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Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 102 – What an employer sees

A belated Happy New Year to everyone, we hope you enjoyed the Christmas and New Year Festivities and you have started your new year well.

We have had a couple of interesting weeks here in the office as clients and your future host employer’s start looking for help and assistance.

What do we mean by “interesting?”

Well part of the reason is because of the quality of the information contained in the CV’s we have on file.

Now Rachel is very good and will always ask you to clarify a point or two if she needs to. BUT – there are 2 overriding concerns we have noted and would like to clarify, and these are:

    Accuracy of the information in your CV (and included in that – what are you not saying) and
    Perceived job hopping.

Let us look at each of these points in turn.

Accuracy of your CV

Clients will always come to us with a specific requirement. They need people who have certain skills and abilities that perhaps their current stable of permanent employees don’t have – and they need to know if we can fill their positions.

We always like to say YES.

As you know, when you register with us, we ask you to fill in the skills forms. That long winded document that tells us what you are good at, where your strengths lie, and if you have any particular software experience a host employer can use.

What we have noticed though is a disconnect between what is being written on the form and what is written on the CV, not always you understand – but if you could please consider:

    Not stating what software you are using in a particular role
    Not stating what your duties are

If you could consider – as you go through your working day, write down everything that you do, including which piece of software you are using – and then when you get home, comparing that list with what it says on your CV. Now, there isn’t any great need to add everything to your CV – but if all you are stating is (for example) mail opening, scanning and distribution – it may not accurately reflect what you are doing.

If however you state – Use of Trim 6.2.5 to … insert rest of sentence – then the potential host employer can see at a glance whether you are the correct person for the job on offer or not. There is no guess work.

Why should this be important?

Consider you are applying for that perfect job you have always wanted. You submit your CV and then wonder why you don’t get invited to the interview.

There may be 1 very good reason why this happened. There are others of course, but I would like to highlight just one.

The company you applied to always screens the CV’s they receive with a piece of HR specific software. That piece of software goes through the documents and looks for the terms, keywords and key phrases they have deemed important. It is the only way they can keep on top of the number of applications they receive. If you have sent in your “normal” CV and have not tailored it to their job advertisement and haven’t added in the correct mix of terms and keywords – you will be rejected. You may have been the perfect person for the job – but because you didn’t write it down – the machine can’t tell and they certainly don’t have time to do follow up phone calls.

We cannot expect a machine to read between the lines of what we do and didn’t state in our application / CV, my question to you is – why should we expect humans to do it either?

Finally in looking at your CV – can you tell, at a glance – namely on the first page what your skills and abilities are? Do you list each piece of software you use? What are your strengths? Have you won any awards? If you can’t tell, then an employer isn’t going to be able to either, so maybe it’s time to do a re-write.

The second point we would like to discuss is that of perceived job hopping. What does that mean?

Well

If you are on contract – say so

We have said this more than once, but again it was highlighted to us recently when a client asked:

“Why has this person been in so many positions in the last 12 months?”

We know you are on contract, we know that as a contractor you will be moving jobs on a regular basis. All your host employer sees is someone who cannot hold down a job for any length of time.

This perception of job hopping may impact on you getting additional work – either through us or via your own efforts to find work. So how do you fix this problem?

The simplest way is to add a line under the job title and dates you were employed that says:

Contract position to xyz company

We would prefer it if you could also add our name, as we are your employer while you are under contract through us, so the line is

Contract position through Information Enterprises Australia to xyz company

This will suffice and will stop future employers questioning your rapid movement.

As we begin the year please let us know if there are any topics you would like to see us cover in these newsletters, and if you have any questions regarding your CV please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we would be only too glad to offer help and assistance – and don’t forget there is a CV Template you can use if you would like to do a revamp for 2012. http://www.iea.com.au/web/Employment/Benefits_of_working_through_IEA/Services_For_Job_Seekers/ and click on the link under Information Documents on the right hand side of the page.