As the world has changed over the past year, and many more are working from home, there has been a growing trend to produce CVs that include no address details at all. You may well get a mobile number and an email address, but nothing else.

Of course you have used a covering email, stating exactly where you are, or what areas you would like to find working, and how you can be contacted.

But by omitting any address information, and I have seen some CV writers out there suggest that this information is irrelevant, then recruiters simply do not know where you are located. And those that are fortunate enough to work in sectors that are recruiting, are inundated with people.

So if in the automatic processing of your CV no location can be picked up, then you are likely to go into a “hold” pile, to be returned to when they have time. Which might be next June.

So while the chief executive of a major corporation could probably live almost anywhere, because the company will relocate them, for your average worker it is quite important where you are based. And given the choice, most employers will choose employees close to them rather than at the other end of the country.

In a competitive job market, the first job of the recruiter is to reject quickly those who are not right. If they are not sure of your location, will they give you the benefit of the doubt? If they are struggling to find the right person then maybe, if they are not then you probably haven’t got a hope of getting onto the shortlist.

We know that some people worry about security and identity theft, but with the prevalence of online information, your CV is not going to be the first place they look to do this. And so long you don’t add your passport number, driving licence, wife’s name and so on, they will not have much to go on they can’t get from the electoral register.

So give them the information they need. A postcode at the very minimum, your post town and even your address just to complete the picture.

So they know where you are.

2020 has been an extraordinary year, and a challenging one for many sectors.

And while many senior executives are upbeat about the future, many of the sector’s employees and loyal servants need support right now. BEN, the automotive charity, gives that support, just at a time when industry performance and contributions have dried up.

This year has been a particularly testing one for the charity. And it was recently announced that they had a £1 million shortfall. Many groups have dug generously into their pockets, and we are asking our readers to do the same. Should you wish to contribute directly to them their donation page can be found here

https://ben.org.uk/support-us/

But there might be another way for you. 

You have always meant to get your CV professionally written, to get that competitive edge in what is a very competitive market. Over the next three months, we are offering to donate £25 to BEN for every CV writing, interview coaching, assessment centre and personality profile package that is purchased through our site using a special code.

Just use BEN25 when you purchase your product and £25 will go straight to the charity. (And you’ll get 1p off, so we can count it properly!) Click on this link to use your code.

For individuals their support services focus on health and wellbeing: physical, mental, financial and social: http://ben.org.uk/our-services/support-services/ – within each campaign section there is a downloadable leaflet and case studies.

They need all of our support. 

Imagine being on immigration control at Heathrow airport, especially post Brexit.

You will need to look at thousands of passports every day, quickly turn to the right page and work out who this person is in front of you. Do they look like their photo, where they have come from and are they eligible to enter the country?

A boring and repetitive job. But made much easier because most passports conform to an international standard. They can be scanned electronically and by a human quickly and easily.

Now imagine that the same person standing in front of your immigration desk had got creative. They had decided to add a few more photos and put all of their information in a different order. And made it difficult to be scanned by a machine. How quickly do you think they would get through?

Now think about your CV. In a world where there may be hundreds of applications for the same position, how quickly will your CV get through if it is in an unusual layout. Or if the information that recruiters need to find is difficult to pull out of it.

How quickly do you think you will get through their queues? How often do you think you will get rejected?

Instinctively I think you know the answer.

Which is why we get really boring with CV layouts. Make sure they are logical, clear and concise. And contain all of the information that recruiters expect to see. Because if they don’t, then very quickly you can find yourself being rejected for a job you have the perfect background for.

How frustrating is that?

Your CV needs to be written in plain English, people need to be able to understand what you do and not misunderstand it.

So quite a useful test (and I do realise I am making an assumption that you are married and have in-laws) is to give your CV to the in-laws, or failing that to an aunt or uncle or someone slightly disconnected from you. Ask them to scan your CV for 10-20 seconds and tell you what you do.

Now some of them may have a head start, and already understand exactly what your job is. But try and choose someone who doesn’t, because in reality it will be somebody who does not know you at all who will be picking up your document and trying to decipher it. And if they cannot do so easily and quickly you may quickly get rejected.

Sadly the world today is all about instant impact. And if you cannot make that, then you fall behind others in the queue.

So a CV that is well laid out, simple to navigate and clear is essential. It is not about flashy colours, good illustrations and so on, because recruiters want to find the information they need to know in the places they expect them to be.

So try the in-laws test. How quickly does your CV tell them what they need to know?

We speak to people from many industries. Jobseekers who are desperate to find their next role. People who have genuinely achieved and made a real difference during their career.

But speak to them in an interview, and every improvement, every positive change, every target hit, every budget made seems to be down to somebody else.

Which might well be true, and the truly modest amongst us will never take credit for anybody else’s hard work. The truly sensible amongst us will also recognise that we have made a contribution.

Here is the problem. At interview most recruiters don’t value modesty, reticence and underachievement. They are looking for precisely the opposite. People who make things happen, people who are successful, people who make a difference.

So unless you get into the habit of blowing your own trumpet, explaining clearly how you were able to contribute, how your team outperformed, how you were always valued when compared to your peers, then you will not stand out.

Because it is highly probable that most of the others on the shortlist are doing just that. Even if in reality they have achieved very little, they will still take credit for small successes.

So when people say “I don’t want to blow my own trumpet” our reply is “You must, because nobody else will do it for you”.

Unless you take your mother to the interview, that is.

Anybody who suddenly finds themselves out of work will suffer a range of emotions. And one of them will almost certainly be panic, what can they do for the rest of their career?

Many will find themselves in this situation because their sector has been very badly hit by the current crisis. Completely understandable, but if you have always worked in the sector, how can you find work?

The fact is that all of us have skills that are transferable to other jobs. But you might not recognise it.

Perhaps you have been working in the hospitality industry – good with people, used to working long hours. Who needs those other skills?

Or you have been working in a highly specialised engineering environment, what else can you do?

I suppose there are two parts to the answer. First of all, are you looking for a permanent solution, or something that will get you by until we get through this crisis? Because many of the industries that are currently decimated will surely come back in some form or another in two or three years time, perhaps even sooner than that.

And just as many sectors are closing down, others are opening up. You probably do not need reminding that delivery drivers are in greater demand than ever. Or that, with the explosion of green energy projects around, that sector needs engineers, technicians and technical experts like never before.

Or with Brexit on the horizon, the health service and even the teaching profession will be running short of new recruits at some stage next year.

And your transferable skills, whether they are technical, whether they are people skills or your natural competitiveness are equally at home in other industries and other sectors.

And the key skills that most of us have that employers really want are reliability, intelligence and trustworthiness. If they can find the people with the right attitude, they can train in their technical skills. Never underestimate your ability to do a job properly and conscientiously. It is a great starting point for any recruiter.

Writing to employers blind in the current market might seem like a waste of time. When they are not recruiting, why bother? Except that you might hit them at the right time, just before they start to think about recruitment, just as they are about to spend money.

Understand that every recruiter wants to solve a problem. In the current market, where margins are tight and where organisations need to adapt rapidly, it is even more important that jobseekers understand what potential employers’ problems are.

We often hear of people making thousands of applications. The very fact that they are able to do so without hitting home means that their approach is not working. 

So get more targeted. You need to do some research, find out what they do, what their problem are, who you know who works there – it might mean much more work in making each application, but if it is 10, 15 or even 20 times more effective, then the effort is worthwhile.

Perhaps you are in marketing. Study how the company presents themselves, how they communicate through social media, through the press. What you can find out about them on Google. Normally the problems are quite obvious to someone experienced in marketing. Rather than suggest a solution to their problem, explain how you have managed a similar problem and generated results.

Supposing you are an engineer and you see through reviews that they have a poor reputation for aftersales and customer service. Explain how you have corrected such problems in your career and the results you were able to produce. 

Maybe the results are not easily visible publicly, perhaps you have to contact people through LinkedIn who work for the organisation. Possibly you need to reach out through networks and colleagues to find out what companies do wrong. 

But if you find out organisations problems before you approach them, then you can present yourself as someone who can cure the problem. Most organisations know what issues they have, many simply do not know how to solve them. 

Show them you are the one. 

If you are unfortunate enough to be made redundant or find yourself without a job, a sense of panic can set in quite quickly.

So many people feel that being out of work marks them down as unemployable. It doesn’t, even at the height of the boom when it is difficult to imagine why people would be out of work, there are plenty of employers needing people and very few around.

In the current situation, however, nobody is going to blame an individual who finds themselves on the wrong side of coronavirus.

Now we know that some employers in more normal times will rather lazily assume anyone out of work as partly to blame, but today unemployment is on the rise and your individual circumstances are simply not unusual.

The only way that it can possibly affect your future employment prospects is if it matters to you. If you feel it is a problem, then that will come across to employers. But if you think that your situation is no different to many others and it is not something to dwell on, then it will not influence your chances.

So rather than concentrate on your present predicament, concentrate instead on a targeted job search, a properly prepared CV and understanding how to interview properly, especially online. Those things will make a big difference.

Or call us.

Good luck!

Here is your problem. In the absence of any other strategy, people approach interviews trying to be likeable, trustworthy and passionate.

Not bad as an aim in itself, except that employers see lots of people who tick those boxes. But when they are recruiting what are they looking for?

Normally a solution to a problem. And in times of stress like this, it is normally a short-term problem.

They may not find somebody with exactly the right experience who has solved this problem before. But they will recognise the person when they see them.

Now nobody is suggesting that if you’ve been working in hotels all your life you have the right experience to suddenly become a brain surgeon. But in many other walks of life, skills are transferable. Salespeople in one industry can generally do well in another, especially if the profile of the customer is similar.

Likewise technical experts may benefit from 20 years with such and such technology, but in reality technology is changing so fast most people have no more than a year’s experience in any of it.

So recruiters are looking for people who solve problems. Whether on the front desk, whether managing a team of people, foreign customer support. But they want to understand that you can recognise problems and how you solve them. If you demonstrate this to people at an interview, they will listen. If you communicate it in the right way they will remember you.

But they see plenty of nice, 120% committed, likeable people. And that is not enough.

Sometimes you have a final interview for the job of your dreams.  You can’t be certain you will get it, how do you give yourself the best chance?

You’ve been out of work for six weeks and this role would just change your life. How do you improve your chances, make yourself more relaxed, come across less desperate for the role?

The quickest way is to line up some other interviews for other roles. I see too many jobseekers who find something they really like the look of, convince themselves they have a strong chance of being selected and then turn off their job search.

It is at precisely the point where you are getting close to something that you should not turn off your job search. The ability to genuinely convince recruiters that you are pursuing a number of different avenues makes you more desirable, it takes the pressure off you and it gives you a Plan B.

I have never gambled, but I understand the analogy. On roulette, only the reckless would put all their chips on red if you wanted to continue playing. But you could confidently put the same number on if you had 10 times that number sitting next to you. 

Spread your bet, increase your chances. And become more confident. 

A much better way to success.