What NOT to include in your CV
7 May 2015 14:09
PREVIOUSLY, I focused on the profile and key skills sections of your CV. Now we need to follow this up with the employment history and qualifications sections, which will provide evidence of how our key skills are put into practice. For each of your jobs, include the company name and address, your job title, and dates of employment. Start with the most recent job first. Then list your responsibilities in bullet point format, making it clear and concise. Employers want to be able to see if you demonstrate the essential criteria for the role on the first page of your CV. Describe your career history in terms of achievements. For each job, and particularly for your most recent roles, demonstrate what makes you stand out from other applicants. Remember to use the same or similar key words and phrases from the advertisement — but don’t copy sentences/plagiarise direct from job spec — employers will notice! Most of us have difficulty selling our skills. But you will be up against a lot of other applicants, so it is important to show exactly what the employer is looking for in a clear, concise manner, without overselling. Here are some pointers when you are thinking about your achievements. What have you done over and above the job description? Where have you gone the extra mile? Where have you demonstrated flexibility, creative thinking or innovation? What projects have you been involved in and what was your contribution to the outcome? What problems did you solve? Examples of these could be “implemented a new filing system, which resulted in correspondence being found more quickly.” Or “worked late for a week to meet a project deadline which had been changed at short notice.” Or “devised a new stock system for the shop, resulting in reduced wastage.” Also include facts and figures, the more specific detail you can include (and the less waffle) the better. For example: Costs, percentage improvements, key performance indicators met, targets met, costs saved, etc. “Increased sales turnover by 42 per cent against a target of 35 per cent, which made us the highest performer out of seven teams” is much more effective than “excellent sales management skills”. It is important not to reveal confidential information in your application. If you are mentioning specific projects that are still ongoing, or have not been publicly announced, do not name any company/client names. And remember to include voluntary work/internships/placements. Just because you don’t get paid for it, doesn’t mean it is not relevant. So, as you can see, it doesn’t have to be a long rambling statement, filled with numbers and big words. Use plain English and concise bullet points, backed up with examples and achievements of your roles and skills. The qualification section can come before the employment history or after, it really is a personal preference. I would advise, if you are a recent graduate or school leaver, to put this before employment history as you may have more academic than employment experience. Include your most recent qualifications first, along with any membership of professional bodies and relevant training courses. If you have gained a qualification a while ago, and it is no longer relevant, don’t include it. Employers don’t care if you gained an ‘O’ Grade in Home Economics in 1985, if you are applying for a position as retail manager. Be sensible. Always include a cover letter, for both postal and email applications. Cover letters will be discussed in a later column. I WATCHED a certain film the other week whilst (von) trapped for the afternoon at my maws. See if you can guess which one. It contained: 1. A medley of bad outfits. It is set in the land fashion forgot. (And bizarre as NY Fashion Week gets, even it doesn’t have clothes made out of curtains.) 2. Singing. Singing. And more singing. 3. The most improbable nun ever — her careers advisor should be shot. 4. Improbable romance between hundred year old man, and said ex-nun. You guessed it. And those things are not the worst of it. That song — the ‘favourite things’ one. What the hell? For a start, white dresses are just baaaad news on girls. White dresses lead to only three things: visible underwear, unyielding stains and marriage. And of the three, I still can’t work out which is worse. And as for the rest? Re. the snowflakes on nose/eyelashes look: I do not want Alice Cooper eyes because my mascara is running down my cheeks, nor do I want people to think I have a dripping conk. Not so keen on mittens either, they usually look best on the under 5’s. A copper kettle would undoubtedly clash with my kitchen colour scheme. Doorbells usually mean having to pay the window cleaner. Crisp apple strudels play havoc with the waistline, and quite frankly, I’d rather have the calories in liquid form. But I do concede that the brown paper packages sound good. Gifts are always acceptable. So as I sit schlurping tea and being fussed around by my folks, I wonder what my lyrics to that tune might look like. My favourite things? Champagne and spa days and three inch high sandals, Sale racks of dresses that hide my love handles, Dinners and cocktails and large diamond rings, These are a few of my favourite things. New York and Bond Street and 007, Spray tans and shellac — in my eyes, that’s heaven Holidays in Ibiza (with a few carefree flings), These are a few of my favourite things Espresso and cherry cake and bookshops and baking Candles and silk sheets and guys that aint faking Vintage old movies and the warm scent of Spring These are a few of my favourite things When the bills come and the man runs When it’s clear I’ve been had I simply remember my favourite things And then I don’t feel so bad. Of course, I am not quite as shallow as my lyrics would suggest. Being at the mercy of a rhyme scheme has limited me somewhat. For instance, I love being near water. The anticipation of foreign travel. Open fires. Poetry. The smell of a new book, and the satisfying crack of its spine as you delve in. I love cooking all day, with someone’s arm around my waist. I love art. Beautiful things make me cry with happiness. So, take heed: I am not all sass and crass. We do have a few things in common, though, Maria and I. We are both too lippy for the convent. We are kinda rebellious. We both play the guitar (badly). We both have a penchant for dodgy fringes. We are decidedly anti-Fascist. And as for older men: given my recent unsuccessful shenanigans with the younger variety, I would never rule it out…
View From The Top - Council Leader Martin Rooney
7 May 2015 14:02
I THOUGHT I would start my column this week with a small confession — I actually love elections. I see it a real opportunity for everyone to consider their social values, the things that matter most.
Pasta bread, carbs and the Devil
7 May 2015 08:42
I OFTEN get asked if going low carb is the best way to lose fat or improve weight loss? No doubt many of you will also be familiar with the Atkin’s Diet which was famous in the 90’s. The basic premise; eat little or no carbs other than limited vegetables every day. As well as doctor Atkin’s there are several diets which emphasise low carbs, more recently the ‘Paleo’ and the ‘Primal’ diet have become increasingly popular.
Have Your Say...
7 May 2015 08:40
IT must be amazing to be born and be instantly employed in a position where you will never have to lift a finger, where you are waited hand and foot by an army of servants, where you will live in palaces and beautiful country estates all your life and you will have access to wealth and privilege that us mere mortals can only dream of.