Plenty of jobseekers do not show their age on their CV. And there is no reason for them to do so.
So we looked through a CV a few weeks ago that was actually quite well laid out. There was some decent qualifications there, although they gave no hint as to when schools and colleges were attended, so we turned to the job history.
Again this stopped in the year 2000, nothing earlier than that was shown. We have no problem with any of this, as I say any jobseeker is perfectly entitled to take any reference to their age off the CV to prevent age discrimination.
Except, having so carefully covered their tracks I look at their email address: John Smith 1957@Gmail.com (apologies to the real John Smith, I have changed the name). I did not need Hercule Poirot to help me out, but I reckon John was born before 1958.
It is amazing how careful you can be and then miss the blindingly obvious isn’t it?
Of course I realise it’s a tough market, and of course there are millions of people looking for work.
But we work with lots of people, and we know that many have poor CVs, are looking for jobs in the wrong places, and are putting themselves at the back of the queue when it comes to their job search.
The problem is, most of us panic when we are out of work. And most of us think we know better than anyone else about their career.
We work with individuals at all levels. And do you know what? Few have a high enough opinion of their own experience and their own abilities. So they rarely communicate just what a positive effect they have had on their previous employers. If you don’t tell people how good you are, no one will guess it.
There’s a whole load of technology that sifts and filters applications, especially when those recruiting are receiving 1000s of them. Most of it is common sense and a great help to sift through potential candidates.
But if you do not realise it is there, if you do not know how it works, then you might think a friendly human face is going to make an inspired choice and choose your CV. Computers won’t do that, especially if you don’t play their game.
And employers are now using remote technology to interview and shortlist. You won’t understand how a poor online interview can make you look terrible. Some simple steps can make you look far better than anyone else. But if you have not been told, then you don’t have much of a chance.
We see this the whole time, and we can change people’s chances in just a few weeks. As plenty of testimonials will show.
It doesn’t cost much, but talk to the professionals. We really can make a difference.
When you write your CV, or get an expert to do it for you, remember it needs to achieve just one thing – get you interviews.
Are you applying for roles that you think are perfect for you but that interview invitation just isn’t coming your way? It could just be that your CV is not doing you and your career justice.
For your CV to make an instant impact with a recruiter they need to find the information they need to see within around six seconds.
As CV experts, we know what those things are and how to put your CV together so they are visible and so are you.
You’d go to a dentist with a toothache, why not use a CV writing expert to produce your CV?
The Internet has changed everything. With one click of the mouse you can apply to hundreds of jobs, but so can everyone else.
While it is easier to apply, it is much more difficult to stand out.
And it is more difficult for companies to choose the right one, so the way they view and sift applications has also changed.
Because just as machines have helped with applications, they are also doing a lot of the selection. Programs that look at relevance, experience, character, stability and many other factors. Sifting began with simple pre-qualifying questions, but now some recruiters use sophisticated readers to scan application letters and CVs against specific criteria. Scary.
As we go increasingly mobile, recruitment decisions are now being made on mobile phones and iPads rather than paper. So you need to ensure your CV will stand up to scrutiny and out from the crowd when viewed in these new formats.
So, what can you do?
First of all, read the advertisement carefully. What is the company looking for? Look at your CV, especially the “profile” section. Savvy applicants now make sure this profile matches almost exactly what is requested in the advertisement.
This is not for the benefit of humans, who rarely read profiles, but for computers who never tire of them.
Whether you are submitting a CV or attending an interview, the initial impact you make will broadly determine the outcome of the process.
In fact it can be as little as five seconds during which a lot of decisions are made.
Take the humble CV, for instance. Tests have shown that a recruiter will make up a decision about a candidate’s CV in between 6 and 8 seconds.
Admittedly that decision may be a definite No, a definite Yes and lots of Maybes. They then spend a bit more time on the Maybes, but in eight seconds you might not get that far.
In interview situations, however objective the process, a similar instant reaction, apparently less than five seconds, is made by most of us. It dates back to much earlier times, when your very survival depended upon whether an individual was for you or against you. And we just can’t help using those instincts, whatever process we are asked to go through.
It is not the whole secret to preparing a CV or to attending an interview, but if you are entirely capable, and competent, and you can make a great first impression and you can interview well then you are on the road to success.
If you can’t, you have to work that little bit harder. Learn to make an instant impact and you will do better.
However unfair that is.