Archive for August, 2013

How To Get Yourself Out There

Guest post: Amber Waddy from Job Zoo, describes how to stand out from the crowd and get noticed in an overcrowded job market:

It’s hard for many job seekers today to stand out from the crowd, and to find a place that’s right for them. I struggled for several months trying to find anyone that would have me, and yet I was still failing to get anywhere. The trick isn’t only having experience, you need to have a certain sparkle about you to keep employers interested in you here after. So, what can you do? Well, I’ve compiled a short list of the basics which should give you a good kick start.

Get Your Files In Order

Everyone always tells you that you need a creditable CV to get anywhere, but that’s only half the battle. Having a great cover letter is also rather important as this is your opportunity to shine. You have to put across not only your skills and desires, but also your personality and sense of self. In my opinion, a CV will never show people who you really are, so a cover letter would be ideal. It’s not a one to one conversation, but it’s certainly a start. All CV’s look the same after a while, even to job seekers, so one thing that can give you a fighting chance is to change the look of your CV once in a while. If not for your potential future employer, then for your sanity. There are plenty of nice looking layouts around the web, so be sure to have a sufficient peruse.

Do Your Research

Some people know what their preferred sector is when it comes to employment, but not many people try to reach certain companies unless a vacancy is listed. I spent months just looking as a whole instead of approaching companies individually which eventually hindered me. I’ve got news for you people… you don’t have to wait. They have to hold onto your CV for a short while whether they currently have positions or not, so your details will always be close by. I’ve had a few incidents where I applied for a vacancy assuming they’d say no, and they’ve proved me wrong more than once. You also need to show them that you have a genuine interest in the company itself. This can be done by following them through social media, using their services regularly or even a little bit of promotion on your part. The more enthusiasm for the brand you exude, the more likely they are to notice.

Go The Extra Mile

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to do what’s needed and nothing more. That isn’t a forward thinking strategy, as I’ve found. They don’t expect the world of you, but if there is something you can do that will benefit both you and the company then all the more for it! This can be from something as simple as unpaid work experience to volunteering at one of their events. If you can show them that you’re keen, and like the work they do, then the chances are they’ll start to buddy up to you. Once you gain their trust and friendship they are much more likely to tell you if new positions are coming up. I know plenty of people that have gained a job because they had previously volunteered their services, including the likes of my own mother.

Finding a new job will always be a bit of a chore, especially when you’ve been on the market for a while. However it is not impossible to get what you what, as long as you remember what you need to do. For more information about CV’s, cover letters, volunteering and other handy job tools have a look around the web for tips, guides and other such resources.

Resource and Bio:

Job Zoo was created with the primary purpose of giving young people, school leavers, grads/post grads and first time jobbers the best chance of finding that dream job. They provide users with job listings, CV templates and much more.


Guest blog: CV top tips!


Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

A winning CV is one that shows you off to your best potential!

Many people make the mistake of viewing their CV as a record of their education, skills and experience. Your CV is a personal selling tool and its job is to sell your skills, experience, abilities and potential! You have to motivate the reader to want to meet you in person – at Interview!

Consider the marketing material Estate Agents use to sell houses. They won’t lie about anything but will often turn the old outhouse in the back garden into a potential fourth bedroom if they believe this will sell the house. If you think of your own CV as a personal marketing or sales tool, it will help you to sell yourself.

There are essential elements required on your CV but the order you put them in depends on what sells you the most. If your work experience is key to your application, keep this on the first page, if your education is key, keep this on the first page.

Some top tips…

 Keep to 2 pages. There are some exceptions, an example would be an established scientist who has written numerous papers, or a doctor

 Never use tables or columns – only bullet points for lists

 Cover any gaps in your dates, even if you have to include periods of unemployment. HR recruiters are trained to look for gaps and always tend to think the worst

 Be honest – your CV will be used at interview and if you have lied, you could get yourself into a state when questioned

 Leave some white paper on the page – keep it easy to read

 Highlight the most relevant details, for example, don’t highlight your University in bold; highlight your degree
Never include important personal details like your National Insurance number etc;

 You do not need to have the title ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of your CV, it should be obvious what it is. This is like putting ‘Letter’ at the top of a letter

 Check your CV for typos and spelling mistakes, then check it again and then ask someone else to check it! One spelling error or silly mistake will spoil all of your hard work!

 There are trends with CVs that come and go. One trend used to be to include your photo at the top of the first page. This phased out, mainly to avoid discrimination and promote equality. Occasionally, some people still opt to include a photo. I have spoken to HR professionals at some of the larger organisations like Cambridge University Press who say they prefer to receive CV’s without photographs

Structure your CV:

  • Name and contact details
  • Personal Profile
  • Key skills and achievements
  • Education
  • Employment History
  • Additional information
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • References

Again, change the headings according to what sells you. A young person who cannot yet list their key achievements should sell their ‘Key Skills’.

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: or visit



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