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When you hear the saying "a picture tells a thousand words", this means that a picture can tell a story just as easily as a large amount of text. The same is true about your professional CV. Your CV can tell the reader a lot about the type of person you are and the type of worker you will be. During one of my earliest roles as a recruiting agent, I was asked to find a shortlist of 5 candidates to fulfill a HR position. The position was an entry level role for a very well known and respected investment bank and although the client had instructed several requirements that they wanted in the right candidate (e.g. Bachelor Degree), the most important aspect was to find a candidate that would be the "right fit" for this company. We began our search for the candidate by placing a job advert in one of the online job portals. Within 3 hours we had over 150 CVs sitting in our inbox. By the end of the day we had another 400 CVs (at that stage we decided to take the job advert of the Internet). With our client urgently calling us wanting to know how soon they would receive CVs of potential candidates, we had the task of trying to sort through the huge amount of CVs and find the top 5 candidates. How to stand out from the competition First impressions count! It is estimated that a hiring manager or recruitment agent will spend no more than 15 -30 seconds reading through your CV before either deciding to continue reading or pressing delete. Unfortunately there is not one secret that will guarantee your CV will stand out from the competition, but there are many factors that will get your CV deleted. In my experience the first thing I look for in a CV is professionalism. Spelling Mistakes and bad grammar It is an unforgiveable sin to have any spelling errors on your CV . Spelling mistakes and bad grammar send out a negative signal that that the candidate is careless, does not take pride in his or her work and lacks the professionalism that the client demands. Without even reading through more of the CV I would delete this CV. Layout and Presentation It is an undisputed fact that if a hiring manager has two CVs sitting on the table, they are instinctively going to be drawn to the CV that is professionally presented and easy to read. No matter what the CVs say, the first impression is already made. If both candidates share similar skills and experiences, just take a guess at which CV the hiring manager is going to choose. When you sit down to write your CV, remember one thing. Your CV is your representation. This 2-3 page document is all you have to prove to the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job. Present a professional picture and make sure that you stand out above your competition.
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150
How to make a career change
Career management
Manage your career
It is NEVER too late for a career change! Sure, you might not have direct experience in a certain industry or job, but you need to prove to any hiring manager that your existing skills are, in fact, transferable skills. If you're debating about making a career change, don't be afraid. Even if a career switch later in life seems like a completely radical change with many possible consequences attached to it, you should still go for it if it's something you really want to do. My best advice is to set up a plan before making the dive. A large-scale transition will not happen overnight, and this is why it's important to ensure you have a "plan of attack." Also, make sure your career change is realistic. Although I encourage everyone to follow their dreams, you also need to stay realistic. If your dream is to become a pilot, but you've worked in banking for the last 15 years, the chances of you becoming a pilot are a lot harder (but not impossible)! Also remember to be flexible. You are making a career change that could involve a lower salary or relocation. These are some of the sacrifices you could be asked to make in the short term. When you begin applying for new roles, you need to ensure your resume is targeted toward this new job. Obviously you are not going to have direct experience, so it's important to highlight not only your current skills and achievements, but also (and most importantly), that you are able to adapt your skills for this new job. In making the career change, your skills are by far your best selling point. Many skills that you use on a day to day basis (such as leading, managing, liaising and communicating, for example) are all transferable skills that you can use to prove to a hiring manager that you are right for a particular job. 5 point plan to making a career change 1) Make sure of your reasons for wanting a career change. One bad day at work or hating your boss do not suggest you want to change careers 2) Brainstorming - sit down and brainstorm ideas of the type of industry/job you really want to do 3) Planning - Set out a plan to follow. Make it realistic. Remember your career change won't happen overnight. Realistically, it can take about 6-12 months. Don't quit your job on day 1. Included in planning is financial planning. How much is this career change going to cost you? How much do you plan to get paid? You need to know these answers! 4) Networking - Talk to friends, speak to recruitment agents and sign up to online networking sites 5) Executing your plan. Speak to an expert in regards to interviewing, resume writing and cover letter writing. Apply directly, and begin to follow the steps of your plan.
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60
Dress for success
Job interviewing
Preparing for the job interview
"Don't Dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want to have" Does what you wear to an interview really make a difference in the hiring process? The answer is yes - the way you dress always matters Don't allow your appearance to damage your chances of being hired for a job. As the old phrase goes, "dress for success!" When you walk into an interview room the very first thing an interviewer does is look at you. No matter how many skills you have and how relevant your experience is, do not allow this first impression to ruin your chances. Make no mistake - dressing properly will not guarantee you the job, but dressing inappropriately can definitely lose you the job. Gaining employment is subject to numerous variables beyond your control and factors significantly unknown to you. You have no control over employer perceptions, personal preferences or the competitors for the job. You do, however, have control of your image and how you present yourself. How you look can send a powerful message to the interviewer and can portray a signal that you are a winner or a loser. You have made it this far in the interview process - don't let your appearance sabotage your opportunity to get the job. So make sure you exude confidence and look successful.
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162
Before you ask for a raise
Career management
Manage your career
Before you ask for a raise, the most important thing you need to remember is that you need a reason for asking for one. An employer is not just going to hand out extra money to you because they like you - you need to give them a compelling reason to do so. Basically, you need to give them something that exemplifies your hard work and that shows you are a positive asset to the company. Think of a few ways for doing so - below are just a few examples: Arriving on time on a consistent basis No employer likes workers who show up late - ever. If you consistently come to work early or on time, your boss will definitely take notice of this and will appreciate your punctuality. You've already given yourself a head start. Taking on an extra work load Volunteering to do more than what is expected of you helps to build your reputation within the company. You will be recognized as a leader, as someone willing to help out and as someone who can be counted on. You may also gain some valuable experience within other departments, and extra knowledge never hurts. Employers love this type of employee, and will be more likely to go the extra mile to keep them on board. Keeping track of your performance There is nothing better than being able to show concrete examples of how you have benefited the company. Have sales dramatically increased since you came on board? Do you consistently meet or exceed your targets? Of course, some people argue that taking on an extra work load or working overtime is a negative because you allow the company to take advantage of you. Well, like it or not, this is how the world works. If you want to stay in the same position year after year, do the minimum, but if you want to move up, putting in that extra effort will be required of you. Raises are not free handouts for everyone - they are reserved for the ones who put in the extra effort.
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96
How to ace the telephone interview
Job interviewing
Interview time
Phone interviews are becoming increasingly popular as a means of narrowing down candidates for a more traditional face to face interview. In the ultra competitive society we now live, a job advertisement can attract hundreds of resumes from candidates with similar set of skills and backgrounds. The recruitment process is all about finding the one perfect candidate among the basket full of candidates. The phone interview has become a popular, flexible, inexpensive and speedy way of finding that one person. Preparing for a phone interview Before you begin your phone interview make sure that you are confident in your understanding of the position you are applying for and the company you are applying with. Do extra homework on the company's history and research recent company news. Preparation is the key and will make a great impression on your interviewers. Prepare your Interview location. Make sure you're in a comfortable place with no distractions. Keep your resume in clear view, have a pen and pad to take notes and a glass of water sitting close by. Minimise any outside distractions that could potentially take your mind off the interview (HOT TIP: Disable call waiting on your phone). Dress the part so you feel and sound professional. The more professional you feel the more professional you will come across on the telephone. Most importantly - Practice Interviewing. Rehearse and Practice. There are many ways to help you prepare for the telephone interview. Have a friend/ family member conduct an interview. Ideally, rehearse with someone from the same industry. The best way to hear how you sound is to tape yourself. Remember the more preparation you put into the interview the better prepared you will be. Preparation is the key! Write down answers to questions you believe are going to be asked. Have questions ready to go so when the interviewer says "Do you have any questions to ask us" you're ready and prepared. What to do during the phone interview Remember to Smile. Experts say that smiling puts you in a better state of mind and will project a positive image to the listener Speak in a steady voice. Don't rush what you're trying to say. Ensure that you sound enthusiastic and passionate. Don't forget to breathe. It will help you stay calm and sound more relaxed. LISTEN - Answer the questions which are being asked. Do not make the mistake of telling the interviewer what you want to tell them. Give them the answers to their questions. Keep a glass of water handy - Nothing is worse than having a dry mouth Address the interviewer in the appropriate way. Do not shorten people's name. They are your potential employer not your "mate" Take your time - Don't rush the interview. This is your time to shine. If your feeling nervous take a moment or two to collect your thoughts "Cheat Notes" Prepare beforehand with notes to help drive you through the interview. If the interview is going to be technical than have notes ready to prompt yourself if needed Don't forget to ask questions. (For tips on the best interview questions to ask go to the "Tips from the Pros" page of www.redstarresume.com) What NOT to do during the interview • Don't eat, drink, chew gum • DO NOT SMOKE • Don't interrupt the interviewer. • Don't answer with just a "yes" and "no"- elaborate your answers, provide examples if applicable • Don't be too Casual/informal • Long winded answers to questions Conclusion The only way to master a phone interview is to practice, be professional, and show your passion for the job role. Remember you have made the phone interview stage so don't blow your interview by not being ready.
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This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Popular questions
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Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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