Posts tagged CV
Posts tagged CV
Since its launch in 1997, Google Search has changed the world we live in. By no means the first search engine (that honour goes to the Aliweb, released in 1993), it was the first to become ingrained in our culture, as people up and down the country began to “Google”.
Today Google search is regarded by most internet users as the go-to search engine for our entire web browsing needs.
Traditionally search engines were used to search for things or companies. However now it is possible to search for anyone with an online identity. Have a Facebook, Twitter or MySpace account? If yes, then you could become a search result on Google. And supposedly this is what companies now do to find out information about potential employees. You can get so much information about someone just through looking at their social media accounts, some of which may not show you in the best light. My Facebook profile for instance contains 1,565 photos of me. Of these photos I would say that 75% are of me as drunk as a skunk, another 20% are from my travels and the final 5% show be making a fool of myself at various events.
That’s me below at a staff party a few years ago. I’m the one ‘dressed’ as a mummy!
Now that’s not a great first impression for an employer!
Because let’s face it, when you apply for a job, the company looks at your covering letter, CV and then jumps on google to find out all the juicy bits. I would say that nowadays almost every applicant for a white-collar job has been looked up online.
Therefore I have spent the day cleaning up my online social identity, to present myself to the outside world in a respectable manner. I’ve insured my personality, personal photos and experiences are preserved online, but I have selected who can see what on all my online profiles.
I then decided to Google myself, by typing in my name followed by things my CV links to me. For instance, my name followed by ‘Column Idol’, my name followed by ‘UK’ or my name and ‘Essex Graduate’. Sure enough I was there! On page 1 of my search. I discovered some interesting things about myself! For example, I once did a live interview for BBC radio Northampton back in July, and the recording was posted online for all to hear. Upon reading the description of the radio show I learnt that on the same show Jane McDonald spoke about her latest tour, and there was a cheese tasting from the St Giles Cheese shop.
This now probably gives me the credentials to appear on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, right?
So in summary, any job hunter out there, make sure you tidy up your online appearance. It’s just as important as wearing deodorant and having shiny shoes at your interview. And if you haven’t made to the interview stage yet, then this could be why.
“Hi, I’m Matthew and welcome to my video CV. I have decided to produce this video because, as I’m sure you’re aware, communications has changed. The pen and paper method is now just one approach available for reaching a target audience, therefore it is important that potential employees, like myself, are media savvy and understand the power of multimedia in the market place.”
This was the intro to my video CV. I had to make this video as part of my interview with a graduate internship recruitment agency. The interview itself went well. There were of course the pretty standard question asked by recruitment agencies, although what I liked was the fact that the questions focused on what I wanted to achieve. Helen (the interviewer) seemed to like me. She implied that her agency could find me a job in the near future, given my skills and personality. But unlike most interviews, rather than a handshake and a, “we’ll be in touch”, she said, “now are you ready to do you’re video?”
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure this was for me to begin with. Sure I don’t mind being on camera, and I was confident in my pitch. Plus I’ve done pitches and presentation in the past, to uni lecturers and most recently to the editor of The Sun newspaper, so I wasn’t particularly nervous. My issue was that I’ve seen many of these video CV’s in the past and most have been pants! Many are unprofessional, unrehearsed and the applicants look scruffy.
“Hi my names, errrr, John, and I want to be aaaaa, errrr, (nervous laugh), a… ”
But this felt different. This company had a room made for this sort of thing. A good quality camera sat proudly on a tripod, facing a tall stool which was carefully placed in front of a multi-coloured backdrop. The room was nice and quiet, and perfectly lit for this type of video. A good start - professional.
I chose to stand. Why? At the time I felt that the stool might affect my posture and voice, so by standing I could hold myself up straight and project clearly.
“Ok Matt when I give the thumbs up you may start”
“Hi, I’m Matthew and welcome to my video CV…”
It went well and I got it done in the first take (the only person to do so all week apparently).
After that came the handshakes and goodbyes. Finished. I then got an email on my way home saying that my video profile was available for companies to view on the agencies website, along with my normal CV, and it would be sent to potential employers who the agency felt would suite my needs and vice versa.
I’m yet to hear anything, but it’s only been 48 hours. And when I do I’ll let you known.
But I think this video idea could actually work. It must be freshening for a HR officer, sitting at his/her desk for the eighth hour in a row whilst drinking their tenth cup of coffee, to receive one of these videos. It must beat the generic CV and covering letter, with overused phrase like, ‘I possess excellent communication skills’ or ‘I am a hardworking and determined graduate’.
We can all use words to make us seem whiter than white. Hollow words mainly. But also what the generic approach doesn’t do is show personality. And personality is key in this day and age! In every walk of life a strong personality and success go hand in hand. Simon Cowell isn’t the biggest media proprietor in the world because he is especially talented. Lady Gaga isn’t the biggest name in pop because she writes the best songs. David Beckham isn’t the most famous Brit on the planet because he kicks a ball around for 90 minutes. No, they all have strong personalities or a unique selling point (USP). The nasty judge. The crazy mysterious girl. That nice, easy-going fella who walks about in his pants all the time. By having a distinct personality or trait, they each become more marketable and they begin to stand out in their respected industries.
Look at twitter. The people with the most followers are those who put themselves out there for all to see. MySpace launched a thousand bands, getting them record deals all because they set up a strong online identity and with it a BrAND image. The music almost played second fiddle to everything else. Just look at Lily Allen and the way her career went (I actually quite like her music by the way).
What I would suggest to any graduate, who knows what they want to do in life, is get yourself out there and put your personality on show so. Try and stand out from the crowd.
This could be a case of the blind leading the blind – as I too need a new job. But what harm can it do. Try it. And if you have any success let me know.
You’ve got to love a snow day! A day off work! You’re free to enjoy the simply joys of home life. You know the ones; Loose Women (the daytime TV programme – you dirty minded so and so!), Football Manager before lunchtime and a chance to catch up on any housework or that DIY project that’s been on the cards since last year’s snow day.
No commute. No angry bosses. No pressure.
That’s the case for those of you that have a career.
If you’re a graduate like me, struggling to make that first step on the career ladder, then you will have another name for a snow day like today.
We call them Mondays. Or Tuesdays. Wednesdays, Thursday and so on and so forth. Yep, today felt like just another day in domestic bliss. And by bliss I mean boredom.
See, I know my previous entries haven’t really focused on the graduate’s conundrum, for which I am sorry. Instead I seem to have produced a short autobiography, written in the style of a stroppy teenager. I had my reasons. To get my head clear and to properly get to the very heart of my situation I felt like I needed to go backwards to go forwards. Set the scene as it were. After all, every good story has to have a beginning, middle and end. Well now we have reached the middle (hooray!!!).
My life now consists of three things;
The latter two actually act as a release from the first. Job-hunting! The bane of my life.
A thankless task, which makes me feel like a hamster in a ball. Oh did you know that if you leave a hamster in a ball for more than half-an-hour then they start hallucinating - I know it’s mental!
Each day I get up at 7; get ready like I would if I was going to work (no suit or tie that would be silly), and plonk myself down in front of my computer for around 8 to start job-hunting. I’ve taken many different approaches to this task and I’m still yet to find the winning formula. Stage 1 is always the same. I spend most of the morning looking at the career section of companies that I’d like to work for, such as the BBC or for dynamic independent PR companies. Or I go about searching numerous recruitment websites, looking for fresh ads or little gems that I may have missed the previous day. I make a note of the good ones, say 10-15. Then I research the company at bit more (location, history, mission statements, HR managers’ names) and go over the job description again and again. If I like what I see and I feel that I could offer the company something and vice versa then I move on to stage 2. The application. This is where the hard work begins. Now my list is usually down to about 6 companies. Then one by one I tailor my CV to suite the needs of that particular company, cramping my relevant achievement into a little under 2 sides of A4. THEN I produce an original covering letter, explaining in four paragraphs why I am brilliant and your company needs me because I am wittier and generally better than any of the 4,000 other applicants.
However sometimes I have to go to stage 2.5 – the application form. A form so great, that it must take a whole army of suited ladies and gentlemen working in HR departments across the country to get through a single application. That would explain why most companies take 5 weeks to get back to you (that’s if they bother!). As I said a thankless task. Seriously it takes two second to send a generic:
Sorry (INSERT NAME), but this time your application has been unsuccessful.
But no, instead I have to call companies back or if I can’t get through to HR officer just wait. And wait. And wait. All this, after spending 6 hours filling out a crappy form. What a load of tripe! And who comes up with these forms.
Here’s a real example I’ve come across.
‘If a boy told you his name was Pinocchio, and while telling you that his nose began to grow, would this be a paradox? Explain your reasoning.’
Wtf! How does this help a communications officer? Or my favourite… the multiple choice questions.
Which option best describes you:
a) I am a hard-working individual with good interpersonal skills.
b) I am a creative individual with a keen eye for detail.
c) I suck cock for bus fair but then walk anyway because that’s the type of guy I am.
C may be a tad too far, but you get the point. I’m sure there must be a better way to recruit staff. After all anyone can tell you what they think you want to hear. If I wanted to work in design I would pick B. If I wanted to work in customer service I’d pick A. If I wanted to be a gigolo I’d pick C, and by doing so I’d probably get more commission because I’d saved my pimp a bit of money on travel expenses.
Anyway that’s enough ranting for one day – the snow around my house is starting to melt due to the vast amounts of steam coming out of my ears. I’ll carry on my mini rant about job-hunting again another day. Now it’s time to carry on with a bit more job-hunting and tedious application forms.