post on Seth Godin’s blog today.]

 Send a handwritten and personal thank you note to a … Colleague, interviewer, networking contact, previous employer for giving you a good reference.

Write a blog post about your job, the products you work with, how you’re improving … If you sell copiers shouldn’t you be an expert? Why not have a blog? If you’re a PA, why not share what makes you a great PA on your blog? Write about how you helped someone at work, a client, a colleague, what problems you’ve helped solve?

Research and post a short article about how something in your industry works … Job hunters: what about researching and doing a 1 page write-up on a special challenge facing the industry you’re in, your thoughts/research on what could help. Imagine leaving that with an employer after an interview as an impression maker.

 Read the first three chapters of a business or other how-to book … Or just one chapter, and ask, how can I apply this NOW in my job? Brainstorm it, take definite steps to apply it.

 Take a map, draw a 5 km radius circle around where you live. Make it a mission to discover – over the next month, every company that you could perhaps work for within that area. Make a list. Use Google Places / Local.

 Toss aside your CV. Write a half page mini CV for yourself. Hand it out. Post it up on my FB page, get comments and input. www.fb.com/gerardlerouxonline

 Arrange 5 interviews in the next week with anyone you know – actually sit down with them, present who you are, what you do … make it professional, quick, slick and ultra well organized … and ask: “considering what I’m looking for, who do you know that could be of help to me in getting where I want to be?” Make another 5 such appointments. Fill your diary.

 Set a few definite goals and take action – lose weight, get fit, clean up the house, paint a room, tackle something biggish. Be busy, feel productive, have something to be proud of.

 Go for a ten minute walk and come back with at least five written ideas on how to improve what you offer the world … Or just think of what value you offer the world … put it in words, what difference do you make?

 So, what do you think? Action saves us. Action gets results. Action inspires a positive spirit. Action impresses others. Actions make us feel good. Action motivates us. We get hired because we’re people of action, busy getting ourselves unstuck.

Have you done something like the above made a big difference? Share it with me on Facebook: www.fb.com/gerardlerouxonline

Food for Thought:

What new thing are you building? What new approach are you using? What are you experimenting with? What bold thing are you trying? How are you trying to make things better?

Oh, and know anyone who needs more straight talk like this on their job hunt: Get my free course here, just send an e-mail to 12jss@getresponse.com. It’s the best help they’ll get. For nothing.

1 Idea to Make Your CV More Exciting

Do you think of a CV as exciting? Interesting? Absorbing?

Here’s an idea to help you make your CV more exciting – to employers, even recruiters. And if it’s more exciting, it’ll get more attention. And with more attention likely come more job interviews, more and better job offers.

 Are You Trapped on This Road to Nowhere?

So, do you think of a CV as exciting? Probably not. And especially if you’re in accounts, admin, finance, law or engineering. Even IT. Yawn! And yawn again!

And yet … in a hectic, busy, cluttered, crowded job market, we expect to send out a 5 page CV full of technical detail about our “duties” and “responsibilities” and expect it to be read?

Yes, recruiters get faced with CVs containing sometimes identical bulleted lists (if they’re lucky) of duties. No-one seems to be putting their hand up and saying: “Hey, I’m your guy!” Instead they give 5 pages of bland, repetitious detail and effectively say to the recruiter or hiring company:

 “I could be the one, I could be special, but I’m not going to tell you why or how – in fact I’m not even sure why or how myself – so here’s 5 pages, maybe you can figure it out.”

It’s a road to nowhere.

 1 Idea Can Turn You Around

Now, just because you’re in Finance (or law or engineering, etc) doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Money isn’t boring. You get hired not because you can “do” auditing, accounting, engineering, legal stuff or admin etc. – BUT – because you do it well, you provide a benefit, you improve things, you’re a doer, a results getter.

You’re a cog in a money making machine: you get clean audits, you save money, you eliminate risks, you eliminate backlogs, you provide quality financial data to the CEO, you build bridges on-time and on-budget, you prevent law suits, you make sure invoices go out on time, you make sure money is collected.

This is exciting stuff to a business owner who needs it. So …

  •  If you streamlined the dept from 12 people to 6 and increased productivity – people need to know
  • If you recovered R2m from SARS last year – people need to know
  • If you set up BI systems that have improved data availability from 4 weeks to ‘real time’ – people need to know.
  • If you improved on-time invoice send outs from 74% to 96% – people need to know
  • If you improved collections, reducing 120 day accounts by 73%, say so, people need to know

Not coming out and saying that in a crisp way, not putting these facts in the spotlight in your CV helps no-one.

Metrics … figures … tangible results … these are the things that make a CV exciting to an employer. And to a recruiter they mean that they have the ammunition to sell you with. Spotlight them. Feature them. Highlight them.

Food for Thought:

 “Success comes from focus. Winners focus. Losers spray.” Steve Chandler

My 7 year old son, Ethan dropped his Lego pirate ship this morning. He was upset. Inconsolably. But he managed to focus, and before long had rebuilt it. And even better one. With 8 cannons! Focus is cool.

Join me on Facebook: www.fb.com/gerardlerouxonline.

What’s Your Personal Brand?

A personal brand is a valuable asset in your job search and career.

Brainstorm this – it should be the thing you ‘shout’ loudest in your CV and in an interview (and when you do you have employers saying: “hey, this is the kind of guy to get on board.”

Personal Brand Questions

  • What are you known for?
  • What do people consistently say about your work?
  • What’s your ‘trademark’ contribution to a team?
  • What threads (quality, nature, money, time value of your work) run through your career?
  • In your department or even industry – why are you a good person to have on board?
  • Why is a team better off with you around?

Spend some time on this. It’s really what it all – getting hired – revolves around. Your personal brand defines the benefits you bring to a business. Your personal brand encapsulates what you bring to the party. Your personal brand is what makes you special, what advantage you deliver.

Then figure out how you can tell more people your message. And how you can incorporate it into your existing CV, resume, cover letters, interviews.

2 Magic Job Search Stories

Hi, let me tell you 2 quick – magic – little stories. And a lesson.

Stefan did it. Brent did it. Both out of work and running out of cash, they did what they knew would work to change their situation. They took a streetfighter approach. They knocked on doors. Yes. They rocked up at businesses unannounced, presented themselves as useful and asked for a job.

Both got jobs within days. Almost like magic in a tight market. Stefan’s job came with a brand new Quashqai. Brent’s job was within a 5min drive from home.

It takes guts. BUT when last did you take a streetfighter approach? Neither Stefan or Brent went to the Internet. Neither spoke to agencies. They just said to themselves: who could use someone like me? who would I like to work for? what can I offer them? And then the took immediate action.

So, when last did you make a list of businesses in your area that you’d like to work for?

And have you formulated a message to tell them?

An Example

Here’s an example:

“Hi, my name is Thabo. I’m an NDip Engineering graduate … I can calculate how much steel you need in that new bridge you’re building, I can do the CAD drawings, I can check your drawings for mistakes, I can double check your calculations, I can go on site and measure up, I can carry the tools, I can watch the sub-contractor — what would you like me to do? When can I start? Take me on for a week free. If I’m good – I will be – we can talk about pay.”

It may not work on the first try, but let me tell you this, by the time Thabo shows up for the 4th week running – well dressed, confident, willing, organized – eventually he’ll have more job offers than he knows what to do with.

OR we can sit behind our PC applying for jobs online, sending CVs into the air. But easy often doesn’t cut it and it leaves us feeling uncertain.

For this kind of ‘streetfighter’ approach I recommend a “Guerrilla” CV – it’s usually one page, it’s designed for quick, powerful impact when meeting people and for handing out to your contacts. Let me know if you’d like to know more. I specialise in writing them – I’m the only one in SA that does.

Food for Thought:

“Light the fire, don’t warm yourself by it. What you are being, the stand you take in life, creates what you’re experiencing. Not the other way around like 98% of all people think.” Werner Erhard

I’m here for you.

Gerard le Roux
CV Writer | Job Search Coach
gerard@jobsearching.co.za
www.wowCV.net | www.careerandsuccess.info
Ph 083 7445454

Ways I can assist you:
Writing strategic personal and business CVs / resumes / cover letters / profiles (with the aim of getting more job interviews, more job offers) (www.wowcv.net)
My coaching ‘inner circle, “Career & Success” (www.careerandsuccess.info) (helping people achieve their job search, career and personal goals)

Before You Choose a CV Writer, Read This

A CV writer could change your luck. Here are 4 critical criteria to use when choosing one – from Gerard le Roux, a CV writer and advertising copywriter with 20 000 hours of CV writing experience.

[Contact me here: gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za, or call me on +27 83 744 5454 – it’s my personal number. Before calling, please make sure you’re serious about getting professional help.]

4 Criteria for Choosing a Good CV Writer

Must be a salesman. You are a product, a service, a business. Your market is employers. So if you’re a business, do you have a sales department? Who’s selling you? Who’s your Rep? Who’s in PR? Who’s out there selling for you? And it is a sale. The employer has a need. You have a solution. But in a competitive market you better be good at sales.

Or have someone in your corner who is.

Must be able to sell with words. Many CV writers think the secret is in the English, the grammar, the spelling. And sure, that’s all important. But let me tell you a secret. Employers and recruiters are looking, desperately, for good people. They make a lot of money from them.

Is a little typo going to make them bury you? Not if you’re presenting yourself with power and effect. Not if you’re hitting the right buttons. Not if you make a compelling case. And to get that right, you need someone who can string the words together in a way that’s persuasive.

You better have someone in your corner who can do that.

Must take a personal approach. You are unique. You need someone who’ll listen and work with you on your ‘marketing message.’ Someone who will put a positive spin on your experience (not just type the words into a pretty format.) And someone who understands what it the ‘heck’ it is you do.

You’d better have a CV writer can do that.

Must have a big imagination. Why?! Because let’s be real, you may have been in Admin for 20 years. You may not have won any awards. You may have just been ‘reliable Suzie’ in Accounts. And that’s okay! But even so, your CV needs to stand out. It needs to sell you. It needs to make an impact. It takes imagination from a CV writer to find a way.

You’d better have one who has it.

[Gerard le Roux is a CV writer who fits these criteria. What’s he reading right now? “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets … Killer Salesmanship, The Function of Seduction” by John Carlton. I’ve done my 20 000 hours as an expert, but I’m always learning, trying to figure new ways to help job hunters grab attention and be irresistible to en employer.]

Go to www.wowcv.net/professional-cv-writing for more. Or e-mail me at gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za, or call me on my personal number (only if you’re serious about getting professional help) on +27 83 744 5454.

 

 

Is NOT Having a Degree REALLY Holding You Back in Your Career?

This is a topic close to my heart –

(as someone who has no degree, but who has addressed MBA students at UCT Graduate School of Business; as someone with a basic matric, but who has been invited as guest speaker addressing Professors and Heads of Department at for eg. Central University of Technology; as someone with no formal training, but who has been quoted in Business Day, Financial Mail and other illustrious media)

– and it shatters a myth that keeps people low, hopeless and accepting of mediocrity, when more is possible, sooner than they think. It’s a piece by Steve Chandler:

 Credentials were vital in the old world—the world of my father and mother.

You’d apply for a job and people would say, “Where did you get your degree?” or “What’s your degree in?”

“Alcoholism,” I would say.  “Bankruptcy and divorce.”

And you know what?  They didn’t care.

Oh, they weren’t exactly happy with my credentials.  But they moved quickly to the next question-the question they really wanted to ask—-“Can you help us?”

Yes, I think so, or at least let’s do a pilot seminar, a trial workshop and find out.  I ended up training more than 20 Fortune 500 companies that way and a couple hundred smaller businesses, schools and organizations.

Not because of my credentials.  But because I could help.  I could serve.

That’s good news for all of us today.  It’s no longer who you know or what your credentials are, now it’s WHAT YOU CAN DO!

This allows you to build your skills and deepen your professional strength any way you like.  It’s all online now.  What do you want to learn how to do?  It’s all right there.

A woman client told me not long ago in subdued, breathy tones (the kind of voice reserved for the most sacred stories of suffering and victimization, stories that have formed the helpless robot), “I am sad that I never had the education that I should have had.  Not being given that educational advantage, my ability to get a high-paying job has been limited.”

And I could hear the hushed reverence in her voice as she described the tenets of her victim religion.  It was deeply personal for her, and the fact that she was “sharing” her weakness with me was an example of how “authentic” she had learned to be.

Except for one little thing.  One flaw in the presentation:  it was all nonsense.  She could have learned anything any time including now.  This now, yes.  This very minute inside this very day today.

People hire you today because of what you can do.

[Of course when entering the job market with any qualification or experience, but especially if you have no degree, etc, you HAVE TO present yourself more powerfully, aggressively and in a smart, focussed way. Your CV, for eg. has to be hard hitting. Contact me about helping you with yours, I’m at gerardlr [at] gmail.com.

 

CV Advice to Tulani

Tulani was feeling uncertain about his CV. It was typical – starting out with Personal Details, moving on to Education, then some patchy work experience.

Could it be improved? How could he make it a winner?

Here’s what I told him:

Hi Tulani, thanks for your CV. On my website I have 2 CV tests: http://www.wowcv.net/cv-success-tests/ – you’ll find a lot of help in the tests, discovering what a CV is and should be and how to make it so.

Looking at your CV though, it would be good to focus on what solution you provide – ie. if you’re focusing on IT Support for example, then start out with something like this:

IT Support Technician and Service Agent 

Offering 5 Years’ experience, CompTIA qualifications and IT skills to solve IT network and application problems fast, to keep customers delighted with the service, and to be a reliable, consistent “top performer” for the employer.

Then the rest of the CV should go on to back up that message with the facts.

This approach gets to the point fast. It clearly establishes at the start to the employer/recruiter just what he is ‘all about’ (instead of expecting the reader to read it to try to figure it all out for themselves.)

Also note that the opening is not fluff (empty claims of being ‘hard working’ etc). It’s fact – hard experience, hard qualifications to clearly establish credibility. That comes first. THEN comes the “sell” – ie. hire me because:

“I delight customers … I provide fast service … I’m a top performer.”

Can you make a similar improvement? The tests in the link above – or here: http://www.wowcv.net/cv-success-tests/ – will help you hone this all further across your entire CV.

 

A Guerrilla CV – What is it? Will it work for you?

“Guerrilla CV … what?!” you may well ask. But did you know that one of these guerrilla CVs (or resume if you prefer) could be the antidote to your lack of response in the job market. A guerrilla CV is designed to get a reaction, response.

THE GUERRILLA IN GUERRILLA CV

The term dates back to 1809! It refers to “fighters” who use unconventional, surprise tactics and intimate knowledge of conditions and the terrain to overcome a bigger, more powerful foe. Popular Guerrilla style leaders include Cuban Che Guevara – maybe you have his picture on your t-shirt.

Then in the ’80’s Jay Conrad Levinson coined the term ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ for business. How businesses can successfully compete using low cost, streetwise marketing and advertising.

And so the term has now been applied to businesses and even job hunters who use unconventional, bolder, more mobile and agile methods. So a ‘guerrilla CV’ hits hard for you, is concise, smart, bold and forceful.

A GUERRILLA CV – IS IT FOR YOU?

It’s not for everyone. Guerrilla fighters, for example, frequently adopt tactics that although effective and surprising to their enemy, are uncomfortable to carry out.

It’s their focus, determination and dedication to their cause that fires them up.

So in a job hunting situation, a Guerrilla CV approach isn’t always within the comfort zones you’re accustomed to.

But it may well be that the absence of job interviews, calls and response to your regular CV send-outs brings you to the point where you are willing to do things differently and bolder than before.

The corporate ‘establishment’ – including HR, recruiters / personnel agencies – has created an aura of control that blocks you out and often treats individuals in a less than respectful way.

It takes guerrilla tactics now to break through those barriers. Following the conventional route in the job market most often leads to frustration and delivers very poor results.

You have to decide whether your situation requires something new, a fresh approach. But a Guerrilla CV approach is especially for you if nothing else appears to be is working.

YOUR GUERRILLA CV – 10 DIFFERENCES IT WILL MAKE

  1. Your Guerrilla CV is the only one of its kind the recruiter, your contact, HR person, line manager or employer will have seen in months!
  2. Your Guerrilla CV actually comes out and answers the questions: “What can you do for me?” And “Why should I believe you?” – something 99% of CVs never, ever do
  3. Your Guerrilla CV will be easy to read, will be only 1 page – or in rare cases 2 (max!)
  4. Your Guerrilla CV will be full of attention grabbing features, specially designed to create interest
  5. Your Guerrilla CV will present you as an immediate solution to the employer’s problems
  6. Your Guerrilla CV will provide hard evidence – VS empty ‘fluff’ / hot air – that you can deliver!
  7. Your Guerrilla CV will carry a spirit of confidence, boldness and energy. (People hire people like that.)
  8. You will feel proud to hand it out to your network
  9. Your contacts will feel proud to receive it (instead of a clunky 10 pager!)
  10. You can easily post it up on your blog, Facebook or LinkedIn page for quick download

 HOW TO ORDER YOUR GUERRILLA CV

A Guerrilla résumé or CV adds a powerful, sharp new dimension to your job search – it’s bolder, more confident; it’s smarter, fresher and more effective in getting attention and persuading; it’s designed to demand a response, to command respect and present you as an expert.

To order, contact me directly. I’ve been studying CVs and resumes for over 10 years, writing them, analysing them, figuring out what works. I can write yours. E-mail me at gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za and I’ll send you details.