We get a lot of people asking us about cover letters. Questions such as, are they are necessary? What should I write? Who they should be addressed to? If you have asked any of these questions as a job seeker, don’t worry – they’re pretty common.
Here are our list of our top FAQs that will hopefully help if you are looking for clarity about what to write on your CV.
Q: Do I need to write a cover letter?
A: If you are applying for a job, the short answer is, yes. Applying via online application forms, or emailing your application directly to the employer, you will be directed to include a cover letter. Not only are cover letters an expected formality, they are an outline of why you are applying for the position and a summary of what skills you bring to the position.
Q: What’s the difference between a CV and a Cover Letter?
A: These two documents are very different!
Your cover letter needs to be tailored exactly to the job you are applying for, it needs to address that you are sending an application and what skills and experience you believe you are bringing to the position.
Your CV on the other hand should detail your work history, skills, and education. A CV can be standardised to be sent out to any employer when send a job application. (Just make sure that you have all details up to date when you send it out.)
Note: Because of these two documents are different, they should usually be sent as different files. This will also allow you to keep you CV standard, and save your cover letter for editing.
Q: To whom it may concern? Dear Jackie? Who should I be addressing my cover letter to?
This is a tricky one with no exactly right answer. Usually, if a job ad has someone’s name on it, we would definitely suggested addressing it to that person I.e. Jackie. (First name basis is usually acceptable in New Zealand and Australia).
If the job ad has no name a safe bet is to stick with “To whom it may concern”, this is usually standard and allows to you to roll into the first paragraph of your cover letter, explaining why you are applying for the position.
A: How long should my cover letter be?
As a general rule, your cover letter should be short and to the point. You can assume the person reading your cover letter is a busy person so make sure that you make a good impression in as few words as you can. The structure I would recommend people to stick by is
If you’re after more tips and advice, you’ll find it on our blog. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get regular career and industry updates.
For personalized and free advice talk to our friendly job seeker support team who will be able to send you in the right direction.
Technology changes the way we live and work and it is happening at such a rapid pace. Looking for jobs in the newspaper seems almost redundant now, when 20 years ago this was one of the few means by which you could see who was hiring
Today with the internet and information cloud based recruitment solutions, employers are looking for more efficient ways to cut through to the best candidates – and this isn’t necessarily by sifting through a pile of CVs.
Whilst we can’t say that the CV is completely dead (as most employers still ask candidates to provide a resume, ideally customised to the role they are applying for), skills and aptitude testing is becoming increasingly popular as a means to see whether applicants have what it takes to get the job done.
What are the main things to consider as technology enhances the options for online job applications?
CVs are still important for most applications
Despite the rise in online applications forms and use of social profiles to apply, it’s important that you are able to supply a document that gives a basic outline of your education and work history. Your resume should be succinct, relevant and cover your qualifications, industry background, previous job titles and most importantly, your achievements. How to write a killer CV
TIP #1: One of the key things employers check for is gaps in your employment history. If you have some, acknowledge this and provide a reason why. Bottom line: Don’t give an employer a reason to red flag you, get the dates right!
Add skills, aptitude or personality test results to give you an edge.
Pre-employment tests are one of the most revolutionary tools for employers to cut through the noise and getting important information upfront. At the end of the day, businesses are looking for people who can get the job done. That’s why it can be worth investing your time to show employers that you really have the skills (or the aptitude to learn them), by adding skills tests results to your application. Not only does it tell employers that you have the ability, but also the initiative to go above and beyond.
TIP #2: On talentpropellerjobs.co.nz you can add skills testing free to any job you apply for, plus if you create a profile on careerfusion.co.nz, you can add skills testing to your profile so employers can find you by skill before they advertise.
Make sure your CV stands out
Odds are, you will be competing with lots of other candidates to make the shortlist. Think about how your CV looks - not only what words are in it, but how easy it is to read and how appealing it is to the eye. Sometimes a different font or font size can be easier to read, and unique design can set you above the others for professionalism.
Consider presenting yourself on video
Whilst still not common on recruitment applications, video is a great way to showcase your personality and presentation skills. Anyone with a modern mobile phone and a willing friend can shoot a short introduction, which can be either embedded within your resume, or hosted externally and linked. This will really provide a point of difference from other candidates!
Nail the online application form
Increasingly you will find that you need to answer questions online before submitting your resume. It’s estimated a hiring manager only spends 6 seconds reviewing each application and if the employer is using an ATS system, it’s imperative you use the right key words and provide the information the system is programmed to look for, or you may not be seen at all. Make sure you use industry specific terms and note specific experience that helps an employer see at a glance what value you can bring.
For example, to answer the question ‘why are you the best person for this role?’ you could say: ‘I am a friendly and outgoing person who loves accounts’. Or you could say “I am proficient in MYOB and Xero, have managed 100 valuable customer accounts and improved debtor days from 60 to 25 in my last role’.
If you’re stuck for ideas, no worry. Create a profile on www.careerfusion.co.nz and we’ll get our recruitment experts to have a chat about what you could be doing better, plus we can even get our graphic design team to redesign your CV.
If you’re after more tips and advice, you’ll find it on our blog. Follow us on Facebook to get regular career and industry updates.
For personalized and free advice talk to our friendly job seeker support team who will be able to send you in the right direction.
This is subject of endless debate in our office.
Really, there is no right answer. In some circumstances including a photograph on your CV can help provide a more human element to the application, which some employers appreciate - yet some see it as completely unnecessary.
Omitting the headshot been standard advice for many years to job seekers in New Zealand and Australia, with the main argument being that even though you are applying in hopes of getting a job, including a photo is what will just put off employers.
What if it’s a good photo?
Researchers found that the majority of HR departments did not rank it high in terms of importance, and when it came down to it would pick the more ‘pedestrian’ looking person if given the option –especially if the person making that hiring decision is a woman.
So… why is there no answer?
Including a photo can often be based on industry and cultural preference, however in most circumstances the contents of a CV is dictated to by legally what information people can provide. Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) law, or not discriminating people based on age, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity and so on means in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, asking for this information directly is illegal – so in most cases the business you apply with will not ask for the photo outright.
This means there are no clear cut practices about whether to include a picture and often depends on what industry or role you are applying for. For example if you are applying a role in retail or customer service your impression is important as a large part of the role is engaging face to face with customers, and helping them directly.
Things are changing in these industries and in many circumstances employers of these roles will welcome video CVs as a means of gauging how candidates articulate themselves and how well they explain details. This gives you the opportunity to send your CV to the employer as well as let them see how you look.
Another good thing to do is provide a link to your LinkedIn profile on your CV, that way if the hiring manager wants to learn more about you they can see a picture of you on your profile. (Even better, if you create a profile on Career Fusion you can upload a photo and a video so you are able to introduce yourself to employers).
What’s the best strategy?
If you’re uncomfortable about including a picture on your CV, one good strategy is applying via a matching platform, such as Temp Market or Career Fusion, or providing links to your professional social channels, like LinkedIn on your CV. This gives the person looking at your application the option of easily seeing what you look like if they wish to.
The fact is now days most people have an online profile such as Facebook or Twitter that you can be seen on.
For more tips and advice, head to our blog. www.careerfusion.co.nz/blog
Managers are looking for quick ways to make a hiring decision, things that will indicate to them whether you can do the role, things such as:
What’s often defined purely as ‘experience’ is a combination of these quick indicators of one key underlying factor: whether you have the right skills and aptitude to be able to successfully do the job.
So our advice, is that you need to move your focus from experience, (or lack thereof) onto effectively communicating your skills and ability. Think about how to showcase yourself, and how you can show employers that you are someone they want to hire. Can you get the job done? Ok, let’s prove it.
Number 4 is key: if you want to be able to make a strong impression, you need to be able to show this to employers – and a good place to start is skills testing.
Imagine you are applying for a receptionist job with an organization you would love to work with. If you are someone who does not have any prior experience in a similar role, you need to think about the key skills they would be looking for. Most receptionist roles data entry heavily so will need the follow skills:
Showing employers upfront as part of your application that you are a fast typist, and proficient on Microsoft Word will give them the information they need to know instantly if you are a candidate to shortlist. Regardless of whether you’ve worked as a receptionist before.
If you are establishing your career, are someone who was in one industry but are now looking for something new, or you are making a complete change, joining the Career Fusion community means that you’ll stand out to employers. www.careerfusion.co.nz
Effective communication is about being useful to others, rather than just being interesting. When crafting a job application this is a distinction people generally fail to make.
Think about social networking; sites such as Facebook and Instagram. They are full interesting stuff, but how useful are they? People talking about what they had for breakfast or posting a videos with captions such as “OMG, look at a video of my 18 month old drawing a circle”.
This kind of communication is boring, and equally elicits a no response. The only way you can respond is with a “like”.
If you are a job seeker just being interesting isn’t going to get you the job. When you send an job application to an employer the goal is to get employed. The response you want to prompt from an employer is action. You want to position yourself in an employer's mind as a potential employee and make them want to contact you.
To do this you need to be effectively engaged with the job you are applying for.
Before you send your next application check off these 3 main points:
This will allow you to write about how you align with the strategic focus of the business, as well as show that you have taken the time to actually look into what the business does. (It might surprise you how many people fail to do this).
If you want to be considered seriously for the positions you are applying for, you need to go beyond simply listing your skills and experience, and actually communicate how your interest in the position relates to your skills and experience, which tangibly affects their business.
We are all guilty of taking the easy road and just stating what we know, or trying to make ourselves seem interesting. The real value is creating a path for prospective employers to come back to you.
For more tips and advice, head to our blog. www.careerfusion.co.nz/blog
It can be a truly terrifying thing to admit that you’re not enjoying your current career path.
It is so easy to ignore the signs: you come home from work feeling drained; you snap, taking out your frustrations on loved ones at home; you daydream about what life could be like on the other side of the fence.
And yet, you make exactly zero changes. Because you don’t know what to change first. So you take the easy way out: you grin and bear it. You survive.
But take the more difficult path and admit that there is a problem, and where does that leave you?
Daunted, yes. Challenged? Absolutely. But you feel liberated. Problems become opportunities.
If you want to get a career change off the ground but have no idea where to start, here are our tips.
Whatever you do, don’t do it alone.
It’s so easy to internalise our career struggles, because it’s hard to share details about something so personal and altogether less concrete.
Despite this, it’s important to share your doubts with somebody. Talk to friends. Mention it to your long-suffering partner (if you think your relationship can handle it, that is!). Speak to your family, or even a professional counsellor. This is helpful for a number of reasons, but not least because making the problem tangible seems to diminish its hold on the rest of your life.
Now that the problem has been reduced, use the people around you as research.
Don’t rely on reading about other careers – try them for yourself.
If and when the opportunities present themselves, go to work with your friends and family. Watch them in action. See how it feels. The frustrating thing about a job is that you never truly know what it’s going to be like until you’re in the midst of it, so use any opportunities for research to your advantage!
It’s also important not to consider one workplace as representative of all workplaces in that industry. Sometimes it’s not the nature of the work, but your current work environment that makes it unpleasant. With studies showing that toxic work environments are literally bad for your health, getting out of there is a no-brainer. And equally, being discerning about the kind of environment you’ll commit yourself to next is essential in order to avoid a burnout.
Relieve the pressure.
The language that you choose to describe your career change can affect the way that you feel about it. And the way that you frame your own personal narrative is entirely up to you.
Try not to use language that places huge amounts of pressure on you, or creates an expectation of figuring out a career that’s perfect right this moment. Eliminate the feeling that this is your last chance to get it right – it’s not. It’s a step towards another step, which will eventually lead towards the steps to satisfaction. You can change your mind.
Let your CV show employers that you’re serious.
You’ve done the research, observed a range of professionals in their natural habitats, and have found an industry that you’d like to be a part of. Congratulations! The next step is for you to start applying for jobs.
If your most recent CV tells a very different story, don’t be disheartened – all it needs is a bit of a makeover.
Think about the career you’re moving into, and consequently, the skills and attributes that you know employers will be looking for. Now think about your work history. Chances are, there’ll be experiences you’ve had in old roles that might demonstrate that you have what it takes. Put these front and centre for a resume that makes sense.
Secondly, a great personal summary/career profile is your saving grace. Explain yourself. Demonstrate your motivation. If the points you’ve highlighted in past roles support your ambition, then you’ve given yourself every fighting chance.
You’re now prepared to take your next leap of faith.
Remember to keep talking, keep looking, keep asking yourself if you’re passionate and engaged. Statistics show that we’re likely to make a career change an average of seven times in a lifetime. Take the pressure off this switch and just enjoy it for what it is: an opportunity to learn more about yourself. Use it wisely!
Keywords: change your career, want to switch careers, planning a career change, career change, career/s, figuring out a career, CV, make a career change
While social media might be seen by many as a bit of fun and a way to stay in touch with family and friends, it is also a lot more than that. It is your online curriculum vitae to which potential employers will turn as they evaluate your suitability to fill the position they have vacant – and it is also increasingly the conduit through which you will find the job that best suits your skills and ambitions.
That’s according to Sharon Davies, managing director of Fusion. She says those serious about their careers are well advised to take care with how they engage on social media. “These days, there is a wide choice of social media platforms available, from LinkedIn for professionals, to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter for sharing just about anything you choose. But potential employers won’t just check out your LinkedIn profile – they are likely to take a peek at your social media activity across all platforms to get a better idea of the kind of person you are.”
Davies says Fusion, which is a technology-driven organisation that helps candidates find work fast, has found that slightly more than a quarter of those who use profiling indicate that they act on information found online to assess – and reject - applicants. It’s a proportion she expects to grow as more people use social media and more employers are alerted to its ability to provide insights into candidate behaviour.
Furthermore, Davies says the emergence of ‘programmatic advertising’, which assesses what individuals are posting about, and then tailors advertisements accordingly, is increasingly being leveraged by employers. “That means your activity will determine what sort of job ads will be presented to you. This use of social media is a demonstration that candidates should always be open to opportunities – whether happily employed or not – as the job ads will come looking for you rather than the other way around. The best jobs are not necessarily going to be on traditional media in future.”
While ‘social media snooping’ may appear somewhat unethical on the face of it, Davies says that is a moot point. “Putting information out into the open means anyone can see it. Discussing the ethics of a potential employer searching the internet for your digital footprints is beside the point – what matters is that it is happening. What matters more is that only you have the power to control what information about yourself is published online.”
Whether or not it is a fair way to assess a candidate is open to question. “Candidates naturally put their best foot forward when looking for work; employers are getting the other side of the story by looking at spontaneous activity on social media which provides part of the other side,” Davies notes.
But she also points out that job seekers can assess potential employers by precisely the same methods, making the use of social media a two-way street. “Progressive employers tend to have careers websites and use social as a way of engaging and opening dialogue with prospective candidates. Those sites provide insights into who’s hiring and they can be the window through which contact is established and maintained, potentially leading to a great position.”
She has simple advice for job seekers: “Treat all your online presences as an extension of your curriculum vitae. Check your privacy settings, particularly on Facebook, so you can have a better idea of who can look at your profile and the information you post there. Remember that context matters; flippant comments or rude off the cuffs may seem amusing at the time, but they could tell a different story to a prospective employer.
“Above all, if you wouldn’t say something to your mother, you should probably consider not saying it on a public platform.”
“Employers only want to hire young people” and “I can’t get a job because I’m too old” are comments we’re hearing regularly from applicants both on paper and in interviews. I interviewed a 55 year old gentleman last week who said that to me no less than four times!
The media isn’t helping; with plenty of depressing stories about how difficult it is to get back into the job market if you are retrenched in your later years. The problem is, when you’re a mature aged job seeker in front of a Hiring Manager and you proliferate this view, you are suggesting that this application process is a waste of your time. If you believe you are not going to get the role anyway, this in turn makes the Hiring Manager wonder if they should think that too.
Many employers understand the value that mature job seekers can bring to the table. Reliability, maturity, initiative and mentoring…. all valuable skills for any business. If an employer has doubts, it might be about whether you have the computer skills to do the job, whether you’re agile, fit or can adapt to their company culture. It’s up to you to convince them that you do, you are and you will.
Get online and take a skills test to submit with your application. The Career Fusion platform enables you to demonstrate your computer, data entry or typing prowess. A great way to show you’re proactive and can do the job: without even being asked!
As a society, we are increasingly focussed on peer review and referral: we refer to the internet for advice on where to eat, where to stay and even who to date. Mature aged job seekers are in a great position to do leverage referrals, given the years they’ve had to perfect certain skills and lots of past colleagues who can endorse them for it!
If you’re job hunting, regardless of your age, you should have a professional profile on LinkedIn and not be shy about asking your contacts to endorse you. You should also submit written testimonials or links to your social media reviews, to reinforce your strengths.
Examples that might make mature candidates stand out from ‘younger’ applicants include soft skills that come with time and experience, such as negotiation or team building.
If you believe that age is stopping you from getting past first base in your job search, think creatively about how you can remove that barrier. It’s not a requirement to put birthdate or a photo on your CV. You can list qualifications without dates. Your aim is to let your skills and experience get you to a job interview, where your great personality will shine through.
It’s hard work for Hiring Managers to shortlist from a piece of paper. Make it easy for them to SEE your great personality and ‘can do’ attitude with a video profile. If you own a mobile phone, you can create a ‘why you need to meet me’ video. See some hints on making a good profile video here.
At this precise moment, there are five generations in the workforce. The variety of jobs and company cultures available is as wide as the demographics of the applicants looking to work. Rather than blindly applying for every job you see, there is merit in taking a considered approach, targeting companies that are a fit with your values and background and thinking about where you can really add value. Then tailor an application that speaks to that business.
The same gentleman who opened our interview last week with a depressing overview of why his age meant he was virtually unemployable, perked up at the 20 minute mark. He told a story about how he decided to repair a damaged item of stock that had been dumped in the corner of the warehouse, using glue and an old scarf from the boot of his car. That initiative enabled the item to be sold (at a discount), to a happy customer and made $200 for the office Christmas party. Now that’s not a story I’ve ever heard from a 23 year old! He starts next week.
There are some common mistakes people make when submitting a job application. Most of the time these are easily spotted by hiring managers. Here’s a list of some of the key things you should be looking out for when creating a great job application.
It can be frustrating looking at the application details on job ads as they are often incredibly long and detailed, however not following them properly will put you at a disadvantage. 87% of hiring managers say they will not took at an application that has not followed instructions properly. For this reason you should be mindful to read the ad and submit your application accordingly.
If there are specific details in the ad about what you should do, or what you should give yourself the best chance by actually following through. This could be things such as supplying references or applying via a specific email address.
Do employers actually read it? Does it add any value to the information that’s already on my CV? The short answer is - yes absolutely.
A cover letter is designed to provide an executive summary as to why you are applying and what skills you will bring to the particular role. CVs on the other hand are meant to be a more detailed summary of your skills, work history, and education.
Spend 10 minutes thinking about
These will help structure your cover letter, which should be no longer than a page.
We are all guilty of rushing, but proof reading can make or break your application. 75% of hiring managers say the first thing that they notice on an application is basic spelling and grammatical errors. If you really want the job you are applying for take the time double check and ensure there are no mistakes.
The best thing you can do is get someone else to proof read your documents for you, they will be able to spot mistakes you’re skimming over as well as match sure it reads properly.
Your probability of landing a job doesn’t increase because you apply in a bunch of different places. Spend time crafting a quality application. Choose the jobs that match your skills and personality, select employers that you are actually interested in. Put your effort into opportunities that are relevant to you, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
It’s a tough world out there, but if you put in extra effort it will really help set you apart and generate results!
For more job hunting Tips and Advice on follow our blog www.careerfusion.co.nz/blog
Let’s get one thing off our chests straight away.
Ok, two things: first, that bit of dried-out apple and banana puree (how long has that been there?). And now, the other thing. Which is the title of this blog. Implying that you haven’t been ‘working’ up until this point is ludicrous.
How many other bosses have called you at all hours of the night, every night, yelling incomprehensible diatribe right at you, pushing you to a state so vegetative that you nearly hug the NZ Post guy because he gives you a whole sentence of pure, unadulterated, human English?
So ‘returning to work’ is a misnomer. But now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.
Want to get back into the office? Wondering if this whole working after Baby idea’s got legs? Guess what? It does. Now, let’s do this.
Today’s how-to: Negotiating flexible work arrangements.
Remember the last time you were at the supermarket checkout with your toddler?
Ok, first, a breath. In. Out. It is over.
Therapy bills and extreme public embarrassment aside, think about how you handled that situation. Chances are it involved the word ‘no,’ some histrionics (his/hers, yours or maybe both), and a resolution. You negotiated.
So you know you can do it. But the tip here is to do it with your boss, not with a screaming infidel, and without an elaborate, staged display of abandonment using repeated utterings of the phrase ‘Bye bye, Archer, bye bye’.
In his book Never Split the Difference, former lead FBI Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss shares some trade secrets on negotiating towards a desired outcome. And some of them may well surprise you.
1.Slow down the conversation.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that honesty and a direct approach will work. You’re infinitely more likely to have success with a slower, more roundabout conversation. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it works, Voss says. “[directness] tends to come across as being very blunt and overly aggressive… dealing with me might feel like getting hit in the face with a brick.”
So. You’ve got your straight-shooting manager on the phone. And you might be tempted to mirror her approach in order to negotiate those flexible working arrangements, with a “Karen, I’m going to cut to the chase. I would like to return to work but on part-time hours.”
Nope! Ease Karen in. Establish empathy, trust and a rapport first or you’ll be ending with a ‘bye bye, Karen, bye bye.’ (And it’s probably not going to be as effective on a 40 year-old serial entrepreneur with an MA in Finance.)
2.Forget about ‘yes’.
What’s a toddler’s favourite word? No.
The same goes for whoever it is you’re negotiating with. Framing your question in a way that requires your negotiating partner to say ‘yes’ is going to instantly get his or her hackles up. Voss believes that ‘yes’ is confrontational. It requires a commitment. Conversely, ‘no’ makes people relax. “If you make it clear to them that it’s okay to say “no”, then you help them feel autonomous which makes them more collaborative.”
So, instead of “Hi Karen, do you have a moment to talk about me coming back to work?”, try “Hi Karen, I was hoping to speak to you about coming back to work. Is now a bad time?”
3.Think of all the things that could be used against you – and use them yourself.
Voss believes that to establish rapport and collaboration quickly, you should “acknowledge the negative and defuse it”.
So instead of, “Hey Karen, I don’t want you to think I’m not committed,” try “Hey Karen, I know it seems like I’m not committed.” It’s a subtle change but again, it makes Karen feel heard, it demonstrates that you’re thinking about her feelings and most of all, it takes that argument right out of the picture.
So there you go. Negotiating flexible working arrangments, FBI-style. So you can return to your dreams of working after Baby - on your own terms.
But what if you don’t have a job? CV magic tips and some career-divining jiu jitsu, up next.
Now, time to pour a glass of sav and binge watch Human Target…
Want more help? Give us a call. We’ve got dedicated careers consultants ready to give your career ambitions an extreme makeover for free! (What’s the catch? There’s no catch! (But how do we make money? Check us out here: www.careerfusion.co.nz)
Tell us about yourself: There’s nothing more panic-inducing than the moment in an interview when the person in front of you says - “So, tell us a bit about yourself”. Your mind goes blank and all you can think about is the fact that you can’t think. Or is that just me?
Not to worry, if you are looking for an easier way to find your next job, follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to discussing MORE important things - like whether your new desk has a view!
Create your Fusion profile in these 3 easy steps (It’s a 10 minute investment in your future.)
1. Add a photo
It’s always smart to go with a neat headshot, but don’t be boring, you want people to talk to you!
That doesn’t mean you have to be an Instagram model to catch someone’s eye: FACT: research published in a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found average, typical faces to be the most trustworthy – It’s science people! Just keep it professional and friendly.
2. Skills Assessments
At the end of the day, employers are looking for people who can actually do the job.
One of the main things that sets Career Fusion a part from other job matching platforms, is our 3-Dimensional Recruitment™. That means you get matched on actual skills test results, not just a key word search. Fusion allows you to take any skills tests from our suite tests, and add them to your profile for free.
Question: What’s better than free?
Answer: Literally, nothing. (Other than free money).
Skills tests you can take to show your stuff include:
3. Intro Bio
Ok, so you won’t believe me but writing about yourself is easy if you follow these easy steps.
Now you’re done! I told you it was super quick and easy.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you’ll be seen by employers who are searching the Fusion database. If someone is interested in learning more about you, or organizing a face to face interview, you will be notified.
If you want some personal advice on what you can do to improve your job hunting prospects, book a FREE 20 minute phone consultation with one of our experienced recruiters. They want you to get matched on Fusion, so will give you all the hints they can to make your profile stand out.
Good luck !
Here’s Part 2 of our ABC of CVs: your DEF-initive guide to three more of the most commonly requested soft skills, and how to show that you’ve got them in your cover letter or interview.
‘D’ is for ‘Delegation’
What is it?
The ability to distribute tasks to members of your team who have the best skills and resources to get them done.
Why is it good?
If you need to operate in any kind of leadership capacity, an ability to delegate successfully is essential to make sure that you’re spending your – and crucially, your company’s – time effectively. And remember: time is money!
How do I show I’ve got it?
If you’ve studied at a tertiary level, have you ever run a group project before? If not, take a step further back and think about times you’ve stepped up as a leader: we could be talking sports teams, musical ensembles, discussion groups and more.
Still no dice? That’s ok – experience is great, but if you don’t have it, tell them how you’d be a great delegator. Here are our top three tips:
1. Make sure everyone is crystal-clear on what the big-picture end goal is.
2. Include your team in the delegation process if possible – this might mean giving a group of people a collection of tasks and asking them to assign them among themselves.
3. Agree on a timeline before you start. Establish deadlines and set mini-goals. Is everybody on the same page?
With a bit of preparation, you too can be a great delegator. So if you don’t have experience, don’t shy away from the question. Own it, with a hypothetical scenario that showcases your management flair!
‘E’ is for ‘Empathy’
Empathy is an ability to experience the feelings of somebody else and relate those emotions back to your own experiences.
It’s often confused with sympathy – but it goes one further. While sympathy says, “Rachel McAdams’ character was so sad in that movie. It was horrible,” empathy says, “When that happened to me, I was devastated. Rachel McAdams’ character must have gone through hell.”
If you’re able to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, you’re immediately a step ahead in any customer-facing role, from Psychiatry to Inbound Sales. It also makes you a better contributor to your workplace, as your understanding of other peoples’ emotions means you’re less likely to accidentally step on any toes.
How do you show you’ve got it?
If you’ve had to ‘put yourself in somebody else’s shoes’ as part of your role, then you’ve had to demonstrate empathy. Stories about resolving customer complaints, making a sale that was relevant to the customer’s needs, or quelling interpersonal conflict within your team will do the job wonderfully.
‘F’ is for ‘Feedback’
Giving feedback means sharing your thoughts on something for the intended purpose of guiding or changing the course of things to come.
Why is it important?
Hurt feelings, confusion and a sub-par end result are just a few of the things you can expect with poor quality of feedback – so being able to give solid, polite, constructive (ie, helpful) feedback is a must.
Have you ever had to give constructive criticism on someone’s work, or participated in a peer review?
If you can’t draw upon prior experience, again, don’t stress – you can turn it into a hypothetical. And the best way to dish out feedback? The ‘sandwich’ approach: start and end on a compliment, with anything remotely negative in the middle. Here’s an example:
“Karen, I loved your story. The tone was warm and engaging and I can see it really connecting with your audience.
I would only suggest that you revisit the giant turkey section on page27, as readers might be disengaged by something that doesn’t feel like it belongs within the constraints of the world you’ve constructed.
Other than that, though, I think we’re going to end up with something unique and really special. It was a pleasure to read.”
And that’s that! But don’t go too far away. We’ve got a GHI-normous week in store, just around the corner.
Don’t forget to check in with us at any time for a free, 30-minute careers consult spanning CVs, cover letters, interviews and more: www.careerfusion.co.nz
Our ABC of CVs will give you all you need to know about those soft skills you’ll want to show off in your resume or interview.
This week it’s A, B and C. Pull up a chair and get comfy, folks. You’re going to want to hear this.
‘A’ is for ‘Active Listening’
The ability to draw information from a situation that might not have otherwise been offered.
Employers want intuitive staff – people who’ll treat each other, clients and management intelligently and with respect. Plus you’ll naturally be a comparatively faster learner and excel in client-facing roles.
This one’s perfect for an interview. Restating what has been said to you for clarification, relating situations to similar experiences, and drawing conclusions from what has been said are all ways you can show that you’re actively listening.
Can I have an example?
“I understand – so you’re saying that…?”
“I had a similar experience when…”
“I can imagine how challenging that must be.”
‘B’ is for ‘Business Development’
The ability to drum up new business and bring in new customers to an existing portfolio, increasing its value to your company.
It’s a no-brainer, really. If you can bring in new business, the company you’re working for will continue to grow, and meet or exceed financial targets. More dollars means happy bosses! And happy bosses? Well that’s a career in the clear.
The easiest way is with proven examples of new customers you’ve brought on board in a previous role, which you can mention in a resume as sub-points under the relevant role, and also in an interview situation. But if you don’t have demonstrable experience, that doesn’t mean you don’t have an aptitude*, so don’t rule yourself out!
If you’re a great communicator, handy with a computer, well adept at reading people (including body language), excel in a team situation and have a head for the bottom line, chances are you’re on the money. Pun totally intended.
‘C’ is for ‘Conflict Management’
The ability to handle difficult workplace situations, for example, differences of opinion, that could otherwise fester, escalate and destroy staff morale. On the flip side, there are some sorts of conflict that can actually be beneficial to the workplace, so being able to tell the one from the other is key.**
Being able to negotiate people’s feelings AND the needs of the business makes you an asset in any workplace. Less conflict means more productivity, and at the end of the day, more dollars in the bank. Happy days!
If you’ve worked in Customer Service before, chances are you’ve demonstrated it at a career level on a daily basis. If you’ve ever handled a complaint from a client and made sure it didn’t escalate further, then congratulations – you’ve got it!
‘Good’ conflict usually takes place in a safe environment and has guidelines in place to ensure that it doesn’t turn nasty: think meetings, staged debates and 360-degree reviews.
Make sure you bring up any moments where you’ve excelled in Conflict Management at the interview – and then bring it home.
Ready to give your job search some further oomph? Then stay tuned – you’ll ‘D-E-F’-initely want to know a bit about next week’s three skills.
*Psst – got no experience and keen to prove that you’ve got what it takes? Our skills testing can identify your hidden talents. Book a free, 30-minute chat with our Career Consultants today.
**Want more resume help? Spend some time with us! http://careerfusion.co.nz We don’t bite … that would be unbeneficial conflict http://www.careerfusion.co.nz/
I’d like to ask you a question. If you were a fruit, what would you be?
A pineapple? Tough and spiky on the outside, sweet on the inside? Or how about an orange, with all of your components perfectly compartmentalised? Or a pear, the apple’s quieter, more dignified cousin?
If this line of questioning sounds ridiculous, then you might be surprised to know that hiring managers and selection panels are asking questions just like this. (If you’re curious, the correct answer was reportedly “a grape, because I work just as well by myself as I do in a team.”)
Whether you’re face-to-face, on the phone or using modern technology to do the job, interviews are one of life’s inevitable phenomena that can cause sweaty palms and mumbled words. But there are ways to make it less painful. And they don’t have to involve obscure metaphors or the imagined threat of an imminent zombie apocalypse.
Earlier this year, employer ratings site Glassdoor conducted a study to determine the top 50 most common interview questions. Taking a moment to prepare thoughtful answers will pay dividends in the long run, with less umms, ahhs and frantic pauses. Here are our top tips for interrogative success.
Every business is different, as is each job. If there are details about the job that you can learn prior to actually being interviewed, do the research and get a huge head-start on preparing answers to show you are a great fit.
“Tell me a bit about yourself,” is a nice, broad, non-confrontational opener that is very commonly used. Mumbling through the very first question gets you off on the wrong foot from the very start, so have an answer for this.
Knowing how you view your strengths and weaknesses is really helpful. But don’t expect the question to be asked outright; because seasoned interviewers don’t want a rehearsed response. Prepare for a question such as “What criticism have you received from a manager before?” and have a story with details about how you addressed that concern.
Interviewers are disappointed if you don’t bring an intelligent interview question or two of your own to the table – so make sure you’re prepared! Some good starters include: “Where do you see this role going in 12 month’s time?” or “What does my being successful in this role look like for you?”
Good luck – you’ll be apples.
Want more tips like this? Your career consultant at Fusion can help. Book a free 30 minute appointment today. www.careerfusion.co.nz