Previously published in the online ‘Brite Future’ magazine: July 2016.
The average job search lasts 18 weeks, but is longer for people without a CV. (Career Savvy, 2014
Job searching just isn’t what it used to be – with so much competition out there, it’s not surprising that getting a job isn’t really that simple. For people without a CV, job searching is really difficult – don’t be one of them! Writing and handing in a CV automatically makes the process quicker for you, and will lead to better interviews and results.
If you’re considering changing careers then bear in mind that 18 weeks is a long time to be unemployed for – don’t hand your notice in just yet!
Employers spend, on average, 6 seconds looking at your CV. (eyetracking study from The Ladders, 2012)
This is one you’ll hear time and time again when you’re job searching, and I’ll bet you’ll roll your eyes and dismiss it as nonsense. While it’s not true for all employers (especially small businesses), it is true for a lot of them – many employers can find themselves with over 100 applications per vacancy and, considering all the other work they have to get done, it’s not easy to find the time to read over every single one of them.
To make things easier, the employer will quickly scan over your CV to find any information that makes you stand out, which is why it is vital to write a CV that is laid out simply and quick to read, but also focuses on the important information. Try not to waffle, and focus instead on being concise.
61% employers would automatically reject a CV with spelling/grammar errors. (Career Builder, 2012)
Spelling and grammar may seem less of an issue now we have spellchecker at our beck and call, but don’t be fooled by it – errors will still make their way into your finished document. Once you’ve checked over your CV, get someone else to look over it. If possible, also get someone professional to go over to ensure it really is mistake-free. Think about it – would you want to employ someone who’s CV is littered with spelling and grammatical errors?
The top ten overused buzzwords of 2014 were: ‘motivated’, ‘passionate’, ‘creative’, ‘driven’, ‘extensive experience’, ‘responsible’, ‘strategic’, ‘track record’, ‘organisational’, and ‘expert’. (LinkedIn, 2014)
Some of these words are really great qualities to have, but their dramatic overuse can lead to employers feeling very bored when reading through your CV. While I wouldn’t say not to use any of them (skills likes creativity and organisation can be vital to include for certain job roles), try to avoid the clichés and phrase your sentences in more exciting ways. There’s loads of different synonyms for these words and, if you still can’t think of what to write, have a think about skills and qualities you have that might not be included so much.
73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without. (Reed/TimeBank, 2009)
Volunteering is a great thing. Employers love it, and it actually helps people while you’re doing it. A lot of people seem to think that volunteering isn’t worth putting on your CV though, as you don’t get paid for it.
Of course it’s worth it! Not only are you showing an employer that you’re motivated enough to do a job without needing an incentive, you’re also demonstrating how proactive you are in keeping yourself engaged during periods of unemployment. Always make sure to put your volunteering down – I guarantee you’ll get results from it.