Jump to content


Photo

C.V. & Personal Statements


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 MartinofGrim

MartinofGrim

    Member

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 53 posts

Posted 25 February 2009 - 06:36 PM

Hi there,

Over the last six months I have been sending off for numerous jobs that I feel I have been ideally suited to, however, I have only had one interview so far! (I've sent off for 6 jobs) I have done a lot - I have a lot of relevant experience - good qualifications etc. but I must be falling down at the personal statement part (or should I say 'additional information on most forms')

Problem is I have to much to say, I find it hard to edit down, and I find it hard to 'sell' myself, and really pick out what they want to hear.

Does anyone know of any services that help with this sort of thing? Or any VNers work in that area?

#2 teri267

teri267

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 24 posts

Posted 26 February 2009 - 03:50 PM

Hi there,

Over the last six months I have been sending off for numerous jobs that I feel I have been ideally suited to, however, I have only had one interview so far! (I've sent off for 6 jobs) I have done a lot - I have a lot of relevant experience - good qualifications etc. but I must be falling down at the personal statement part (or should I say 'additional information on most forms')

Problem is I have to much to say, I find it hard to edit down, and I find it hard to 'sell' myself, and really pick out what they want to hear.

Does anyone know of any services that help with this sort of thing? Or any VNers work in that area?


Hi MartinofGrim,

Before, I have used the internet to help me by searching for other CV's in the same job field as me. Lots of Recruitment Agency sites have helpful tips, and there are other specific CV writing sites too. If you Google 'Curriculum Vitae' or just 'CV' then there are loads of options to help you. Try listing words which you think describe your skills and experience, and then work them into a paragraph about you. Also use bullet points to illustrate your experience as this cuts out on words and saves space. Other points to note are that you should keep it to a maximum of 3 pages (2 are preferable) and keep everything in the same basic format. Sometimes it is helpful to change your personal statement / experience detail to suit the job you are applying for, so you will have a few different versions of your CV.

I hope this helps a bit? Good luck!

#3 Ziwa

Ziwa

    Member

  • Members 1
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,403 posts

Posted 26 February 2009 - 03:56 PM

Hi MoG, I don't know your line of work, but in mine, which is very competitive, you can send off for 50 positions and not even get an acknowledgement of receipt. For some positions I've been on a search panel for we had 300 applicants for one job. Now, I generally see about 50, even for a position that was a short-term contract (6 months) at post-PhD level. The thing is, you need to play it like a numbers game. If the chances are 1:50 then you are doing well if you even make it to a 'long-short list' with fewer than that many apps.

good luck. its hard work.

Edited by Ziwa, 26 February 2009 - 03:57 PM.


#4 gekko

gekko

    Sponsor

  • Sponsors
  • 4,570 posts

Posted 26 February 2009 - 05:17 PM

Like Ziwa, I've had to sift through over 50 application forms before now. I've never had 300 but it's not uncommon where I work!

When you have that much to get through, it's easy to get irritated by things. In terms of basic CV etiquette, my top tips would be:

1. Length - as someone else has stated, keep your CV to 2 pages and keep it relevant. I don't need to know about every summer job you had but equally I'm suspicious of obvious gaps.
2. Repetition - on application forms, many people cover the same ground in their personal statement as they do in their employment history. The personal statement is your chance to add value and build on the 'brief summary of duties' you've already covered in the employment history section so don't just repeat what your duties.
3. Format - keep it simple. Use one font for the whole CV and three sizes at most - one for the main heading, one for the section heading and one for the main body.
4. Pack a punch - your CV should contain a brief summary at the top that outlines what you are about. What do you do, what is your USP - you live or die by what you write here.
5. Don't include anything that you can't back up at the interview. It's fine to blow your own trumpet, in fact it's absolutely necessary but don't even consider outright lies. They are more obvious to the hiring staff than you realise. Once you've sifted through hundreds of CVs and applications, there isn't much you haven't seen before.
6. Tailor your CV to the job. If you are applying for a job in new media for instance, how can you demonstrate your web savvyness in your CV? Include a link to your blog or an online portfolio of your work. I <b>always<b> check out links as they are can tell you a lot about a person. For that reason, if you are going to include them, your website/blog should be tip-top with no design tardiness.
7. Grammar and spelling - the most important thing! You wouldn't believe how badly written some CVs/applications are; well actually you probably would. The spell checker is your friend and takes two minutes to do. Read through what you've written a thousand times and then get a couple of other people (who are good at grammar) to proof read too. These sorts of mistakes absolutely scream from the page. In fact, you won't need all those different fonts and sizes as a mistake like this is like inserting a huge Wingding in the middle of your CV :o .

In order to help sell yourself, spend some time thinking about the specific job for which this CV/application is intended. You need to learn to project yourself. If you lack confidence, imagine what the confident you would look like. Imagine yourself in this job, doing an amazing job. Imagine yourself at the job interview, giving clear but concise answers and really selling your experience. Imagine it going well and you really gelling with the hiring staff. What are you saying to them? How are you projecting yourself? What is working? Use your imagination and this will help reveal the assets you need to highlight at the application stage. Put yourself in the position of the hiring manager. What are they really looking for? What did they really mean in the job ad by a certain phrase?

I must stop there as I have a train to catch! Good luck with the job search though.
Mel, Forum Moderator

#5 Ziwa

Ziwa

    Member

  • Members 1
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,403 posts

Posted 26 February 2009 - 06:54 PM

All great advice, gekko.
Don't lie, but don't even fib or make assumptions (though do present yourself in the best light).

I know of one situation where someone made the final short list in a major academic search (one of those searches with several hundred applicants) who had written in the list of publications that a paper was 'in press' when it was actually still in review. A member of the search committee called the handling editor, found out it wasn't yet in press, and the candidate was off the list, no questions asked. Academics often have 10-100s of pubs on their CVs (the 2 page limit doesn't work for us!) so this was really digging in to details.

#6 MartinofGrim

MartinofGrim

    Member

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2009 - 07:37 PM

Thank you very much for your replies. Lot's of good advice there. I need time to digest it and I am sure this will serve as good advice to others on this forum too! It's weird, I don't remember it being that difficult to get work a few years ago, I had a good track record and got every job I applied for (well only 2 in 10 years!), the ames getting hard!!!

Thanks again!

#7 Nick

Nick

    Wondering.... always wondering

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,118 posts

Posted 26 February 2009 - 11:44 PM

Martin,

Don't despair. It is affecting a lot of us at the moment. I heard of one bloke who had applied for 600 jobs and got not a single interview. I'm sure that is extreme, but it is going to be difficult with the mess of this economy. I have the joys of explaining this to the Job Centre staff again tomorrow.

Nick
Nick, Forum Moderator

#8 MartinofGrim

MartinofGrim

    Member

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 53 posts

Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:26 AM

I wish there was 600 jobs I could send off for! I am trying to 'widen' my search but alas what was the point of all this experience and education? Anyway on my way to career meeting they're gonna read through my app form and hopefully help me out. Good luck to anyone searching for work...

#9 MartinofGrim

MartinofGrim

    Member

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 53 posts

Posted 28 February 2009 - 11:48 AM

Just to let you know - my career adviser said she though my application was very strong and would be surprised if i didn't get short listed - I'll keep you updated.

#10 Nick

Nick

    Wondering.... always wondering

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,118 posts

Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:21 AM

Fingers crossed for you.
Nick, Forum Moderator

#11 chrissyb

chrissyb

    what shall we make today?

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 156 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:17 PM

Hello,

I'm a bit late with this reply as I don't check VN that regularly but I read this thread with interest. Gekko is quite right in all that she says. However, there is a bit of a golden rule at the moment, which is harsh but true. Demonstrate efficiency and effectiveness above all else. What I mean is, demonstrate how you can clearly do the job of at least 3 people, therefore saving your prospective employee money and use great examples of how you did this.

It's an approach that doesn't sit too comfortably with some people but always put yourself in the shoes of that business. We are in really difficult times and I've interviewed countless people in my career and read hundreds of application forms. What stands out for me is not the usual track of brilliance (Oxbridge, speaks 7 languages, private pilot licence). Yes, great, how wonderful for you. It's about what you did in times of adversity, where you showed flair, ingenuity, stamina and originality in approach - to just about anything. From dealing with being unemployed and everything that throws at you, to teaching yourself to knit while you were off work with a broken leg (and subsequently creating hundreds of strange knitted hats that you sold on eBay), to struggling with motherhood during maternity leave and setting up a support group. That is what I'm after and that is what will make people remember you. Okay, maybe not everyone shares my view and they would prefer the Oxbridge multilingual pilot. However, I'm currently in the long-haul process of training in occupational psychology and fascinated to hear about how people are dealing with the current climate and what it means to get through that and prepare for a working life beyond. My hunch is that this is the number one issue for all employers, to demonstrate how you dealt with this really difficult time. I know I'm tremendously lucky, still in work, probably purely by default of being there so long.

I should add that I'm a strange creature who enjoys reading CVs, looking through application forms and giving advice for what it's worth. Now I'm nowhere near qualified yet but I'm happy to assist anyone who really wants some help and is happy to pay in the form of a drink at the pub (accompanied by Gekko - my "agent" and a grammar fanatic!).

#12 Borgus

Borgus

    Member

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 739 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:24 PM

I once stated that my view of equal opportunities was "Me first! Everyone else equal second." Not too successful then, but could be considered a selling point today. ;)
"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph

#13 MartinofGrim

MartinofGrim

    Member

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 53 posts

Posted 25 March 2009 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for your reply chrissyb, thats food for thought, and may be in touch re: CV & Beer in pub!