So, I've been handling recruitment for my company for just over a year now and here are my top tips for landing that dream job. The best way to make a good first impression is to have a brilliant CV; it is your first opportunity to show potential employers who you are.
1. Avoid listing positions you've been in for less than a year.
This is the most important point. When scanning CVs, before I even start to read them properly, I look at the dates listed. If you started a position last year and you are looking to change again, you are unreliable, you've had issues at work, or you've changed your mind about what you want to do. At least, those are the impressions I have.
None of the above are particularly attractive to any employer. Most employers spend an awful lot of time training new staff. Time is money. Training is an investment. Swapping and changing indicates you might be a bad investment. No one wants a bad investment.
If you really do need to put short-term positions into your CV, try adding a short explanation. "Temporary posting" or "Maternity cover" will redeem you slightly.
2. Same Old
Make your CV interesting. Change up the design or use a splash of colour. By the time an employer has gotten to your application, you're probably the hundredth CV they've seen. Wake them up with something interesting.
I scan CVs to look for something interesting before I read them in full. Great written English is always a good starting point.
3. Spelling and Punctuation
Do not send your CV to me if you haven't proofread it first. All of the above is useless if I can't read what you've written. Try using an app like Grammarly if your English isn't perfect; it'll point out the biggest issues with your CV.
Alternatively, it is always worth having a close friend or family member check it over before you send it off.
4. Read the description before applying.
When advertising for new staff, I always add, "Please do not call the office" at the bottom. We are busy and the last thing we need is a hundred people calling everyday asking the same questions (everything can be answered by email if necessary). Anyone that then calls the office is automatically rejected. We don't want you if you can't follow simple instructions.
5. Don't be picky.
This point isn't really about your CV, this is more about the next step.
If I invite you for an interview, it means I think you may be capable of doing the job, but nine times out of ten I have also found twenty other people who are also capable of doing that job.
I then schedule my time to meet with those candidates. So, if you can't find a time on the day I request to meet with me, then I will just move on.
If you are being remotely difficult about time at interview stage, I start to picture how difficult you could be if I hired you...
Think about the process like this: Your employer doesn't want a troublemaker, someone difficult, or someone who will cause problems down the line.
What they do want is: someone who fits in with the existing team, someone who does fantastic work, someone who can pick up everything easily. You need to become that person.
Present yourself as the perfect candidate; research the company, check what they need, and turn yourself into that person. Dress appropriately. Remember to shake their hand when you arrive at the interview and again when you leave.
Get the job. Blend seamlessly into their team, make coffee, be friendly and approachable, say 'Good Morning' and 'Goodbye'.
Remember, you can't make a first impression twice!