Need a job and don’t know where to start? We throw out the rule book on job hunting…
Start looking for work and most advisors will tell us to update our CV. I think that’s the last thing we should do.
Right now might seem like the worst time to start getting a foot on – or up – the jobs ladder. But, with the right tools and support, we can use this time to really think about what it is we have to offer.
We are unique
So, what’s wrong with pulling out an old CV and starting to brush it up? The trouble is, it skips some crucial stages. Even CV-writing courses cut corners and jobseekers end up looking the same on paper. We’re not all good team players or highly organised but we are lots of other things.
We are unique. A CV should stand for ‘Clear Vision’ and it should tell an employer our own story.
Clear vision: It’s only worth writing a CV once we’ve pinned down what makes us different to the next candidate
- When I work with jobseekers, I ask them about their proudest achievement. There’s usually a group of us, so everyone lists all the things this says about them. We end up with 20-odd words: Committed, reliable, likes working outdoors, attention to detail, and so on. On our own, we can write it down and imagine what we’d think of someone else doing it or ask a friend what they think. Create a list of skills and qualities.
- Now think about the thing we enjoy doing most. Examples include playing football, looking after kids or driving. Write down what’s enjoyable about it.
- Think of a job that involves something from No 2. and edit the list of skills to six that would be most useful for it. I call this goal the One Big Thing – something to work towards.
- Think of different times we’ve put these skills to use. Even if the best example is looking after kids or fixing up a bike, use it.
- Then it’s time to find a vacancy that takes us towards our One Big Thing. If the goal is to become a chef, it’s perfectly okay if step one is flipping burgers.
- Draft a 50-word statement of intent. Something like “I’m looking for (describe the job on offer), where I can put my (list three skills) to use, working towards my end goal of (One Big Thing).
- Lastly, draft a CV. Contact details at the top. Then the statement of intent. Then a list of six skills and qualities, backed up with a line about when we’ve used them. Summarise work history, schooling and interests below that. Try to keep it to a page – and definitely no more than two.
A Clear Vision CV shows we have confidence in ourselves. It is unique to us because it comes from what we achieved and what we love doing. Our story comes alive to an employer. We stand out and we can back it up.
Clear Vision is also the basis for a strong interview, so re-read the CV beforehand. Bosses will often ask the same questions: Why do we want the job? What skills do we have? Where do we see ourselves in five years’ time? We’ve got it covered.
Now you’re ready to start applying for jobs. A good way to do this is online. Thousands of entry level, low skilled and part time jobs are uploaded every month. Read our guide to finding work online and how to apply here.
Jeff’s book for jobseekers, I’m Ready – 7 signs that show we’re right from the job is available from the Quids in! Store.