A curriculum vitae (CV) is an invaluable instrument in your career toolkit, it is the perfect opportunity to market yourself to potential employees, business links, to build your personal brand and to for networking opportunities. A great CV can make all the difference between being invited for an interview or not. The style of CV you choose, and its content can tell the reviewer a lot about you, so do it well and they should be inspired to meet with you. When applying for education funding you CV can get you the money you need to progress with the next step on the education ladder. Starting a business? Adding a great CV to your business plan gives investors an idea of the person behind the business, which might just give your business plan the jump start it needs. A fantastic quality CV on your Linkedin profile could prompt people to contact you about job opportunities that you might otherwise have missed, or it can simply be a great way to sell your personal brand to other likeminded ‘linked-iners’ to start you off on the road to a fantastic professional network.
There is no doubt then that a good quality CV can help you go further in your professional life. The key however, is having a good quality CV that is fit for purpose. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways you can go wrong when CV writing. Common mistakes go from poor spelling and formatting to not tailoring the CV to the position being applied for and beyond. If you aren’t confident in your CV writing capabilities and you don’t think what you produce is going to show you in your best light then there are a couple of things to consider. One, how far off a good CV are you? Do you just need a few tips and pointers or perhaps just a good format that you might be able to find a template online for? Two, you feel you need expert advice and that going it alone won’t achieve the desired results. If number two applies to you, this where you need to find help. The good news is that there are a number of professional CV writers out there who can provide you with the assistance you need.
Now there is no doubt that a great quality CV needs to project your personality so don’t think that calling in a CV writer will totally get you off the hook, it won’t. You still need to be prepared to invest the time and effort into the process that will achieve a CV that gets you noticed for you. A good CV writer will work with you to ensure that your resume is truthful, succinct and a benefit to your personal brand. It can be difficult to look at your history and pick out the relevant areas that show you are the best person for a new role and this is where a fresh pair of professional eyes can really help you. Another difficulty many people face is actually selling themselves in the first place, lots of people don’t know their own worth or feel uncomfortable about being forthright with praising themselves. If that sounds like you then a CV writer could be just the person you need to pull out all those shiny examples of how brilliant, you are. Even the basics can be lost when you are working on something that is important to you as it can be easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of ideas and forget about the details. Having a professional take the reins will ensure that sure your document is succinct, well formatted, grammar/spelling perfect and has everything the reader needs to know included.
There’s no downside to getting a CV writer in then? Well, no, obviously calling in the professionals can also hit the wallet! Weigh this up against your potential earnings or loss of earnings if you don’t have a good CV and you might decide it’s worth the initial outlay. Another potential downside is that poor CV writing services who have limited input from their clients can look generic and a generic CV simply won’t do. Avoid this by doing your research and ensuring yo get a top notch professional on your side.
Are you about to start a job search and keep seeing the term DBS being bandied about? Not sure what it means, what you need to do, why it’s even being mentioned? Then this post is for you!
What DBS means: DBS (short for Disclosure Barring Service) check also used to be known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check. The CRB became DBS after a merge with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (or ISA).
What a DBS check does: When a DBS check is carried out, a search of the applicants’ criminal record history takes place and anything that appears on their criminal record is then provided.
The types of DBS checks: A Basic DBS will provide evidence of ‘unspent’ convictions and can be applied for by individuals or companies. Only companies can request an enhanced DBS check and this will provide information regarding unspent convictions, spent convictions and cautions (for offences on the never filtered list). In addition to the Standard DBS check the Enhanced DBS also confirms if an applicant has been banned from working with vulnerable people or children in the past. Also unlike a standard DBS check, an enhanced check provides some ‘other’ information that may be held on police record which may include factors such as mental health issues if they have related to police contacts.
How DBS checks are used: The checks tend to be carried out for employment purposes and by an employer on behalf of an applicant or current employee. A common reason for an employer to carry out a Standard DBS check is as part of the recruitment process in order to get a good idea of the history and make sure they are making sound decisions about their potential candidates. For some industries an Enhanced DBS check must be carried out and is a legislative requirement, although not required by Law they are usually required by governing and regulatory bodies for these industries as part of best practice. The most common reason for this is for the safeguarding of vulnerable and young people.
Why would you need a DBS check? You will need a DBS check if a prospective employer conducts it as part of a recruitment process if you will to progress to the next level. You will certainly need an enhanced DBS check if you are working in an industry such as teaching, social care or health care and a number of other industries may also request this.
How do I get a DBS check? Usually you will only need to follow instructions from your employer or current employer and provide any information that they request to start the process. Employers might apply to the Disclosure Baring Service directly or they may use an online DBS check website to perform their searches, either way the same information would be returned to them.
How long does a DBS check take? This depends on the company processes and the way they aquire their DBS checks. If they go directly to the Disclosure Barring Service, then it can take between 2 weeks and several months but usually it is a maximum of 8 weeks. However, if they use a service like uCheck’s DBS check website it can dramatically reduce the waiting time down to just over an hour in some cases!
Firstly, be prepared. This is a big one because it will cover two main aspects of the job interview. The first big aspect of an interview is obviously the questions themselves. You will be answering a lot of them and the interviewer will expect you to be prepared with answers that present you in the best possible light, show why you are the best candidate for the role and will help them understand you and how you as a person will slot into their business and role.
The second aspect is great communication and standing out from other applicants and this is another area in which preparation is key in terms of research. In the interview in order to stand out from the crowd you need to show that you aren’t winging it, that you know the company you are applying for and you know why you want to work there. For both of these areas preparation is key in order to communicate these things effectively.
Develop your listening skills before the interview and make sure that you enter the interview room with a calm and confident way. Being calm and confident will help you to avoid ‘running away with yourself’ and help you to hone in on what the interviewer is actually asking so that you can demonstrate your listening and communication skills providing them with what they actually want to know and not just what comes off the top of your head! There’s tonnes more to go at when it comes to nailing interviews that it’s likely you will see in future posts but for now, get started with this clip on what interviewers find most important when recruiting…
When you begin job searching it is easy to think that the recruitment process is all about the interview. Often, we forget that recruiters start deciding on the right candidate for them long before the interview and still carry on with the selection process for a while after this. In this post we will be taking a look at the steps that recruiters take as part of a common and well-structured recruitment process in order to highlight yourself as the best candidate for a position.
Selecting a recruitment team: For companies, the first steps in the recruitment process actually revolve around selecting those who are going to be doing the recruiting. When a good quality recruitment team has been put in place they have a solid foundation on which the rest the remainder of the process. This means two main things for you. One is that the recruiters are likely to be experienced so hopefully know how to run a successful recruitment process that doesn’t have any nasty surprises, gives you the chance to promote yourself and gives you plenty of information about the role itself. Two is again that they will be experienced, this means they’ll likely be able to see through white lies and be a bit sick of the bog-standard applications they get hundreds at a time of so you do need to shine.
Writing the job and person spec: The recruitment team will put together a job and person specification right at the beginning of the process to outline the gap they have in their team, what it takes to fill that gap and to give you a really good idea of the role. This means that you have plenty of information to go at and you are by no means blind as to what they want to see from you. It gives you a fantastic opportunity to address all of their points clearly demonstrating to them why you are the best candidate for the job.
Choosing their external recruitment resource: Once these items are prepared they will decided how to advertise their job. To get one step ahead, try to have notifications set up for local and well-known jobsites. So long as your CV is of good quality, relevant for the role and up to date, it wouldn’t harm having this advertised on those boards too. Social media is prevalent in our society today and platforms such as Linkedin are becoming increasingly popular ways of people sourcing so make sure you are up to date and that your profile really sells you.
Providing a form of application: The recruiters will provide you with an application form or they may ask you to send a CV. There are plenty of points regarding CV’s on this site so take a look at those and do a little bit of research on making sure your CV is perfect for the role before you submit it. If an application form is provided make sure that it is in a format that you can work with and that you answer the questions. No matter which format you use to apply, it is key that you tailor it to the job/person spec and ensure that you stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
Shortlisting: Once the applications are received they will be reviewed and I can promise you that for a lot of roles there are a lot of applications so shoddy CV’s or application forms with bad formatting and poor grammar or spelling are unlikely to get a look in. At this point those shortlisting might end up with a few candidates that are similar standards on paper or that they are simply unsure about. Potentially they may take a sneaky peek at your social media profiles or do a Google search to get a bit more of a sense about you or more information about an achievement that might have been published.
In a future post we will be looking at ‘Are Professional CV Writing Services Worth It?’, the power of a good quality CV and how CV writers can be a great way to help you achieve your CV goals. However, not everyone needs or wants a CV writer so for those of you who are ready to go it alone and need to some help with the DIY option, this one is for you! In this post we take a look at how CV templates can be a top CV writing tool and another key player in your CV toolkit.
CV templates are a great place to start, especially if you are a novice but they aren’t all good news. The benefits of using a CV template are that you have a clear and succinct guide that you can use to ‘fill the gaps’. This means that you won’t be at too much risk of sending out a document that is formatted poorly or missing key header information. The downside however is that using a bog standard office template can look a little dull and the recruiter can end up with hundreds of CVs that all blend in to one. To get a stand out CV it is imperative that you tailor it to the purpose or field of work. If you are going for an office or secretarial job then an office template might be the perfect place to start, just make sure you add a little something of yourself. It may be a splash of colour or (basic) imagery, a good-looking table etc but it will mean that your CV stands out a little whist showing off your ability to create great looking word documents which may well be something the employer has stated on their job spec for an office role.
If you are going for a creative role or a role within a creative industry however, a Microsoft template simply won’t make the grade. Part of selling yourselves in this kind of role is showing how creative you can be and a basic template shows a lack of initiative. Use the headers to give you some inspirations by all means but consider creating the CV itself from scratch. Tools such Adobe’s Illustrator and InDesign can help to give you the edge when it comes to producing something that makes you jump of the page right into that job role. Consider colours and fonts really carefully, although you do want to show off your design skills for a creative role it is also key to remember that the main purpose of the CV is to provide the reader with key information about yourself and it won’t succeed in doing this if the content is lost within the design.
There are Video CV’s, CV websites and many other ways to present yourself so take a look around for some examples of CV’s that really shout out at you before you decide on how to proceed. Think about using a tool like Grammarly to help ensure you have the basics covered. And don’t forget, no matter how you produce your document pop it in to PDF format before you send it as it will be no use sending it if the person on the other side can’t open it!
The key to using CV templates in your CV toolkit? Tailor it to your audience!