Taking a Course? First Ask this Question.

👉 ARE YOU TAKING A COURSE? Courses are easy to take these days. Sometimes they’re free online. Others are big bucks. But here’s the real question. Will it help you in your job and career?

So ask yourself:

How will this course help me make a difference?

In other (and more) words:

➤ “When it comes to me slotting in to a company / business / organisation in a particular job – how will my taking this course, learning this ‘thing’, adding this skill – make me better at giving the employer what they want, and even more.”

The same applies to reading a book. Apply laser focus on how adding the knowledge will make you more valuable. Ask yourself obsessively, “how does this make me better at my job – what benefit does it produce in the end?”

Connect the dots between you and your knowledge and skills, and the business – it’s costs, profits, sales, revenue, reputation, market share, competitiveness, smooth running operations.

When I write my clients’ CVs and LinkedIn profiles, I’m always trying to do this. And what I notice is, is that my clients often don’t have this top of their mind to start with.

What Makes a Good CV?

What makes a good CV – you may have wondered about yours, right? So, do you want a kind of a ‘blueprint’? The whole job hunting and CV writing thing is so infuriating, right!? 😞

So, here, do this, step by step:

  • Check the job ad you’re applying to. Follow that script. The things that appear in the ad – they’re the priorities. They’re what needs to stand out in your CV.
  • Take note of how many years experience are required. What particular skills needed are mentioned? What technology skills are needed? What specialist knowledge is asked for?

What makes a good CV is when you align your CV with those things.

So, look at your CV. ➤ Is it aligned with the ad? ➤ Do the list of 5 or 10 requirements you see in the ad really jump out at you from your CV?

The fact is: you can have a fancy CV. You may have spent hours on it. It can be “ATS” friendly. But if you don’t immediately appear to be the 👉 exact solution 👈 the employer is looking for, it’ll be difficult to advance through the filtering process.

At the early stages of the hiring process, your CV is filtered by software. And by more junior staff. And often with a kind of ‘tick-box’ mentality. This means that unless you tick all the boxes, you’re out! You may be the best person for the job (by far)… but because you don’t have a degree, you’re out. You’re the best person for the job… but because you don’t know a certain software package (that can be learned in a few hours)… you’re out.

It’s ridiculous. But it’s the way it is 😞. Aligning your CV however is something you have control over. When you ask: “what makes a good CV”? The above is a big part of the answer.

Need help: let’s chat about the problems you’re having. Let’s get on a call for 10 minutes and I’ll give you some advice. It could be helpful. Whatsapp me on +27 83 744 5454.

CV Success… but with a warning

Just got this from a professional CV writing client:

“Gerard, all I can say is that the last 3 times my CV was done by you ,
I landed cool jobs! Thanks for all your help!”

Nice. But there’s a WARNING. Job hunting is complicated. There are so many factors that have to come together to make them choose you. A lot of it is out of your control. A great CV can do great things. But it doesn’t always. Enlist a professional CV writer, and it’ll definitely help you. But there’s more to it than just that.

Zoom Interview? Go for Broke.

“I have an interview next week!” my client said. “It’s on Zoom. How do I make the most of it??” So, here’s what I said.

Well, first, what I didn’t tell him – I should have – was this: be neat, be organised, have your tech act together – test it, be sure it’s working – be well groomed, don’t have an skew or ugly picture on the wall behind you, sit up straight, position your camera so that you’re in the upper centre of the picture, look at the camera when you’re speaking (not at yourself), have your docs ready on your clean and clear desktop.

Now, the client is in sales. And the position he’s applying for is in a totally new industry in which he has interest only, not experience.

So, first I told him this (some of it you may find useful in principle):

1) Spend the next week getting to know the company products and the company itself.

What are the products? Who uses them?  Why do they like them? What problems have they had, what complaints (Google it)? What are the competitor products? What are the goals and values of the company?

Speak to company clients (seriously – you’re doing some ‘market research’, just be straight: you’re prepping for an interview): How would they rate the company service? When last did they get a visit from the sales rep? What problems do they foresee with the products in the future? What could be improved?

2) Then, I told him this: formulate a 3-month business plan.

What’s the goal of the job? What are the key things that need to be done to achieve it? What obstacles are there? How would you deal with them? What would your goal be for month 1, month 2?

In the interview itself, just at the point where the small talk and ice-breakers are tailing off, you want to ask: “right, so within the first 3 months, what do you want to see from the person you hire?” If they manage to get a question like “tell me about yourself?” in, answer it with some filler in 30 seconds, and then ask the above question.

If they “um” and “err”, tell them straight: “I’ve done some research. And I’ve formulated a 3 month business plan. Can I present it to you, real quick? Present it. And end off by saying, “those are my ideas… no doubt you have your expectations and ways of doing things… but I thought I’d just demonstrate to you that I like to get stuck in and make things happen.” And then if you have real spirit, ask this: “okay, what else do I need to do to get an offer from you? what else would you like to know?”

How this fits with the D [IS] R U2 PT principles:

This approach fits with the “D” of my D [IS] R U2 PT job search principles. “D” stands for DISRUPT – yes, differentiate yourself, do what no-one else will do, shake up the traditional approach. Don’t be like a typical job hunter: a deer staring into the headlights, frozen, sitting silent, waiting for the tough, awkward questions, never really coming out and saying: “hire me, here’s why”.

But of course, no one approach works all the time. So, why not just go for broke?

Hopefully this helps you get better results – ie more job interviews, more job offers, more often.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK:

You know Steve Martin as an actor. But he has another side. Check it out here:

“Mood is Your Greatest Asset,” he Said

“Mood is your greatest asset.” True or False? In your job search – as in most things in life – that’s true. You may have skills. Degrees. Profound knowledge. But if you’re down on yourself, pessimistic; if you find yourself always looking for why something ‘won’t work’… then your results will be poor.

Hard to keep it upbeat, though, right? Lockdown. The economy. Here’s what you need: creative ideas. Fresh thinking on where job opportunities may exist. Fresh ideas on how to present yourself, what to say, how to say it. A fresh feeling of confidence and boldness – the courage to do what you gotta do to get yourself out of a hole.

Here’s ssomething to help you. See attached. It’s something written by John Kehoe (the “Mind Power” guy). With my added comments, specially for job hunters (lookout for the bit about pitbulls biting your bum! and the global conspiracy to keep YOU – yes, YOU – out of work.

Next week, I’ll be analysing my CV writing principles. It’s called the [D IS R U2 PT]. It’s meant to help you shake things up. And get better results – ie more job interviews, more job offers, more often.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
Adam Leipzig – “How to know your life purpose in under 2 minutes.” Ignore the clickbait title. BUT. It’s still an incredibly useful video. In under 2 minutes. Better title: “How to articulate what you do in a clear, compelling way” – useful for job interviews, CVs and LinkedIn profiles.

[Job Search Success Newsletter | June 18 2020]

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…

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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.

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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.

The Two Roads to Your Next Job – Why You May be Stuck, How to Get Unstuck

[This is an excerpt from my Get a Job Fast programme]

The job searching road you’re on may have started out smooth and free flowing. But likely it deteriorated fast. And now you’re stuck in traffic with no end in sight. Is there an exit? Is there another way?

In job hunting, there are two roads. Road A. And Road B. Here’s a quick synopsis of what they are. Try to figure out 1) which you’re on; and 2) which one you should be on. One leads to frustration. Another to freedom … or at least another job options, sooner, quicker, faster.

Job Hunting Road A:

Road A has a dedicated lane for perfect people (qualifications, experience, race, age, etc). For everyone else, it’s congested, slow, frustrating, with plenty of breakdowns along the way.

Road A is the world of employment agencies, job adverts and junior HR people filtering you out in a pile of many other similar looking people. It has a tick-box mentality and if you don’t immediately appear to meet a few criteria, you’re don’t get a look in. It’s known for poor service.

On Road A, people easily become demoralised. Even angry. It’s a congested, frustrating road. So use path A, but be warned. What’s your experience been?

Job Hunting Road B:

Very few know about it. But with it you always have a way forward, you can get unstuck. You have more control – it’s not a passive “apply and wait and hope for the phone to ring” type approach.

You can decide what to target. You can go after what you want. You can take ‘massive action’. You can take the initiative. You can follow up. You can set your own schedule. You can make things happen. You can land dream interviews.

But of course it takes guts. And preparation. And focus. And willingness to step outside some comfort zones. Road B is what Get a Job Fast is all about. It’ll give you alternative strategies. So instead of the helplessness of Road A, you’ll be equipped with smart, ‘guerrilla’ style, highly effective tactics to put to work. And they work fast.

[Get a Job Fast is a learning programme which will help you discover the ‘ins and outs’ of a job hunt in which you take control, where you don’t sit, wait and hope, but in which you make things happen. The end result is more job interviews, more job offers, faster. It’s an approach that cannot fail. Visit www.careerandsuccess.info to apply.]

 

Cover Letter for Job Application

A cover letter for job applications is critically important. It can hit hard – getting you an interview even when you’re NOT the best applicant! It’s true. In this article I’ll show you why and how. And I’ll give you some examples of cover letters for job applications.

Why a Cover Letter for Job Applications?

A few good reasons:

1) It guides the mind of the reader – tells them immediately how to ‘file’ and respond to what’s in front of them.

2) It’s a chance for you to be quick, concise and confident – a good message.

3) It’s a chance to put your ‘best foot forward’ – to powerfully show that you’re “the one” for the job, to present your case.

How to Write a Cover Letter for Job Applications

Here are some cover letter principles:

Be quick. Get to the point. Use short paragraphs. Use bullets.

This is not the place to write about how hard working you are.

This is a place to immediately satisfy the reader that you have what’s required for the job.

Cover Letter for Job Application Examples

Here are some examples to learn from and use:

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Dear [find and use the personal name of the recruiter]

Re. Accountant Position Advertised in The Star Workplace (June 15, 2009)

“Accountant – available to organise, streamline, and get things back on track.”

My suitability is as follows:

  • NDip in Financial Accounting
  • 5 Years experience in Accounting roles
  • Strong skills in reorganising, getting up to date, and creating “order out of chaos” in an accounting department
  • Rated by KPMG external auditors in 2007 as “super organized”

Please see CV attached for further details.

Available for interviews with immediate effect.

Regards,
Joan Smith
[Contact Details]

+++++++++++++++++++++

See how short it is. See how it got to the point? No going on and on with irrelevant details. Just a concise, confident, powerful message.

Here’s another cover letter for job applications.

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Mr Abel Modiba
Human Resource Manager
XYA Industries

Re: Application for Bookkeeping position.

Dear Mr Modiba

I am applying for the position of BOOKKEEPER as advertised in The Star, Workplace (01.01.2009).

My qualifications match your needs very closely and I believe could be of immediate impact for you.

Your requirements VS. my qualifications are as follows:

  • “3 Years Experience – bookkeeping” : I have 4 years in total with good companies.
  • “Matric” : I have Matric, with a distinction in Maths (SG)
  • “Advanced Pastel” : I have  2 years experience with Pastel and have completed an advanced course.

I’m 100% confident I can quickly slot into the role, but also I look forward to discussing the specific challenges of the role with you and the employer.

I have very positive and contactable references. I will follow up with you on Wednesday January 20.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Jones

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