My Pet Hate – The Unedited CV!

By Helen Chard

When asked to write this blog – I started to wonder what was worthy of writing – the answer, what takes up most of my time when searching for the ideal candidate.

Over the past 7 years I have spent thousands of hours poring over CV’s. From CEO’s and professionals with Masters and Doctorates – many being from the most prestigious universities (I spent time in Cambridge!) to the unemployed.

It amazes me that someone can produce a tidy Facebook page but when it comes to a CV, it can be a jumbled mess – a complete enigma that we recruitment consultants continually decipher.

There are no two ways about it – condensing all your skills and experience into one slick document can be challenging. You’re not born knowing how to write a great CV, so it’s up to you to find out for yourself how to get the basics right. From font size and format to photos and filling in the gaps, there is a certain etiquette that should rarely be broken. Recruiters and employers receive constant streams of applications don’t let a basic mistake send yours straight to the bottom of the pack.

How long should a CV be?
When it comes to length, try to think of your CV as a tasty appetiser that will get people coming back for more. It should be around 2 pages long to ensure that you get your message across quickly, without dragging on like an old encyclopedia, boring employers and recruiters.

If you feel your experience is as good as gold (and listing it all will make you a shoe-in for the job), don’t worry too much about going over. Just be sure to keep it at 3 pages or less.

What do employers look for in a CV?
They want someone who has the right skills and knowledge to do the job at hand, so this need to come across in your CV. If you have the exact experience they are looking for, make sure it is clear – don’t make them read between the lines or join the dots. Spell everything out for them. If you don’t have the perfect profile for the role but know you can do it, highlight your transferrable skills. It’s always important to research your target roles beforehand to find out exactly what they are looking for in an applicant.

What font should I use in my CV?
The saying ‘keep it simple stupid’ exists for a reason and is a principle that applies here. Forget cursive text that makes your CV look like a Disney picture, and best you steer clear of colour altogether. Nice symbols, though. Use a simple font that looks professional and is easy for recruiters and employers to read. Size matters too – you can’t go wrong if you stick around the 10/12pt mark.

Should I include a photo on my CV?
Your best selfie needn’t grace its presence on your CV. There is no need to include one on your CV. It will take up space that could be better used with text that demonstrates the value of hiring you. Show them how you’re so much more than just a pretty face.

Do I include all my experience on my CV?
You should include all your experience on your CV for transparency, but older or irrelevant roles can be shortened down to brief summaries. All your previous roles were NOT created equal. It is important to bring out the most relevant points and let other bits take the backseat.

Should I include my date of birth on my CV?
Age is only a number, right? Employers should not make recruitment decisions based on a candidate’s age, so there’s no need to include your date of birth.

Should I hide employment gaps on my CV?
Take the guesswork out of your CV. You don’t want recruiters or employers scratching their heads trying to fill the gaps themselves, so if you have long periods of unemployment you should be up front and explain them. Keep this short and sweet, after all, it’s just to let them know what was keeping you occupied during that time. Ideally use constructive reasons such as personal projects, study or travelling.

Do I need a cover letter?
Typing a personalised cover letter shows you are serious about your career and the opportunity.  It should paint a clear picture of who you are and what you are looking for, and why you want to engage in further conversation.

Should I include references in my CV?
Employers shouldn’t contact references until they have intentions of potentially offering you the job – it has however been known to happen. You don’t need to list them on your CV, instead a one-liner like ‘references available upon request’ will do the trick.

And if in doubt – GOOGLE – there are templates, job specifications and information at the touch of a button. So, if you can use Facebook you can certainly compose a CV which is legible and flowing.

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Why don’t you call me no more?

By Justine Eden, Director – Eden Ritchie RecruitmentJustine Eden

As coined in the lyrics of one of the great Prince songs, the Master of Music (RIP Legend) laments the fact that the one person he wants to hear from can’t even pick up the phone.

Likewise, I am amazed by the number of executives who, when applying for roles, simply hit submit. Why don’t they want to talk?

Wouldn’t they want to get behind the position description (that is so often outdated – a story for another blog) and better understand the key aspects of this role and organisation? Wouldn’t this intel better inform their application and allow them to nail what it is that the hiring manager is looking for?

I agree that often the person listed on the ad is not always the most informed or helpful – but persevere. Make sure you have a few relevant questions to ask when you do connect with someone able to share key information with you. Use this as a key opportunity to connect and build rapport.

I get to work across a great number of organisations and with leaders from every technical specialisation. I can attest to the many number of times when people recall a phone conversation with an interested applicant and want to meet them in person.

It’s all you need – that foot in the door. The interview – isn’t that what the application is all about? Blindly applying for your next career role and winging an interview is not an effective tactic. I don’t understand how an applicant can sit in an interview and stress how enthusiastic they are about the opportunity when they haven’t done their research up front.

Also, the stock standard application is not effective. If you are serious about your career and your search, you have to invest the time into it. Tailor your letter to the specifics of this role and organisation. Pick out the key words in the ad and the position description and aim to include them (ensure relevance) in your resume.

And please check your work! Incorrect names, spelling errors, leaving the details on a letter relating to a different role/organisation – yes, sadly I see this a lot. I look forward to hearing from you.

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter, or call on +61 7 3230 0033.

5 types of people you’ll meet in every workplace

By Ben Wright

Ben Wright

I recently read an article that resonated, on the 5 types of personalities that you will find in every workplace and couldn’t resist sharing it with my networks. While each working environment can differ greatly according to its industry, scale and company culture, you are still bound to come across these personalities within the workplace.

Learning how to spot these people and work with them will help you build a stronger working relationship and support your own professional development.

  • The office gossip: Now this may be a stereotype, however there’s usually one lingering in the workplace – just waiting to pass on the latest gossip and titbits to colleagues. How do you get around this? Build a rapport by talking about the latest news and celeb gossip but avoid engaging in negative talk about other staff or even the company in general. Engaging with the office gossip can sometimes come back to bite you, so keep it upbeat, positive and about non-work related matters.
  • The noise-cancelling headphone wearer: Does your colleague insist on wearing their headphone or play rather loud music for the duration of the day? This personality can sometimes be tricky to work with, at first it may seem that they are disengaging from their co-workers, but don’t take it to heart. Studies show, depending on the individual, listening to music can increase a workers productivity. If you need to ask them a question, a simple wave or smile will get their attention- alternatively if they are ‘’in the zone’’ send them a quick email.
  • The team cheerleader: If your colleague’s energy level is through the roof before you’ve had your first coffee for the day and they seem to thrive on praising the good work of others – you’re working with a cheerleader. Don’t be suspicious of cheerleaders, appreciate that they have the best intentions, and play a vital role in boosting team morale. Embrace their positivity and make an effort to sing their praises once in a while in return.
  • The negative nancy: The polar opposite to cheerleaders, a negative nancy is generally the person in the workplace who rebuts the ideas of others, is reluctant to try new things and gravitates towards explaining why something won’t work. Don’t write these people off as being a downer, and understand that they are trying not to take the wind out of their co-workers’ sails. They often like to think of themselves as being pragmatic and realistic, so consider their opinions as much as anyone else’s to rally them, suggest you give that new thing a try and see how it goes – if it doesn’t work out they can always say they told you so.
  • The overachiever: You can spot overachievers a mile away!! They’re the busy bee that has a stack of projects on their desk, is always rushing off to the next meeting, insists on arriving early and staying late and always puts their hand up to volunteer for new work. While overachievers can sometimes seem to be exhausting to the uninitiated, these ambitious colleagues thrive on success. Look at them for guidance on managing your workload and bringing your A-Game.

Understanding how each of these personalities operates is key to managing a productive team.

Which type are you?

To tailor or not to tailor!

To tailor or not to tailor?? This is the big question … my answer is ALWAYS!! 1D6A0634

Whether it’s a good suit, an expensive pair of pants, a fitted jacket… if it doesn’t fit perfectly… tailor it and then it will!  A CV is no exception … ALWAYS tailor it to each and EVERY role! It could be the absolute difference between getting the interview or not, from standing out in a pile of applications or being cast aside.

I have been meeting with a number of candidates recently who are not in the job market by choice, but because of a downturn in their sector of expertise. Some are going through outplacement services and some are paying for expert advice and guidance.

With 18 years in the recruitment industry, what can I advise these people to do to make them stand out from the crowd? How can I lessen the burden they are feeling? How can I give them advice on the ‘professional’ advice they have already been given?

It can be so frustrating to read a ‘vanilla’ CV. I recently assisted a candidate who I know has acted in a CFO capacity for almost a year, their CV was two pages long and said their most recent position was ‘Management Accountant’… great role but not Acting CFO or Financial Controller or Finance Manager as I knew this candidate to be.

I told this person not to undersell themselves, to which they replied “I was told that my CV should not be longer than two pages and I should not be looking for a CFO role if I hope to get a job in this terrible market” WRONG!! This is not a terrible market, it is a competitive market and you need to do what you can to stand out.

My advice is simple, look at the role you are applying for, read the job spec or the advert, call the contact person to find out more about the skills and cultural fit required, and tailor your CV to it. Look at the prerequisites and if you satisfy most of them, highlight them in your CV. Put your best CV forward … each and every time.

Don’t even get me started on the ‘two page CV’ advice – how can a senior candidate who has the right experience, the right attributes and expertise ever get their CV down to two pages? Don’t get me wrong, recruiters or hiring managers don’t want to read a 20 page CV either … it is about keeping it clear, concise and to the point, but more importantly than anything, it’s about making it relevant to the position you are applying for.

The New Director General Queensland Health – Michael Walsh

By Monique O’Rielley                                                                      Monique O'Rielley

This morning Eden Ritchie hosted a table at the ACHSM Breakfast where the new Director General of Queensland Health, Mr Michael Walsh was introduced. The event was hugely popular and the presentation was in regards to the priorities and challenges for Queensland Health from now to 2016 and beyond. To secure your copy of Mr Walsh’s presentation click here.

Mr Walsh has entered his new position at the finalisation of “The Hunter Review” (which is actually next month’s breakfast topic). He covered off a few of the changes being implemented including new organisational structures and governance.

The main challenge facing the health industry is the proposed decrease in funding in the near future, yet still providing optimal patient care throughout the state. Keeping this in mind, the top priorities and new initiatives, including election commitments, to be tackled are:

  • Nursing Workforce (nurse navigators, school-aged nursing services)
  • Patient Safety & Quality (nurse/patient ratio, central improvement service)
  • Mental Health (Day Respite Centres, Intensive Services for young people, Acute inpatient adolescent services, support workshops & other interventions)
  • Preventative Health & Health Promotion (targeting preventative illnesses/diseases ie diabetes and cardiac disease)
  • Outpatient Long Wait Reduction Strategy
  • Hospital & Health Facility Investment (new Sunshine Coast Public Hospital, expansions & redevelopments of existing, enhancement of regional hospitals programs)

The aim of these strategies is to keep people healthy while providing safe and time efficient services within a sustainable system into the future. Early intervention in these areas should, in theory, stop the increased risk of illnesses/diseases progressing into more complicated/complex cases, which will put a strain on the public healthcare system.

Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

What do your social media profiles say about you?

Todays job hunt no longer consists of flicking through classified and endless pages of results on job boards. Everyday new social media platforms are being released and used by job seekers and recruiters alike. Not surprising considering social professional networks are the fastest source of quality hires globally – and this has increased 73% over the past 4 years.

They say ‘first impressions last’! Well in the social media soaked world we live in we no longer have the ability to make that first impression in person with a smart suit or firm hand shake; this is now made through review of your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ …

So, where are you showcasing your ‘personal brand’? Where are you promoting your professional expertise? Are these platforms projecting a positive image for a prospective employer? Are they ‘employer friendly’?

Tips for creating a professional digital impression:

  • Google yourself … Then review all of your social media accounts from the perspective of a potential employer
  • Delete/Untag inappropriate photos
  • Remove posts that could be potentially offensive (i.e. Race, gender, religion, or politics. These things can be taken out of context)
  • Contribute to relevant forums and discussions
  • Review your grammar and spelling
  • Keep content up to date

92% of recruiters use social networking sites so whether you are actively seeking employment or not – remember we are looking at your profiles.

Make these sites work for you. There are endless sites with tips and information about how to better use each of the platforms to boost your job prospects. Eg.Mashable: The Ultimate Social Network Job Searching Guide

Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Post and Pray vs. Passive Candidates

So what does “Post and Pray” mean? This is where you place a job advertisement and hope that great candidates with the right qualifications apply. As recruiting experts, we tend to disagree. I would much prefer to have control, which is why I am so interested in passive candidates in the market place.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

So what is a passive candidate? A passive candidate isn’t necessarily looking for work, but they may be interested if the right job comes along. Employers often actively seek passive candidates, especially when they looking for people with very specific skills and experience.

When employers proactively recruit candidates, it’s called candidate sourcing and companies may look for candidates via LinkedIn and social networking sites, as well as working with recruiters to find qualified applicants.

Naturally many employers still choose to use the “post and pray” approach. More fool you in my opinion, but even I would have to concede that if used correctly this can play a role in helping you find the right person for that job. To ensure you get a better match of applicants to your post, make sure you use strategic keywords, keep the job description relevant and brief, and set the right expectations from the start. This can mean the difference between sorting through hundreds of unsuitable resumes to receiving a steady flow of qualified talent.

Recently I shortlisted for an administration role which had been advertised as “post and pray” through an external source, and there were over 250 applications…from which I struggled to find 10 suitable candidates to interview. Surely there is something wrong here, so forget the “post and pray” and start marketing your jobs in a way that influences the calibre of candidates you get.

Remember to visit our newly launched website for all your career information – www.edenritchie.com.au and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter