Your CV Summary for Job Search

Your CV Summary for Job Search

CV summary – you would be surprised how many CVs I see that do not include a short personal profile at the top of the first page. Instead they plunge straight into the work history giving the reader not a clue about the person doing the work.These kinds of CV are much less likely to catch a recruiter/future employer’s eye.

So what should you include in your short summary?

Your personal profile should summarise your;
• Skills and qualities
• Work background and achievements
• Career aims.

It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader’s attention. Try to avoid using terms that a lot of candidates will use, such as ‘reliable’, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’, ‘good communication skills’ etc. These general terms are heard so often they don’t help an employer to build up a real picture of you.

Instead, for example, if the job involves working with people, try to highlight relevant, specific people skills such as: negotiating, dealing with demanding customers, presentation skills, resolving conflict, or showing empathy. These help the reader build up more of a picture than saying you’re a good team-worker and an effective communicator. However, be brief – you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.

Include keywords relevant to the kind of work you seek or are applying for. (When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for; eg ‘Facilities Manager’ or ‘Corporate Real Estate”. These words or phrases are known as keywords.) Many recruitment companies make use of software to sift job applications based on a keyword search.

When you’re summarising your career aims, think about the employer you are sending your CV to. It will hit home with employers if your career aims sound exactly like the kind of opportunities they currently have or are likely to provide in future.

Try to relate your summary to the job description or, if you’re sending your CV on spec, what you think the employer is looking for.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories
  • Career Development: When it is time for a change!
  • Career Development: When You Have to Reapply For Your Own Job

Job Search: Make sure you include your personal profile/summary in your CV

Job Search: Make sure you include your personal profile/summary in your CV

You would be surprised how many CVs I see that do not include a short personal profile at the top of the first page. Instead they plunge straight into the work history giving the reader not a clue about the person doing the work.These kinds of CV are much less likely to catch a recruiter/future employer’s eye.

So what should you include in your short summary?

Your personal profile should summarise your;
• Skills and qualities
• Work background and achievements
• Career aims.

It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader’s attention. Try to avoid using terms that a lot of candidates will use, such as ‘reliable’, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’, ‘good communication skills’ etc. These general terms are heard so often they don’t help an employer to build up a real picture of you.

Instead, for example, if the job involves working with people, try to highlight relevant, specific people skills such as: negotiating, dealing with demanding customers, presentation skills, resolving conflict, or showing empathy. These help the reader build up more of a picture than saying you’re a good team-worker and an effective communicator. However, be brief – you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.

Include keywords relevant to the kind of work you seek or are applying for. (When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for; eg ‘Facilities Manager’ or ‘Corporate Real Estate”. These words or phrases are known as keywords.) Many recruitment companies make use of software to sift job applications based on a keyword search.

When you’re summarising your career aims, think about the employer you are sending your CV to. It will hit home with employers if your career aims sound exactly like the kind of opportunities they currently have or are likely to provide in future.

Try to relate your summary to the job description or, if you’re sending your CV on spec, what you think the employer is looking for.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories
  • Career Development: When it is time for a change!
  • Career Development: When You Have to Reapply For Your Own Job

Do you include a profile statement in your CV?

Do you include a profile statement in your CV?

Profile statement – A few thoughts on the value of including a short summary profile at the top of your CV!

This profile is sometimes called the career summary, personal profile statement, profile statement, resume summary, and summary of qualifications. All refer to profiling your key qualifications for a particular job on your résumé.

The profile sums up your skills and experience, and it can include your career goals. This is a part of your CV that you should certainly tailor to the particular needs of the specific job for which you are applying. These are the headline words that will flag up to a recruiter why you are right for the role.

Essentially, a profile is a very condensed and targeted version of a cover letter. And there are clear benefits to including a good one. It can help you stand out among the hundreds of applications companies receive. Most employers spend only a few seconds looking at your CV, and most of this time is spent looking at the top half of it. So, even if a potential employer reads only your profile (located directly beneath your name and contact information), they will still have a clear idea of how uniquely well fitted you are for the role.

In addition, your profile can include Keywords that will help your application get picked up by the recruiting management software that many companies use now use to screen applications.

Keep your profile concise – between one and four short sentences and you can use bullet points. Focus on the requirements for the job and what you have to offer. Overall, integrate your employment history and skills into the qualifications listed for the job – make sure right at first glance, you look like the best candidate.

Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation allows you to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

Job Search:Do you include a “profile” in your CV?

Job Search:Do you include a “profile” in your CV?

A few thoughts on the value of including a short summary profile at the top of your CV!

This profile is sometimes called the career summary, personal profile statement, profile statement, resume summary, and summary of qualifications. All refer to profiling your key qualifications for a particular job on your résumé.

The profile sums up your skills and experience, and it can include your career goals. This is a part of your CV that you should certainly tailor to the particular needs of the specific job for which you are applying. These are the headline words that will flag up to a recruiter why you are right for the role.

Essentially, a profile is a very condensed and targeted version of a cover letter. And there are clear benefits to including a good one. It can help you stand out among the hundreds of applications companies receive. Most employers spend only a few seconds looking at your CV, and most of this time is spent looking at the top half of it. So, even if a potential employer reads only your profile (located directly beneath your name and contact information), they will still have a clear idea of how uniquely well fitted you are for the role.

In addition, your profile can include Keywords that will help your application get picked up by the recruiting management software that many companies use now use to screen applications.

Keep your profile concise – between one and four short sentences and you can use bullet points. Focus on the requirements for the job and what you have to offer. Overall, integrate your employment history and skills into the qualifications listed for the job – make sure right at first glance, you look like the best candidate.

Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation allows you to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

Job Search: How To Add Value To Your CV And Make It Jump Out From The Pile

Add Value To Your CV

Job Search: How To Add Value To Your CV And Make It Jump Out From The Pile

We all know that recruiters find themselves faced with piles of CVs/Resumes to sift.  How do you make your CV jump out of the pile and on to the desk as selected for interview. Well, when you write your it,  it helps to keep in mind why you are doing it.

At its most basic, A CV is a short list of facts about you and your work history, skills, qualifications and experience. A good CV is essential when looking for work and it is worth spending time getting it right. It needs to show you as valuable to any potential employer.

So what will a recruiter be looking for?

Well certainly your CV should:

  • Be neat, certainly typed, without typos, and to the best standard you can achieve in content and layout
  • Be short, 2 sides of a sheet of A4 paper is usually enough
  • Be positive, it should emphasize your achievements, strengths, successes
  • Make a good impression. This means presenting the facts about you in a positive way.

I hope you are going to

  • Send your CV with a covering letter or email asking companies if they have any current or future vacancies.
  • Send your CV when applying for advertised vacancies
  • Use your CV to help you remember all the dates and information you need each time you need to fill in an application form.
  • Use it to jog your memory when applying for jobs by phone – it can help if you are asked to give more information about previous jobs.
  • Have your CV with you while you’re waiting to be called in to an interview to help refresh your memory.
  • You can also leave a copy with the interviewer if they do not already have one!

Sometimes recruitment agencies ask to see your CV before you can register with them.

So your CV is a way of letting a potential employer know just what value they will get if they employ you. This should be you marketing the most valuable product you have – yourself! Therefore it is going to be much more than just a list of roles.

For each role you do include, you need to show how in that role you added value.

When you have done that you can then lay claim to the associated competencies.

For example, if you led a team;

  • Why did they exist
  • Where did you lead them
  • What did they achieve as a result of your leadership?
  • What was your contribution and what hurdles did you have to overcome
  • What value was delivered?

How does that information provide evidence to support your claim to the competence of leadership?

STAR stories make you a star

Remember  STAR stories – for each one you include your job title and how long you were employed in the role, then set out briefly;

Situation – Describe the situation/problem you were faced with
Task – what did you have to do?
Action – what action did you take and why.
Results – highlight the outcome and the value delivered

Use a summary of your STAR stories to add value to your CV and show how you will add value for any new employer!

Meanwhile if there is advice you would like or questions you would like answered, please get in touch!

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

  • Refresh Your Job Search In 2013
  • Job Search – Standing Out From the Crowd
  • Job Search – Getting On With The Interview Panel

Asking for a Job Reference

Asking for a Job Reference

Asking for a Job Reference – if you are applying for a job, you can expect the recruiter to ask for a reference. They will ask for, at least two and probably three of your references. And they will check them out. So you need to be prepared.

It is a good idea to have a number of potential referees for you to choose from. But the recruiter is likely to expect to see the details of your most recent employer. This is one reason why it is always a good idea to leave on good terms. This is even if you have been made redundant. However, you can include other people too, if they know your work and your capabilities.

For example, if you volunteer you could ask a senior manager from within the voluntary organization. They may be prepared to give you a personal reference. If you have recently left college, you should certainly include your course tutor. Business acquaintances, suppliers and former clients can also make good referees.

You need to ask the referee’s permission before you give out their details. Even if they have agreed in principle, you should ask them whether they would be happy to provide a reference on this occasion. I know someone who lost an opportunity when they quoted the name of a referee who had past history with the recruiter. If the candidate had checked he would have had forewarning that this was a possibility

You need to know that your referees will respond quickly and that what they say will be positive. Some people don’t like to say no, when asked for a reference. Then the reference they provide is either vague or lukewarm. This usually works to your disadvantage; particularly if the recruiters follows up the letter they receive with a telephone call.

Have an idea what your referee is going to say

Only ask people to be referees if they really do know you well enough to provide a reference that means something.

It is important to have a good idea of what they are going to say about your background and your performance. Keep them briefed on what you have been doing. It is a good idea to offer them an up to date copy of your CV. You can point out, for example which of your competencies are likely fit most closely to the job you are applying for. If they need further guidance on what to write there are examples of reference letters at this link.

When you leave a position, always ask for a recommendation letter for your future use from your manager. Over time, people move on and others lose track. But if you have that letter you have a record you can share.

Giving a reference

And when, in due course, you are asked to provide a reference, play fair.

Never, never say yes, if you don’t feel you can write a sincere recommendation. “Damning with faint praise” is still damning and in this job climate, I believe it is unforgivable!

If you have tips for others, please pass them on.

Working with a coach can make all the difference in your job search – my email address is below.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Help Me Get A Job – Providing A Reference

Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife

Help Me Get A Job – Providing A Reference

If you are applying for a job, you can expect the recruiter to ask for, and check out, at least two and probably three of your references. So you need to be prepared.

It is a good idea to have a number of potential referees for you to choose from. But the recruiter is likely to expect to see the details of your most recent employer. This is one reason why it is always a good idea to leave on good terms, even if you have been made redundant. But you can include other people too, if they know your work and your capabilities.

For example, if you volunteer you could ask a senior manager from within the voluntary organization if they would be prepared to give you a personal reference. If you have recently left college, you should certainly include your course tutor. Business acquaintances, suppliers and former clients can also make good referees.

But you do need to ask the referee’s permission, before you give out their details. Even if they have agreed in principle, you should ask them whether they would be happy to provide a reference on this occasion. I know someone who lost an opportunity when they quoted the name of a referee who had past history with the recruiter. If the candidate had checked he would have had forewarning that this was a possibility

You need to know that your referees will respond quickly and that what they say will be positive. Some people don’t like to say no, when asked for a reference. But then the reference they provide is either vague or lukewarm. This usually works to your disadvantage,particularly if the recruiters follows up the letter they receive with a telephone call.

Only ask people to be referees if they really do know you well enough to provide a reference that means something.

It is important to have a good idea of what they are going to say about your background and your performance. Keep them briefed on what you have been doing and it is a good idea to offer them an up to date copy of your CV. If they need further guidance on what to write there are examples of reference letters at this link.

When you leave a position always ask for a recommendation letter for your future use from your manager. Over time, people move on and others lose track. But if you have that letter you have a record you can share.

And when in due course you are asked to provide a reference, play fair.

Never, never say yes, if you don’t feel you can write a sincere recommendation. “Damning with faint praise” is still damning and in this job climate, I believe it is unforgivable!

If you have tips for others, please pass them on.

Working with a coach can make all the difference in your job search – my email address is below.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Learning to Lead – Giving that Presentation

  • Monday Quotes for Leaders and Managers – Management and Motivation

  • Job Search – Saying Thank You After The Interview Is A Must

Identifying transferable skills; a core ingredient of a successful career change

Today’s guest post is from Sian Case of Nail That Job.  With a small and friendly support team, they can help you at every stage of your job search journey.

I’m a recruiter and trainer of recruiters who also supports job seekers from a wide range of industries to present themselves effectively to prospective employers.

I think that most job seekers are aware that they have transferable skills but are rarely confident about identifying or describing them clearly. This is vital when you are looking for work in new fields and have to convince a recruiter that you can achieve tasks in unfamiliar settings.

Let’s start with a definition: transferable skills are effective behaviours and application of knowledge and understanding that you have learned from all your life experiences so far. You are used to displaying them in one particular context and are perfectly capable of transferring them to new contexts.

I often recommend the STAR technique, described in Wendy’s blog on CV writing, part 2:
Situation – describe the situation/issue you were dealing with
Task – what, specifically, did you have to do?
Action- what action did you take?
Result – what was the outcome/impact for your organisation/team/customer/end user of your service?

I’ve found that a useful way to identify transferable skills is to apply the STAR format to 4 or 5 examples of achievements from life experiences, not work experiences. I’ve heard some cracking achievements described from time spent on travelling, childcare, supporting elderly/vulnerable relatives, voluntary work, organising social activities, running sports or interest societies, local community campaigning, etc.

The key learning from this exercise is to discover just how many core work skills, (e.g. prioritising, decision making, managing stress, planning and organising, influencing skills, leadership experience, team working, budgeting, etc.) you learned in a non-work context and currently use those skills daily in paid employment. It also demonstrates to a potential employer that you understand how to assess, describe and evaluate the transferable skills you have to offer and that you are still learning.  You have the capacity to build your skills further in new contexts in response to new demands.

I’d really encourage all job seekers who are looking to change direction significantly to build at least one core skill into your CV that you first practised in a non- work environment. Try it and see how it enhances the issues of flexibility and versatility on your CV.

Sian Case

Email:  sian@nailthatjob.co.uk  Phone: 01789 740948

Website  http://www.nailthatjob.co.uk

  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing Your CV Part 2 Making Choices (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 3 Pondering on CVs; language,confidentiality, competencies and referees! (leavingthepublicsector.net)

Writing your CV! Part 3 Pondering on CVs; language,confidentiality, competencies and referees!

This post is concerned with the particular issues faced by those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CV.

I’m going to comment on language, confidentiality, competencies and references.

Language

A recent post here set out the reasons why public sector jargon needs to be avoided in CVs and job interviews.  Keep your language clear and simple.  When in doubt ask a non-public sector friend to read it and give you honest advice on clarity.

Confidentiality

Some public sector staff work in areas where the issues of confidentiality are real and significant.  But in all honesty most do not!  If you do, there will be clear guidance available.  You should consult your HR department about what you can say and how best to overcome the barriers to you getting a new role.

Most public sector staff do not work under the same restrictions.  The reality is that you can record on your CV the kind of work you have been doing.  Of course you should avoid information; under a security classification, relating to an individual member of the public or a fellow staff member, likely to embarrass the organisation or  Government Minister for which you have worked.

Most people will be able to describe their work in sufficient detail for a CV.  But see the comments made in the next section about how you do it.

Competencies

In my last post I included a list of skills and personal qualities (competencies) that employers are likely to look for. The list was by no means an exhaustive.

When you complete your employment history, try to show how your approach and your achievements demonstrate the competencies you quote.

For example, putting together a team and then driving through an initiative to improve the service to customers while reducing costs illustrates a number of competencies.  It can be understood quite easily by those outside the public sector.

Experience of project and programme management again can be understood outside the public sector and can be used to illustrate planning, organizing and delivering benefits when applying for roles in small to medium-sized organizations that do not have large projects for you to manage.

Those who have worked very close to Ministers managing legislation have had to use planning and organizing skills.  They are also likely to have demonstrated tact and discretion. If you have worked in difficult and sensitive areas  including policy discussions with Ministers (where influencing skills, relationship management, tact and discretion were needed, as well as the ability to be flexible and adaptable) this should be included but with discretion.

Think in terms of the competencies as you write descriptions of the work you have done.  Think in terms of organisations, tasks, problems solved and people influenced.  Describe the tasks you have completed in terms that others will understand and focus on what you delivered and how you delivered.

References

Some government departments will only offer bland references as your employer.  You will need their reference.   But it may only be a confirmation that you worked for them in a particular grade over a particular period of time.

Most large private sector employers know this – for others you may have to explain.  But you will need something more.  Try asking your line manager or someone in your management line if they would be prepared to give you a personal reference.   Also consider approaching retired senior colleagues and others who have left organisation.

It helps as well if you can provide a personal referee who holds a senior position in the private sector.  This is where people you have met during work in a voluntary capacity may be useful. Otherwise, consider people who you have met through clubs and associations.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about asking for a reference, most people feel flattered to be asked But you should always give people the opportunity to say no and make quite clear that you will understand if they feel they simply don’t know you well enough to help.

I would welcome your thoughts on all this and I am very happy to answer questions.

  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Watch your language – it’s a different world out there! (leavingthepublicsector.net)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices

Curriculum Vitae
  

In my last post I suggested that the following information should be in your CV:

  1. Contact details – name, address, post code, telephone number, e-mail address
  2. A short summary with Keywords for recruiters
  3. Skills and personal qualities (Competencies)
  4. Employment history and experience
  5. Qualifications, professional memberships and achievements
  6. Education and training
  7. Any special skills e.g. driving licence
  8. Interests and hobbies if relevant
  9. Referees

I mentioned as well that there are different styles of CVs.

  • A ‘traditional’ CV that lists everything in date order starting with your education and qualifications, followed by your employment history, interests etc.
  • A ‘more ‘informal’ CV starts that starts with a pen picture of yourself which highlights your skills and experience relevant to the job.
  • Variations and combinations of the two above

Here I’m going to provide you with some advice to help you complete 1 to 9 above

1. Your contact details, name address etc should be simple to complete but have a care on your email address.  This is the time for a simple and straightforward email address – not for a the jokey one that includes your nickname

2. Your summary is an opportunity to show an employer what you will bring to their organization in terms of your key expertise and transferable skills.  It should show how you will make a positive difference to their success. This is a part of your CV that should change in response to the requirements of each particular role.

Begin with previous experience but do not supply too much detail. You can have an intro along the lines of: “With 5 years experience in customer management…”. Only if it is very relevant to this particular job application be exact here – details will come later.

Use key words to focus the reader’s attention on the key skills that you want to highlight: for example, “multi-disciplinary team leadership”. This will put emphasis on more reasons why you may well be the candidate for the job.

When you have established an outline of your background and your skills it is time to look at the future.  You can state what you’re looking for and where you would like to go.  Alter your goals here marginally depending upon the job you’re applying for; for example, “seeking to further develop my career in the field of project management”.

3.” Skills and personal qualities” are usually a list and the kinds of skills that employers look for include

  • Leadership and management
  • Effective communication
  • Problem-solving and Decision Making
  • Creativity
  • Customer Focus
  • Interpersonal abilities
  • Influencing and persuading others
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and organizing
  • Computer literacy 

Highly regarded personal qualities include

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Professionalism and work ethic 
  • Positive attitude and energy

If you can make a claim to these qualities – it is reasonable to include them here!  Add any others you think may be relevant.

4. In describing your employment history, concentrate very much on the last ten years and what you have delivered.  This is where you draw on your STAR stories.  For each element include your job title and how long you were employed in the role, then set out briefly;

  • Situation – Describe the situation/problem you were faced with
  • Task – what did you have to do?
  • Action – what action did you take and why.
  • Results – highlight the outcome

Experience previous to the last ten years should be very much summarized unless it is directly relevant to the role but do not ignore key successes.

5. When setting out your qualifications and achievements include most prominently what is most relevant.

6. On qualifications etc, again go for what is most relevant

7. On special skills, stay with what is relevant and here you could add information from your STAR stories that relate to voluntary activities.

8. I would advise avoiding adding hobbies and interests unless they are directly relevant to the role.

9.. I don’t include the details of referees unless they have been asked for.  But I do add a note to say that they are available and can be supplied on request.  When you do provide contact details for referees remember to warn them to expect an enquiry.

I would welcome your thoughts and I am very happy to answer your questions, if I can.  My next post will discuss particular issues for those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CVs

Related articles
  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Reading between the lines – what a CV can reveal about a job applicant(premierlinedirect.co.uk)
  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439