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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.

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.

 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:

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 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.

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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.


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