Jonathan Blain's Blog

In this blog you can expect, thought provoking, innovative, creative, insightful and game changing: new thinking, new ideas and new solutions about Job Hunting and Career Problem Solving and Issues, and CV and Resume Writing.

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When you have reached the level of CEO / Top Executive, lots of people look up to you and think your life and career is great; often others aspire to be just like you, and to achieve what you have achieved, yet for many there is a price to pay.

 

Lower down in your career it was much easier to find support, in fact often people would volunteer it, but the higher up the ladder you get, the less people seem available to offer you personal advice; they either feel you don’t need it, or wouldn’t welcome it, and in some respects seeking advice can feel like weakness, or an admission that you have a problem. Often those who actually offer advice, often know less than you do, there is nothing worse than being on the receiving end of advice you don’t rate and can’t trust.

 

Increasingly CEOs / Top Executives find a shortage of certain types of advisers, who understand their issues, and the challenges that they face. A perfect example of this, is finding someone able to offer highly relevant CV / Resume writing advice and support. People who have been CEOs and Top Executives, generally speaking, don’t pick up second careers as CV writers and CV / Resume experts.

 

Times change, and many CEOs / Top Executives find themselves needing or wanting new jobs and career opportunities. For the select few, opportunities come to them, but for the vast majority you have to get out into the job market, network and search for jobs online, submit your CV / Resume and apply for jobs, just like people lower down need to.

 

In many respects the more senior you are, the more challenges you face. There might not be as much competition for high level jobs, but invariably the calibre of the competition is high, meaning that achieving success can be challenging.

 

When you are used to being at the top, looked up to and respected, typically the one making the decisions, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes frightening to have to go through other people’s recruitment and selection processes. Perhaps for the first time in ages, you face the real prospect of failure and rejection, it can hurt your ego, damage your confidence and give you considerable stress and anxiety.

 

I know because I have been there. In 2007 / 2008 when the global financial meltdown happened, my previously successful career hit the buffers, I found myself in the unfortunate situation of being out of work with no income, in an increasingly desperate situation. I’d previously been a Royal Naval Officer, a CEO of a Quoted Plc for nearly five years and Managing Director of the FTSE 100 subsidiary company. At that time, few organisations were hiring, in fact many were going out of business or laying people off, it was the toughest time for job hunting in a generation.

 

Through a synchronistic sequence of events, I reluctantly took at low paid job as an executive level CV / Resume writer. In line with my personality and character, I immediately knew I wanted to make a big difference to the careers and lives of the people whose CV’s I was helping to create. I simply can’t do ordinary, I can’t fit in with the status quo, or be average, and settle for mediocrity. I felt drawn to answer two simple questions:

 

Why do some people’s CVs / Resumes work and others don’t?

What do you need to do, if you want to get the very best results possible?

These are simple questions, but the answer to both are not. It ended up taking me seven years of research, study, experimentation until I finally worked out the answers. My starting point on almost any project is to find out what is best practice, who knows more about this than anyone else, who is at the top of their game in this? That becomes the starting point, after which I am driven to discover how to become even better. This involves pioneering into the unknown, innovating, trial and error, and using imagination and judgement.

 

After writing 500+ executive level CV’s I stopped writing CVs / Resumes for other people, and started teaching, helping and supporting them to write their own. I helped many people to turn failure into success, success into even better success and for those who hadn’t started to short cut straight to the best approach to get the best results. It became a part of life purpose to help others to:

 

  1. Live better lives

 

  1. Have betters careers

 

  1. Run better businesses / organisations and

 

  1. Make the world a better place.

 

I have a belief that as human beings we are all in some way connected, we are better when we work together, collaborate and help each other. Our lives are connected to our careers, our careers are typically connected to businesses or organisations, and we individually and collectively have the ability to make a contribution to a greater good. If your career goes well, it gives you choices in your life, and impacts your quality of life, lifestyle, your happiness and fulfillment. Whilst it is possible to do well in your career by being selfish and nasty, it doesn't ultimately bring you happiness, that will come when you contribute positively to others, to the business and organisations you come into contact with.

 

When you come to write your new CV / resume, it is really a chance to take stock to look at where you have come from you, what you have got and achieved, where you are now, and to consider what you want for the rest of your career and your life. You also need to see how the world has changed, and how it is changing and how you can find your place, that enables you to be happy, successful and fulfilled.

 

CV and Resume writing is part art and part science. It felt like everything I had ever done, experienced and achieved was part of a giant apprenticeship to help me to serve other people better. My past experience as an award winning salesman and marketer, owner of a sales training company, recruiter, MD of a FTSE 100 subsidiary recruitment company, an entrepreneur who had previously made millions and a bestselling non-fiction author and thought leader of (12 books / $3.8m+ sales) whose work had previously been endorsed by many top leaders including nine heads of UK top 1000 companies including Apple, Sony, Carphone Warehouse, St James’s Place, The Director General of the Institute of Directors and the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy all became relevant. I have always liked leadership; I created arguably the world’s most comprehensive video based education resource on leadership excellence, where I interviewed top leaders from the military, business, academia and top thought leaders. It felt only natural to offer inspiring, visionary leadership in CV and Resume writing.

 

I developed a radical new, game changing approach that is completely different to anything else that exists. It is called the CV / Resume Game Change System www.CVResumeGameChange.com.

 

I’ve created a free training workshop to tell you more about what I discovered; you can access it, simply by going to the website, and signing up for it. What you’ll learn is that the CV document itself is just the tip of a very big metaphoric iceberg.

 

If you are a CEO or a top executive, I can offer you CV and Resume writing support like no other, at the leading edge, 100% focussed on delivering the best results.

 

For a confidential chat please contact me: Jonathan Blain, jonathan@jonathanblain.com Tel: 0787 33 33 0 33 .

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There are some things that seem obvious, that we can just accept as fact, that when looked at closer are not as true or straight forward as we might imagine.

In visual terms there are optical illusions, where things appear to be one thing, but are actually something else. There are many striking optical illusions; one that hit the headlines most recently, was the case of the dress in the media that when look at by some people was seen as being blue and black, yet when seen by another group of people it was clearly seen as being white and gold?

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Some People See This Dress and Blue and Black - Others See it As White and Gold

The Guardian Newspaper explained the phenomenon as follows: “It appears to be because of different interpretations of how the scene is illuminated. The brain automatically “processes” visual input before we consciously perceive it. Differences in this processing between people may underlie The Great Dress Debate”.

The truth is that as human beings what we perceive and believe to be true, sometimes isn’t. Seeing the truth or simply changing what you perceive and believe can change the status quo, it can help you to turn CV failure into success, or success into even greater success or if you haven’t yet started, it can enable you to short cut straight to the best approach, that will deliver you the best results as quickly and effectively as possible. People who achieve extraordinary things, often do so as a result of seeing things differently, thinking differently and acting differently.

Seven years ago I decided I wanted to discover the answer to two simple questions:

  1. Why do some CVs / Resumes work and others don’t?
  2. What do you need to do in writing your CV / Resume to achieve the very best results?

Apparently, pretty simple questions, but finding the answers proved anything but, after seven years of research study, trial and error, I finally figured out the answers.  Sadly this article doesn’t to set out to fully answers those questions for you, but what it does is offer you some game changing insights, or myth busters that can help you to see, think and hopefully act differently.

 

Myth Number 1 – My CV / Resume is all about me.

The most obvious fact is that your CV / Resume / Curriculum Vitae is about you, it has your name and contact details at the top, it contains your profile, career history, your qualifications, experience, achievements etc. In that respect it is clearly all about you.

However there is an alternative way of seeing and thinking about your CV, that is nothing less than a game changer, a disruptive innovation.

It involves changing your paradigm, and making a paradigm shift. In vocabulary.com a paradigm is “a new way of looking or thinking about something”.

In the new paradigm, your CV / Resume is not just about you, it is actually as much about the employer as it is about you. To understand this you need to answer the following questions:

  1. Who is your CV / Resume for, who is the recipient?         It is for the employer isn’t it.
  2. Who does the employer care more about, you or them?              The employer cares more about themselves than you.
  3. Are employers going to use your criteria or their criteria to decide who to choose? It is the employers who get to decide what criteria they are going to use.

The truth is your CV is part about you and it is part about the employer. You are the product / service that the employer is considering buying, you are the seller, and they are the buyer. Your CV / Resume is effectively your sales brochure / marketing literature. All marketers know that the best marketing copy addresses the wants, needs and deepest desires of the prospective buyers and that to sell something you need to competitively position it versus other alternatives. The same is true of your CV. To be most successful, adopt and employer centric approach, and a servant mind-set.  If you do this you realise that to start with you need to know a lot about the prospective employer.

Myth Number 2 – I just need to make my CV / Resume stand out

It seems obvious doesn’t it, the employer has potentially received large numbers of applicants, they could have a big pile of CV / Resume / Curriculum Vitae to sift through; you want yours to stand out, don’t you?

Having a stand out CV would seem like a very clear goal why wouldn’t that always be the best strategy?

The truth is it matters a great deal what your CV stands out for. Your CV might make you stand out as the number one idiot, the stand out person to definitely not hire.

The bottom line is that you have to stand out for the right reasons. You could submit your CV on pink paper and spray it with some perfume, like on the film Legally Blonde, but it may or may not deliver the results you hope for, because it all depends upon how the recipient would perceive it.

Myth Number 3 – Employers are going to hire the best candidates

Most people believe the job of your CV is to make yourself look as good as possible, on the basis that the will want to hire the best person. Surely this assertion can’t be wrong can it?

It might be a nuance, but the reality is that employers don’t necessarily want the best person, they want the best person for them. Of course the two may be one and the same, but equally they may not.

Someone with 2 PHD’s from Harvard, may have the brain the size of a planet, but they might be useless in the wrong job. There are all sorts of reasons why the best, most impressive people don’t get hired which may include:

  • They will be too expensive.
  • They will make everyone around them look bad and will disrupt the status quo.
  • They won’t be satisfied with the pay.
  • They may be perceived as a threat to their new boss.
  • They are likely to get head hunting so they won’t stay around…. Etc.

Employers typically don’t want  the best people, they want the best people for them.

Myth Number 4 – There is a right way and a wrong way to write a CV

So your CV is not working, you feel you need to go to a CV writing professional who knows how to best write a new CV. You get your CV written and take it to another CV writing professional to assess, what do you think is likely to happen? The chances are they will make a load of comments about how to improve you. Just supposing you do that and take it to another CV writing expert, what do you think they are going to say? The chances are that they too will make suggestions for improvement.

The truth is CVs / Resume / Curriculum Vitae are a little bit like beauty “it is all in the eye of the beholder”.

There isn’t a single right or wrong way to write a CV. That might be an inconvenient truth, but it is a truth nevertheless. Does that mean nothing is wrong? The answer is probably not, if your CV is not clearly laid out, and your information isn’t ordered in a logical structure, it is going to make it more difficult for a prospective employer to read and understand. Having an error strewn CV probably isn’t a good think either, but it all comes down to how the recipient perceives you and your CV.

This article is written by bestselling author and thought leader Jonathan Blain, who is a pioneer at the vangard of progress, human endeavour and enterprise and helps people to:

1. Live better lives.

2. Have better careers.

3. Run better businesses / organisations.

4. Make the world a better place.

See www.JonathanBlain.com

For the world's best CV / Resume training and support, a game changing new approach, see www.CVResumeGameChange.com

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When writing your CV or Resume, it is easy to just think about yourself, usually you are writing it at home on your own, stuck behind a computer monitor tapping away at the keyboard.

For some reason, most people will tend to give very little thought to other people. Things would be very different if we were on a running track in a lane competing with other people, in that situation we’d be very aware of them, we might be sizing them up, thinking about whether we could beat them or whether they would probably beat us. If someone looked, bigger, stronger, more athletic, and they appeared super confident with the aura of a winner, we might feel we didn’t stand a chance.

The truth is that our CV represents us in a game, or a competition. These days with the internet, making jobs widely available, it is rare that we are the only candidate, we are invariably up against other people. The objective of the game is to compete against others and win, therefore on our behalf, our CV or Resume needs to enable us to do that.

There might be various hurdles we need to overcome to get to the finish line in first place, and we could fall at any of these hurdles. What hurdles stand between us and the job offer of our dreams will vary from employer to employer, but these hurdles might be:

  1. An automated applicant tracking system which scans CVs and matches them for employer requirements.
  2. A recruitment company vetting and selection process that whittles down the applicants to a short list.
  3. An HR department picking their own short list.
  4. Getting invited to an interview and selection process.
  5. Being selected as the winner by the ultimate hiring decision makers who may be influenced by a variety of hiring influencers.
  6. Getting through the employer due diligence and reference checks through to employment start.

There is a potentially long journey your CV needs to go through, from the big pile of applications, through the applicant tracking technology into the long list of candidates that gets reduced to the short list. You could fall at any hurdle. At every stage you are going to be up against other candidates, it is almost inevitable that there will be winners and losers. The job of your CV is to enable you to win, so you have to be competitive. The difference between you and other people matters. Whilst you probably don’t know the other people, you can imagine the types of people that exist in your sector and field of expertise, you need to know what makes you different and unique and to have good reasons why the employer should hire you rather than anyone else. Most people don’t think about these things, we all have a deep rooted fear and doubt, based around the limiting belief that other people are better than us. It is the same thing as seeing the big strong confident person, racing against us on a race track. We can subconsciously give up before we even start, if we believe we can’t win, we probably won’t. There are however countless times in sport where the favourite doesn’t win, where an unlikely outsider that nobody has ever heard of goes on to win. We’ve all heard about the story of the race between the tortoise and the hare or the story from the bible of David and Goliath.

Sometimes the people who appear to have everything going for them lose. What most people do is write their CV and hope for the best, but someone who is determined to play a sport and win, doesn’t just hope for the best, they work out how they could win, and train and prepare so they can win.  When you write your CV you can do the same thing.

The more you look at what happens in practice and how things work, the more you will realise you can do to influence your success. Most people assume that employers make decisions on who to hire, purely on the requirements set out in their job description and job advert. Whilst sometimes they do, often they don’t. The requirements specified in a job description could be translated into a long list. If you put a box next to each of those requirements, and ticked each one that you met, you might find you meet all the requirements, yet don’t even get a reply at all, and don’t get invited to an interview. If that has happened to you, it doesn’t seem fair does it? The truth is that many people might be able to tick all or most of the boxes, it is what makes you different to other people, not what makes you the same that will get you hired.

The bottom line, is there is way more to CV and Resume writing than meets the eye. I have my favourite analogy about an iceberg, there is way more under the surface than there is above the surface.

The good news is that there is a huge amount that you can do to increase your chance of success. If you’d like to know more about what lies below the surface, that most people are not even aware of, it would be my pleasure and honour to serve you and help you.

Jonathan Blain

Best Selling Author and Thought Leader, Job Hunting and Career Problem Solving Expert

www.cvresumegamechange.com

jonathan@jonathanblain.com

Tel: +44 (0)787 33 33 0 33 

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Your CV Document is Actually Just The Tip of The Iceberg

Writing a CV / Resume is straight forward isn’t it, get a template or use a CV / Resume builder software, enter your details and it’s a case of job done! That is what most people think, but it simply isn’t true, if you want to get the best results possible.

If you want to be really competitive, and maximise the chance of success, you need to take CV and Resume writing to the highest level. When you take your CV and Resume writing to the highest level, you begin to realise that your CV / Resume document is actually just the tip of a very big iceberg.

When you are writing your CV and Resume, you are desperate to know what it should look like, how long it should be, how to lay it out, what to put in, and what to leave out. Almost every book and piece of advice you will find on CV and Resume writing addresses these things. It is difficult to think what else might be involved?

I’d like you to think about my favourite analogy of sport, because I think there are big similarities in job hunting, both are invariably competitions, and the objective is to compete and win. You can choose to play a sport at any level. The better your skills at playing the sport, the more successful you are likely to be. A very strange thing happens when you reach a certain level, and most people are not even aware of it, it stops just being just about the skills of the sport you are playing. If for example, your sport is tennis, you can perfect your shots and your ability to hit the ball faster and more accurately, and it will make a big difference to your success, but suddenly you reach a point, where other factors, other than your pure tennis playing skills comes in. These could be things like fitness, diet and nutrition, physiology, muscle strength, stamina, psychology, attitude, mind-set, equipment, technical nuances, competitor analysis, game plans, strategy, tactics, clothing, self-perception, beliefs etc. The variables can be infinite, I’ve even heard experienced commentators talk about the personal support of family and friends, happiness etc. all having an impact on success.

CV / Resume writing isn’t tennis, but the variables and factors that impact success can be just as varied and just as great; in fact some of them can be the same as top sports people’s variables like knowledge, understanding, attitude, beliefs, desire etc. There is a different world and set of considerations and variables in CV / Resume writing that most people aren’t even aware of, in fact like an iceberg, there is way more below the surface that you don’t see, unless you put on your scuba tank and enter the icy water, to see what lies beneath the surface.

Once you know there is way more below the surface than you can imagine, you can start to make new discoveries, and realise that you have the possibility to be considerably more in control of the outcome of writing your CV / Resume than you could ever think possible.

I can’t go into all the details in this article, suffice to say there is another level. When you take your CV / Resume writing to the highest level, you can access this new world, where you can:

  1. Maximise your chance of success.
  2. Be more in control of the results and outcomes that you achieve.
  3. You can become more competitive.
  4. You can increase your chance of achieving a better success, the more an employer wants you the more power you have, the better the offer you can receive, the more you can get employment on your terms.

You have to start:

  1. Seeing things differently.
  2. Thinking differently
  3. Acting differently

If you would like to do these things, I can help you.

I hope I have been of service to you.

(672 words)

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There is probably more advice on CV and Resume and Curriculum Vitae writing that almost anything else, in fact there is so much advice available, it is simply overwhelming. Have you noticed that most of the advice seems quite good and logical, but feels like it is all the same? Have you ever felt like there was a need for something completely different, a complete fundamental game changer that changes everything? I thought these things, and it resulted in seven years of study, I simply wanted to be able to answer two simple questions:

  1. Why do some CV / Resume / Curriculum Vitae work and others don’t?
  2. What do you need to do, if you want to achieve the very best results possible?

Seven years is a long time to figure out the answer to two simple questions, but after not just seven years of research, study, trying things out and drawing on my own personal experiences, I finally figured it out. Halleluiah, it felt like a Eureka moment, I wanted to run out into the street and shout out loud, “I’ve finally figured it out”, but of course my voice is just one amongst millions. You can shout out, but it is no good if nobody hears, if you are drowned out in a sea of voices, but you are here, and now you can hear my voice, and learn what I discovered, and it is a revelation, and offers the potential for a revolution. In learning what I learnt, you can:

  1. Turn CV / Resume Failure into success if that is what you have experienced.
  2. Turn CV / Resume Success into even greater success
  3. If you haven’t yet started, you can short cut, straight to the best approach to get the best results as quickly and effectively as possible.

What I discovered is:

  1. What is right and what is wrong isn’t straight forward. Most CV / Resume advice has one of two elements “Do this” and “Don’t do that”. There is not necessarily anything wrong with the advice, it is just that it is not based on reality. The best way of describing what I mean is to talk about beauty, if I was to say to you, “this person is beautiful” and “this person is not beautiful”, it is not to say that I am right. There is a saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Different people hold different values and beliefs and have different opinions and perspectives, it is what makes us all human, that is why some people might like you and value you and others won’t, it is not logical it is psychological.
  2. Writing a CV that works and also writing one that gets the best results is actually “Part Art and Part Science”. You have to try to understand how the recipient might perceive things, what they might like, value and how they might make decisions. You can do research, but you can also use your imagination and try and metaphorically put yourself in their shoes. You have to use your judgement in how best to write a CV that gives you the maximum chance of success.

What I learnt is that to get better results you need to fundamentally do three different things:

  1. See things differently.
  2. Think differently.
  3. Act differently, either do new things that you are not currently doing, or do the same things you are currently doing but better.

In addition to these three things there are two strategies you can embrace to enable you to 1. Get your CV / Resume to work and 2. To get the very best results possible.

The first of these strategies is to adopt a “Paradigm Shift”, which is a disruptive innovation, it is a real game changer:

Strategy One – Adopt an Employer Centric Approach

Most people believe their CV / Resume is just about them, but the reality is that whilst it is obviously about you, it is also about the recipient, their wants, needs and deepest desires.

As soon as you adopt an employer centric approach, you can change the game, turn failure into success if that is what you have experienced, success into even greater success and if you haven’t yet started you can short cut straight to the best approach, to achieve the best results as quickly and effectively as possible.

I can show you how to do it, but not in this blog article.

Strategy Two – Take Your CV / Resume Writing to the Highest Level

Job hunting is normally a competition, you are up against other people and you need to be able to compete and win.

It is just like a sport or a game that you play. The truth is that we can choose to do anything in life at any level. If you make the analogy of sport, you can play a sport at any level from a novice to a world or Olympic Champion. When you decide you want to compete and win at the highest level, you see things differently, you think differently, and ultimately you act differently, doing different things to other people or the same things but better.

Take this concept to CV / Resume Writing, and you can see when simply following the same old advice, doing the same old things as everyone else, won’t get you an advantage.

I can help you take your CV / Resume writing to the highest level, to get the best results, but you have got to want to. Is it easier? Of course not, you have to work harder and smarter, but then that is life isn’t it, you get out what you put in. Take the lazy, easy approach and your results are likely to reflect it.

I hope this advice has served you. 

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Beware of Free CV / Resume Reviews - Often They Are No More Than A Cruel Sales Tactic

If you are looking for a new job it is tempting to take advantage of one of the thousands of free CV appraisal services offered, particularly if you’ve been applying for jobs and not being successful. It is when we are down, having a tough time, feeling low, or lacking in confidence that we are most vulnerable.

I wonder how often anyone has their CV appraised and gets a big thumbs up and told it is great? My gut feeling is that the answer isn’t very often.

The reason I say that, is you don’t often get something for nothing. The exceptions are careers services, and anyone who doesn’t sell CV writing services, CV advice, or any job hunting related services.

When your CV isn’t working, you are at your most vulnerable, you just want someone who is a real professional, to give you their honest opinion. We are brought up to think of anyone who is a “professional” is someone who knows what they are talking about, someone who knows more than us, that we can trust, but the truth is, in many cases a professional is nothing more than someone who charges for their services. It doesn’t mean they are any good, or that they are ethical; being a professional means that they want your money, because they make a living charging for their services, so beware!

Many professional CV writers have perfected the art of a CV appraisal, to make you think they are acting with integrity and being totally honest, whilst undermining your confidence enough to make you want to buy their services. Let’s be honest, what they really want to do is sell their services.

I’ve heard of different people using the same people to appraise their CV’s and compared the appraisals, and found them to be almost identical.

You need to be very wary of CV appraisals, they are frequently nothing less than marketing and sales, designed to get you to hire them. I hope that advice serves you.

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If you want an employer to buy you after reading your CV / Resume, you need to make sure you give them what they want!

The most logical thing on earth is to think that your CV is just about you, after all, it has your name on the top, your career history, your qualifications, your contact details etc. Who else could your CV / Resume possibly be about, other than you? Most people would bet their life that their CV is just about them, but the truth couldn’t be more different.

Who do you want to read your CV, who’s the recipient?

It is the employer or recruitment agencies isn’t it.

Who is it that gets to decide whether to invite you in for an interview and selection process when you submit your CV for a job application?

It is the employer or recruitment agencies isn’t it.

The truth is that your CV needs to serve the recipient if you want it to serve you well.

Does the employer care more about themselves or you?

The employers are most likely to care more about themselves than you.

When an employer looks at your CV, they are looking at it from their perspective. Most people assume the employers want to hire the best candidates. Sometimes they do, but also often they don’t, they typically don’t want the best person, they actually want the person who is best for them. A Nobel laureate might apply for a low level job, but they are highly likely to be over qualified in their field, but under qualified in the field the employer needs. There could be a complete mismatch of beliefs, values, salary and other expectations that is why employers will always chose the person they think is best for them.

When an employer looks at your CV / Resume, they are most likely looking for how you match up to the job description and how much you meet their wants, needs and deepest desires.

To be most successful you need to write your CV from the perspective of the employer, it is your job to demonstrate to them in your CV that you are the best candidate for them.  You may or may not be a good fit for the requirements outlined in their job description, you might be just what they are looking for, or you might be looking to career transfer into a new role in a new industry / sector in a new location.

If you think your CV is just about you, and you simply want to make yourself look as good as possible you are adopting a “self-centric” approach. If on the other hand you are writing it from the perspective of the employer, you set out to demonstrate in your CV that you meet their wants, needs and deepest desires, you want to show them that you are the best person for them.

It is not just making sure you respond to their stated requirements in the document, you have the opportunity to go further and do more, you can do your own research and see how you fit not just to the role, but to the organisation, to the new team and your new boss to, and make sure you reflect that fit in your CV / Resume document.

It is not a precise science, it is actually part art and part science, you might need to use your imagination and empathy, and make some calculated guesses / assumptions as well are doing what research you can.

If you are wise you will write an employer centric CV not a self centric one. I can show you how to do that.

 

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In 2007 / 2008 the wheels fell off my previously highly successful and high flying career. I found myself out of work, with no income, in an increasing desperate situation.

Through a synchronistic sequence of events, I became an executive level CV writer, for a leading international firm of executive level CV writers, and wrote 500+ CVs / Resumes.

The firm that I worked for, offered a free CV / Resume review service, where people could submit their CVs for constructive review. I am sure you can imagine the results of most, if not all critiques: “your CV could be better, or it is terrible”. Once your confidence was undermined, it is a similar thing as going to a doctor who tells you are not well, and that he or she has the cure you need; it is difficult to say "no thank you". It is also rare that you will go to another doctor, and ask for another opinion, unless the consequences of the proposed cure are major, like" we need to cut your leg off". The reason that generally speaking, we believe what doctors tell us, and why we usually take the treatment they propose, is down to the fact, that we accept they are a professional in their area; they have been to medical school, studied for years and years, passed a load of really tough exams; and quite frankly know a lot more than us, a non-professional / non-expert.

If you need a CV rewritten, it is logical to think about going to an expert / doctor equivalent, someone who is a professional, who knows how to write a CV better than you.  If your car breaks down, unless you are a mechanic, you’ll probably take it to garage and get a mechanic who knows what they are doing to fix it. It is common sense really isn’t it. Where I believe that CV writing is different from going to a doctor to cure an illness or a qualified, skilled and experienced mechanic to fix your car, is the fact that generally speaking medicine is largely about science, and being a mechanic is about engineering, and an understanding of physics, which is ultimately a science also. In contrast, CV writing is subjective, I honestly don’t believe there is one right way to write a CV, there are multiple right ways. If you took 1000 professional CV / Resume writers, and gave them the same brief for a single CV, I believe you would get 1000 different versions. Of course there could be many similarities, but the chance of any two being identical is realistically nil. Out of all those different versions, which is best and which is worst? If you got a 1000 employers to rank them, you’d come up with 1000 different answers.

I am sure you get the point, it is a little bit like the concept of “beauty being in the eye of the beholder”. I believe that writing a CV, is actually “part art and part science”. What is right is what works, the proof is in the pudding. The term “the proof is in the pudding” was supposedly used in the old days, which means you have to eat the pudding to know what's inside it. You can write a CV, but until you use it, you won’t know whether it works –  therefore, the proof is in the pudding. That is the truth.

Your CV document comprises of two key elements:

  1. The substance of what you have to offer.
  2. They way in which you package and present what you have to offer.

Looked at another way, you could describe the substance of what you have to offer, as things like your knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications, track record of achievement, personality, character, attitude etc. as “The Message”, and the CV document itself, which could include things like the appearance, length, language, layout / structure, font, spelling etc. as “The Messenger”.

Success comes from the strength of both the Message and The Messenger. Ask any marketer, and they will tell you that there are very many sub-standard or on par products, that do extremely well due to good marketing, but equally some products won’t sell, no matter how good the marketing, or how good or bad the product is, if it isn’t what customers want. The same is true of employers, you could be a fantastic person, but if you are not what they want, you are unlikely to get offered the job. You have to make sure that are what they want.

The commonly held view, is that your CV / Resume is “all about you”. After seven years of research, study, trials and testing, and a huge amount of experience in sales, marketing, recruiting and employing, I came to realise that this view is not true. Whilst your CV / Resume is obviously about you, it is also about the employer, and what they want and need, and what they value, and about how they make decisions. Your prospective employer is your customer, your CV is being written to serve them, as much as it is to serve you. All employers will have differences.

Employers want the best person for them, not necessarily the best person, although the two may be the same.

If you want to be totally honest about CV writing, there isn’t one layout and structure that is best for all employers. The way most professional CV writers work, is that they have a favoured CV structure / template, and simply replace one person’s details with another person’s. The “Messenger” remains the same, it is just the “Message” that changes. Many large CV writing firms are like a factory, processing people's message into their messenger.

I don’t want to knock professional CV / Resume writers who I think largely do a great job, I’ve been one. I am driven by a very deep desire, to help people turn CV Failure into Success if that is what they have experienced, or success into even greater success, or if they haven’t yet started, I want to help them to short cut to the very best approach, that will maximise their chance of success.

When you become massively results focussed, when you care more than anyone else about the results that you get for other people, and have higher expectations for them than anyone else, like I have; you want to do the very best for them, and help them in the very best way possible. I believe the best way of doing that, is to share the secrets that I have taken so long to discover and figure out, and to be honest and truthful about how things really are in the real world.

There is way more to CV writing than most people imagine, if you focus on getting the results you really want, I feel focussing on just “the messenger” the CV document and not on  “ the message” e.g. the proposition of what you have to offer as well, which is what most professional CV writers do, is missing an opportunity. It is actually about more than that; taking it to the highest level which I do, means factoring in what employers really want and need and how they make decisions. That involves both doing research, and the need to metaphorically try and put yourself in their hiring influencer's and decision maker's shoes, and trying to imagine how they might see things from their perspective, what they might value and relate to. You need to apply both imagination and judgement, using your intuition, knowledge and experience.  It is all about doing the best you can with what you’ve got, knowing your true authentic self and the value that you can deliver to others, and adopting a servant mind set and genuinely caring about employers.

I can help you to do all these things, but I don’t feel I can do it without you. I believe there are some things in life that you need to be deeply involved in, and writing your CV is one of those things.

I’d be lying if I said to you, let me write your CV and it will be the best ever, firstly that would be arrogant and I am not arrogant, it would also be based on the belief that there is just one right way and I don’t believe there is, I think there are many best ways. That is why I don’t want to write your CV for you. I just want to offer to work with you, and provide you with 100% honesty, 100% commitment to do the very best for you, and a very genuine heartfelt desire, to offer you the best advice, support and help, that will make the biggest difference to you.

Ultimately you need to make the judgements, use your imagination, knowledge and insights, and understanding of both yourself, and the employers / jobs / roles you want.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_custom_classifieds_12091-1.pngWhen the election results are declared, there will be both happiness and disappointment.

Some MP’s probably including some very well-known and long serving ones, will in effect have been very publicly sacked. Whilst the new incumbents will rightly be celebrating their new jobs, those voted out of office, often face a very tough time, financially, psychologically and emotionally.

MP’s losing their seats are entitled to a resettlement grant, which in effect is a severance package. It is based on age and length of service, and varies between 50% and 100% of the annual salary. In addition to that, MP’s are entitled to a winding up allowance, which is meant to cover the costs of winding up offices and laying off staff.

Politics can be a very tough profession, where personal attacks and outright hostility of both some opponents, voters and the media can, if you are on the receiving end of it, I am sure feel like bullying. As the Returning Officers announce the results, you can see MP’s who have lost their jobs, trying to put on a brave face, but inside they must be hurting, and could very well be very worried about what the future holds for them.

Being an MP is seen by many as a prestige, important role; for many it is a vocation, almost like a minister feeling called to public service. What we do for a living is part of our identity. Almost overnight some people will move from being a Member of Parliament to an ex Member of Parliament. When Parliament is dissolved prior to a general election, MP’s in effect stop being MPs, and become simply Parliamentary Prospective Candidates again, but if they stand for election again, it is only when the election results are announced that being an ex – Member of Parliament, must really feel real.

If you have served in High Office you might expect lucrative positions on Boards of major organisations, or in high office in Public Sector organisations, or even in the media, but for lower ranking MP’s things could be much tougher. Maybe you could go back to what you were doing before, but many might need to find a new career doing something completely different.

Shutting down an MP’s operation seems like it is like a business closing down, usually it is not just the MP who loses their jobs, it is their support staff too, not only does an MP have to face a new career, they have to wind down their old one, that no doubt took a lot of time and effort to build and run. The one busy phones stop ringing, as the world moves on, status, position and identity related to the position are all gone; the question begs “what next”? On a practical basis the bills don’t go away and the resettlement grant won’t last forever.

Those MP’s retiring with a pension are probably relieved, those with big private incomes don’t need to worry about income, but for the ordinary MP who needs income, they are just like anyone else losing their job. What then, for the rest of their careers? Perhaps contacts built whilst serving, might have opportunities, maybe MP’s have planned for life after being an MP, but it must be difficult going through the gruelling process of campaigning, if you truly believe your efforts won’t be successful. You have to want it to do it, so not being able to do what you want must be a blow.

Ex MPs are only human, they deserve our support and gratitude for their service.

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