Archive for the ‘CV Tips’ Category

10 Most Efficient Tools to Master Your CV

Guest Blog from Linda Craig:

 

There are online tools to help you design your resume, tools to help inspire you, tools to help you create a visually attractive resume, and there are even tools that will write it for you. Here are ten of the most efficient CV making tools on the Internet.
1 – Kickresume

The biggest selling point for this tool is that you are able to create your resume within just ten minutes, though you will have to have your information ready to put on the CV tool, otherwise it is going to take longer. You may pull information from LinkedIn too. It allows you to save your resume on your computer so it is ready to send whenever you need it.

2 – Vizualize.me

This tool allows you to create a resume in the form of an Infographic. It is very easy to use, and it has numerous features that are geared towards job skills and life skills that may be useful to your future employer. You are able to create attractive and easy-to-follow Infographics that will show off your finest features in the most efficient way. You can use it as your resume, or attach it as a summary of your resume.

3 – Flavors.me

This is a tool you can use to build your online CV. It helps you create your own website that is based around you, giving people a flavor of yourself. Create your own URL, set up your analytics, and promote yourself online. Instead of your CV sending people to your social media profiles, send people to your personal website that doubles over as your online Resume.

4 – Kinzaa

With this resume builder, you are able to add information from your LinkedIn profile, or you can add your own information. It very heavy on design, but that is not always a bad thing. Many modern resumes are a little plain and clinical, and even though it is not recommended that your resume be a work of art, there are still people that enjoy a design-heavy resume if it is framed and structured in the right way. So long as the content is as impressive as the design, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

5 – Assignmentmasters

Have your CV written by a series of experts. They have numerous writing experts and industry gurus working for them. They are able to assign people in your desired industry to your resume. The writer is able to communicate in a way that your future employer will understand. The Assignmentmasters writers are also able to create very catchy, powerful and high-impact text for your resume. Their service is especially handy if you need to write numerous resumes for different types of jobs. Plus, there is nothing stopping you from sending the resume they write to numerous employers.

6 – Cvmaker

The CV maker tool is a fairly intuitive resume maker for people that are technically experienced–which is most people these days. Enter your data into the tool and it fashions it into a CV for you. Add a few edits, pick a few features, save and download it. You can download your CV as a PDF file too, which is very handy because it avoids the initial file conversion troubles you get with other file formats.

7 – My Perfect Resume

This is an online resume builder. You choose your design and add your own data into it. You can even insert their pre-written examples. You may then download or print your resume ready to end off to employers. The fun and unique element is the fact they have pre-written samples that you can add into your resume to give it a little more content and impact. Many of the samples are generic and will only require small changes to make them effective.

8 – ConnectCV

Here is a feature-rich resume builder you may use on your desktop device and on your mobile phone. Plus, it allows you to share your information on social media, which is not a great idea from a security standpoint, but it will get your information out there for free into a place where future employers may see it.

9 – Easel.ly

Here you are able to create your resume as an Infographic. It is all the rage at the moment, and many HR teams view such an idea as very helpful. They say they are able to get through far more resumes far quicker, to the point where they do not pay as much attention to applications that do not feature some sort of Infographic attachment. Share ideas, provide information about yourself, and show your future employer what you have to offer in a compact and high-impact way.

10 – ResumUp

If you take a look at their website, you will see that design is one of their strong points. The website is very well made and designed, and you may use it to create your own stylish and high-impact resume. It is very easy to use and fairly intuitive for most tech-savvy people.

 

 

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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: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

 

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Keeping your CV safe online

With the recent news that the Guardian jobs website was hacked, the theft of 4.5 million users’ personal details from the monster.co.uk website, and with identity fraud on the increase,  what can you do to safeguard your online CV?

According to the Metropolitan Police, 93% of CVs posted online contain enough information for criminals to steal your identity. This information could then be used to take out credit cards and loans in your name, acess your accounts, seriously affect your credit rating and even gain a passport in your name!

Here are some top tips:

  • Make sure the site you are posting to is genuine as some bogus ones have been set up purely to collect CV data.  Research online the site’s reputation.
  • Be wary of those emails you get out of the blue suggesting you for an interview (particularly in a field that is not your skill set), and that request further personal detail.
  • Check that anyone you respond to with further information has a company domain name in their email address and not a host server address.

On your CV:

DO NOT put the following information online. A prospective employer will be able to assess if you have the correct experience for the job without it.

  • Full address. Leave off your house number and road
  • Your middle name
  • Your marital status
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your date of birth/ place of birth (the Age Discrimination Act means that you don’t have to include this information)
  • Driving licence number
  • Bank details (obviously!)
  • Make sure you have a separate email address for job hunting. Get one free from sites such as Yahoo or Hotmail
  • Do not put names and addresses of any references. They will not thank you if their ID gets stolen! Simply write “References available on request”

In addition:

  • Do not put similiarly sensitive info on Facebook or other networking sites.
  • Deactivate any online CVs when you are not job hunting or if you do not use that job site any more.
  • Make a notes of all those places that you have applied to with your personal information online, just in case.
  • If you are applying directly to a company or via an email received, then have a look on the Companies House website (www.companieshouse.gov.uk) to check they are legitimate.
  • Ensure that you regularly change your jobs’ website passwords and have up to date anti-virus/security software on your laptop or PC.

How comfortable are you posting your CV online with the recent security breaches? Please leave a comment and let me know.

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Why Your Online Reputation Matters

Your online reputation is one of the most valuable things you own and is as important as your resume.  It is out there representing you—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—and it speaks for you when you aren’t even present.  It acts as your resume, telling potential employers all they need to know.  It serves as your personal matchmaker—offering would-be paramours an insider’s view of your life.  And it often tells resourceful customers whether they want to do business with you.

Even if you your online rep is seemingly perfect, do not be lulled into complacency.  No one is exempt from the need to monitor and maintain a squeaky-clean Internet image.  Even if the web currently depicts you as a modern day Ghandi, it will take dedication and effort to ensure that your reputation remains solid gold.

Here are some tips that will help you foster a desirable online reputation.

1.       Monitor your image closely. 

A nasty post can appear faster than a snowflake falls, so it is important that you Google, Bing, and Yahoo your name often.  You can’t fix something if you are blissfully unaware that it has been broken in the first place.  You should also pay a visit to any review sites that are connected with your industry. You may not know what others are saying about you, but the person that wants to hire you will definitely be interested.

2.       Share selectively. 

You’ve likely encountered the person on Facebook or Twitter who feels compelled to share every detail of her life with her followers.  Perhaps, you have even blocked this person completely.  Don’t be the annoying “friend” that everyone wishes would simply shut up.

Make sure that you only share content that is interesting, informative, and purposeful.  It needs to be worth reading and, ideally, worth passing on.  And avoid complaining.  No one wants to listen to you rant and whine, specially your future boss.

3.       Own your negatives. 

Don’t panic if you find a negative Google review.  No one is perfect—not even the modern day Ghandi.  You will make mistakes.  The important thing is how you handle them.

The best way to respond to negative feedback is to be a consummate professional.  Treat people with respect and apologize immediately.  Make sure you strive to correct the situation in a timely fashion.

Remember that other people will be watching to see how you respond to criticism, so make sure you handle yourself well.  And never delete a negative comment.  This will tell others that you cannot be trusted. The last thing you want is to raise any red flags in the mind of a prospective recruiter.

4. Maintain your privacy. 

Your personal interactions with close friends and relatives need to stay exactly that—personal.  Ensure that the privacy settings on each of your social media tools are set for the maximum protection of your private information.  Block others from being able to tag you in photos, so that you can be sure that party shots won’t wind up public property.  That’s certainly not something you want a potential employer to see.

5.       Join professional organizations. 

Set up sites that highlight your professional expertise and accomplishments like LinkedIn and Google+.  Be sure to use the profile sections of these tools to maximize your online image and impress potential clients and employers.

If you belong to other professional organizations, service clubs, or industry-specific networks, be sure to include these on your profile. The more positive items there are for potential employers to find, the less likely they will find the negative stuff.

While your paper resume is a valuable tool, it pales in comparison to your online reputation.  Everyone who wants to know more about you will seek you out online. Employers do this all the time, before even considering a face-to-face meeting.  You must ensure that what they find is accurate, positive, and most importantly—representative of the real you.

What do you think are some definite “no-no’s,” when it comes to creating a positive online reputation?

 

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Guest blog: How to write a personal statement

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

Three keys for a successful personal statement in a job application:

1) Focus (on the job)

2) Structure (your statement)

3) Sell (yourself)

Some top tips…

 Carry out a self assessment

 Look at the requirements of the job description and person specification

 Match your experience, skills and abilities to the employer’s requirements

 Be enthusiastic!

The employer is looking to buy some skills and experience – you need to demonstrate that you have what they are looking for.

Opening and closing paragraphs are key. Work hard to present a positive and punchy introduction to grab the reader’s attention. Use your closing statement to stress the personal qualities that make you an asset to the organisation.

Don’t make random or unsubstantiated statements – You might very well have excellent presentation and negotiation skills but to state these as mere facts will not convince the reader. However, if you provide evidence and examples to back up what you say, this will. An example – Setting up and chairing monthly meetings for all factory staff to report on management/strategic developments has developed my presentation skills.

Personal statements should usually be approximately 1200 words. Some people will use an extremely small font and think they can squeeze more information in. This will not help your application. The reader will have had enough at 1200 words and will know to stop! Keep it easy to read.

Refrain from writing long winded sentences. If your sentences consist of more than 32 words or more, then for the reader’s sake, reduce them!

Starting too many paragraphs or sentences with ‘I’ is off-putting for the reader. Consider alternatives: My ability to… During… When… Although…, Whilst… An example of…etc

Structure is key to a good statement, you need to take the reader on a journey. Start with a solid enthusiastic introduction and say why the job appeals to you. Continue with how you match their requirements, providing examples and evidence to back up any statements. You will often find that the personal specification has a structure to it and you can follow this to ensure you cover all of the key elements in it. Bring your statement to a good strong conclusion that shows off your personal qualities and commitment.

Check it, then check it again and then ask someone else to check it! A spelling error or silly mistake will spoil all of your hard work!

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: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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A short blog with some CV advice!

 

Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the first thing your potential new employer will see. They will glance over your credentials before even contemplating giving you an interview. Therefore your CV really needs to stand out!

How do you do that?

Your CV is essentially selling you. You want to make it clear, concise and appealing. First and foremost, your CV should be typed in Times New Roman (or very similar font) of size 12. This is legible and recognised world wide. It should be neat and fluid in its layout. Think of a news paper – you have a headline at the top of the front page. Your CV is your front page, so the headline should be your name and contact details. Following on from the headline, you have a subheading. This is a way for the most important news to be seen. So what is your most important news, that is current and relevant to the position you are applying for? You can header this as your Personal Statement. Just keep it short and to the point. This could be summarised in two to three lines.

Now you have the employers attention, you should state your qualifications, certificates, or licences most applicable to the role. What is it that your employer is looking for?  You don’t have to state here that you studied ten GCSE’s and A-Levels if it’s not relevant. For example, when applying for a Journalist role all the editor wants to see is your Words Per Hour Speed and National Certificate of the Training of Journalists exam results. He isn’t interested that you passed grade four in Piano when you were thirteen. This could be a useful bit of information within an interview however, especially if you were applying for a music Journalist position.

It’s always important to show your employment history, but only as long as it is relevant to the position. Often, it is advisable to limit this to the last four relevant jobs . Not only does this save you space, but you can list two to three bullet points of your responsibilities that were integral to the role.

Your CV needs to sell your ability to fit the role the employer is looking for. It is only a stepping stone to getting you the all-important interview. It is in the interview that you can expand on your experiences and knowledge of the subject if required. That is your time to shine and to let the employer see your personality.

Most importantly, check your spelling and get some one else to read it through. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps in your experience. When I was a recruitment consultant, we’d often assume a gap in employment history means either a) sitting at home eating biscuits and watching Jeremy Kyle, or b) banged up in prison.

Here endeth today’s lesson.

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How to write a winning CV

 

 

It can be really difficult to translate your skills to a concise but attractive CV but our tips should be able to give your CV the head start it needs to get an interview.

Make sure your CV is organised and in a good reading order. It is really important to ensure you elaborate your experience to what each individual job requires. So what should you start with?

1        Name, address and contact telephone number

2        Make your format eyecatching, not too busy and easy to read

3        Skill set: make sure you put qualifications and any relevant self learnt skills in this area

4        Summarise what life experience you have had in relation to the job. A short course or internship as well as self learning can show initiative.

5        Employment history: make sure that you showcase the skills relevant to each are of employment and emphasise those in relation to the job you are applying for.

6        Start with the most recent job first. Ensure you carry on the same format when listing. Employer, Job title, dates and then a short explanation of your role.

7        Education: remember to include any short courses or relevant qualifications gained through employers.

8        Personal Interests: any hobbies that can be used to support your work experience. Obviously socialising is a no, but playing at open mics shows a creative flair.

Your CV should be tailored to the employer. By keeping it individual to the application it shows that you have thought about how you will fit in to their work environment.

How you present your CV is extremely important. You want it to be easy to read and easy for the reader to find the relevant information. Poor presentation will only leave your application at the bottom of the pile.

So what are our do’s and dont’s?:

Do:

1        Be clear, concise and jargon free

2        Use short well thought out sentences in each part of the CV.

3        Try to keep to 2 pages of A4

4        Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes. Do a spell and grammar check and get a friend to proof read.

 

One of the best ways of ensuring that your CV is perfect is to know what you should not do:

Don’t:

1        Over elaborate. Use short sentences that are punchy and easy to read.

2        Be too simple. Make sure that you showcase your experience.

3        Don’t cut your experience down if it is relevant to the job.

4        Use various fonts and typography throughout.

5        Enclose a photograph, unless it is required or your have asked for one.

6        Give referees at this point unless specified. You can do this at interview stage.

7        Give salary details. Think about what your are worth and have a figure in mind for when you are asked.

 

These are just a few tips to get your CV looking great!

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Quick Tips for CV Presentation

 

Here are our top tips for laying out your CV in the best way possible:

1. Do not write “Resume” or “Curriculum Vitae” across the top of your CV. It’s blindingly obvious what the document is!

2. Use either Arial or Times New Roman font. No comedy or swirly fonts. They look naff. Make sure your font is consistent throughout and all of the same size. Ensure headings are a font size larger.

3. Do not use both sides of the paper. People may forget to photocopy or scan both sides of the paper. It’s wasteful, I know, but it’s the way people are.

4. Do not use clip art or cartoons in your CV. It makes it look like a 12 year old has written it.

5. Use high quality white paper. Coloured paper doesn’t photocopy so well.

6. Do not use coloured fonts in your CV.  It looks childish and, again, does not photocopy very well.

7. Don’t fold your CV and covering letter. Make sure you put it in an A4 envelope.

8. Don’t put a photo on your CV. Let your credentials speak for themselves, rather than letting the employer potentially form an opinion about you before you’ve even met.

9. Do a spell check!

10. Don’t underline headings. Again, they can get blurred when photocopied/scanned. Make sure they are a font size larger and in bold

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Guest Bloggers Required!

Well, we are certainly attracting a bit of web traffic now, which is great to see, and throwing open the chance for you to add your guest blogs to this site.

Maybe you are a recruiter, an image consultant, a careers advisor, life coach, HR consultant or job hunter? If so then let us know if you would like to write us a guest blog article, sharing your news, hints, tips and advice with links through to your site!

Simply email jo@personal-marketing.co.uk with your article (around 400-700 words) and  share your expertise. Don’t forget to include a short bio on yourself and your web address if you have one.

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Grammatical CV mistakes

 

I recently found this useful lesson in grammar from Pulitzer Prize winner William Safire.

It is worth remembering these rules when you write a CV and cover letter.

HOW TO AVOID GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES
1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid clichés like the plague.

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. No sentence fragments.

10. Contractions aren’t necessary, and shouldn’t be used.

11. One should never generalise.

12. Don’t use no double negatives.

13. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations etc.

14. Eliminate commas, that are not necessary.

15. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.

16. Kill all exclamations!!

17. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

18. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.

19. Puns are for children, not for groan readers.

20. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

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