Mentor Network: Job Search Journey Insights and writing a CV

My aim with this guide is to give job-seekers the insights, tips, and guidance in order to help you find fulfillment as you navigate the job application process. 

Many job seekers, especially at the entry-level or junior level, apply for roles and do not have a clear understanding of the skills and/or experience needed to be successful in the role so that they can evaluate how their background, experience, and profile matches up to that job. When a job applicant applies for a vacancy with a CV that does not match the role, the application is often declined, and after having many responses which state that your application is unsuccessful, job seekers lose hope and become despondent. 

The truth is that you cannot continuously follow the same process and expect different results and this is especially true when applying for jobs. Confucius says, “insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”. 

Here’s the important note – the job seekers who are perceived to be “lucky” and more successful in their job application process are in fact not lucky and instead, they are the ones who are purposeful, intentional and deliberate about the job searching and application process – they apply a strategy. From my personal experience in having achieved all of the career intentions I had, I know the value and the results that can be attained through being purposeful and following a strategy. 

In this article, I will share insights, provide tips, and give guidance in order to help job seekers find fulfillment while navigating the job search and application process. My intention is to give you a different perspective on how to achieve better results. Some of the insights I will share include networking to get a job, understanding details of a role, and your level of competence in comparison to that role, and I will share some statistics about the realities of job searching. 

Let’s start with some job search statistics. According to TopResume, the following statistics are important to know:  

60 percent of jobs are found through networking — not online and 77 percent of recruiters rely on LinkedIn to find talent. 

While many roles are advertised on company portals and job boards there is a growing trend where HR teams source candidates, from LinkedIn and other career portals, for roles that may not be advertised on a job board. In addition, the landscape of recruitment is changing rapidly in that many hiring managers are actually more involved in sourcing talent for their own vacancies and networking directly with candidates to find gems. The benefit for organizations is that it increases the chances to find the talent they want much quicker and in a more cost-effective manner. 

If you are connected with a hiring manager, you may be contacted for a discussion about an opportunity. This is especially true if your LinkedIn profile showcases your skills and the value that you can add to an organization. Remember that you will still follow due process if you were contacted directly and making a good impression in an interview by being prepared, well-presented, and asking questions will be valuable contributing factors to helping the hiring manager and HR professional make a decision to hire you. 

75 percent of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager. 

This is by far the most important point to understand. A job seeker’s CV gets rejected for a number of reasons including not having keywords that match up to the job description you are applying for, poor formatting, and not enough relevant content.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) collects, sorts, scans, and ranks the CV’s it receives for open positions, rejecting the “least-qualified” candidates based on these elements. Think about it this way – if you apply for a job as an Administrator and your CV does not showcase that you have the experience, or skills or attributes that would make you a good administrator how can you then be considered for an interview?  

Your CV is a marketing tool to showcase your profile. It serves as a way for recruiters and hiring managers to create a perception and make assumptions about your experience as it relates to the job you are applying for. When applying for a vacancy, take the time to thoroughly read the job description and note all the keywords that stand out. Then add them to your CV (without being dishonest and making it a direct “copy and paste”) to help it get into the hands of the hiring manager. There is immense value in having a well-crafted CV because it increases your chances of being called in for an interview. 

When crafting your CV, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Include only important personal information such as Full Name, contact numbers and email address, location, nationality, race and gender, spoken languages, and whether you have a driver’s license and own vehicle. It is not necessary to include your ID / Date of Birth – unless this is requested.
  • Do not add a photo of yourself that is not a professional head-shot. You want to give the person reading your CV an impression of your skills and experience and how it relates to the job, not how your looks relate to the job requirements.
  • Include a note on how you will add value to an organization, based on your skills and experience.
  • Include a summary of your accomplishments or achievements.
  • Include the date at which you qualified or completed a course, as well as the name of the course/qualification and the name of the institution.
  • If you have work experience, include dates when it started and ended, the role you were employed in and the name of the organization.
  • Always add job duties. Your CV will automatically be rejected if you do not include duties and responsibilities because a hiring manager and HR professional will not be able to evaluate your experience in conjunction with the job.
  • Always start your employment history with the most recent role and work backward. 
  • You need not include referee details – you can add a note that says, “References available upon request”.

Think of it this way, Apple and Samsung market their products to you by telling you about the value they can add to your life, the problems they can help you solve and the ways having the product will enhance your life – this makes you want to touch, see and test the product to see if it’s right for you.

That’s the power of your CV – it tells a hiring manager and recruiter why you are a strong contender to be considered, the value you can add, and the problems you can help them solve. 

Only about 5 applicants out of hundreds actually earn a face-to-face interview.

Your role is to stand out from the crowd. The ones who get called for an interview, are the ones who stand out. A well-crafted CV helps you do just that. 

Remember that the average job search takes 3 – 6 months.

By implementing some or all of these tips, and having a clear plan of the role you want, the organization /industry you’d like to work in and a CV that is aligned to this, will give you more success in your job application process. 

Your job search is an important step in helping you start your professional career. Do not leave it to chance by not having a plan and a CV that showcases your value. 

As a Holistic Life and Career Coach. I help people uncover their magic by living a life of limitless potential while being aligned to their highest calling. By doing this, they uncover their magic, become unstuck, and do what they love so they can live a truly authentic life. Because I am attaining the dreams and aspirations I’ve set for myself, I am able to help my clients do the same by having a clear vision, creating a personal vision statement, developing goals to achieve the vision and taking inspired action towards the life they want. You can do the same. You already have everything you need, now it’s up to you to make that dream a reality.

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