Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Hoping to pad up your CV with your small jobs and side gigs? Wondering how “Tesco cashier” translates when applying for your dream job? Here’s a handy guide on how to hype up your babysitting, tutoring and etsy-selling.
We’ve all done odd jobs here and there while we studied, but how do you translate “I helped my sister with her Spanish homework” on a CV for your dream graduate opportunity? Simple.
Change your outlook. Stop thinking as an applicant and start putting yourself in your potential employer’s shoes. What skills do they want from you? “I’ve used my expertise and tutored in subjects I did well in, noting improvements in their own academic performance and adapting accordingly. This helped expand my communication and leadership skills and I also developed an even deeper understanding of the subject from my tutees’ questions”.
Deconstruct your role. What were the key parts of the job you held? Rather than “I mow my nan’s garden every summer”, say: “I was given responsibility for heavy machinery, learning how to operate it, use it effectively and maintain it. This also taught me independence and how to self-manage, as key decisions were left to me in the use of this machinery.” You can mention that this is on a voluntary basis and even that your efficiency has led to it becoming a regular opportunity instead of a one-time job.
Don’t undersell yourself. A CV is not the place to be overly modest. Women in particular have a tendency to not want to brag about their achievements but there is a real difference between bragging and knowing your strengths. Be confident - all of the small jobs you’ve done have given you important skills that you should be proud of. “In doing my National Citizen Service, I helped build a community initiative to bring neighbourhoods together and felt I made a real difference in the lives of all who were involved”. Recognising your own achievements is a skill in itself which will come in useful in your professional life - when asking for a raise or promotion, for example.
Monday, 1 July 2019
You rarely go on LinkedIn, but even when you do, you don’t get much engagement. How can you make job opportunities come to you?
Firstly, make sure your profile is as complete as possible. An incomplete profile won’t show up on searches. Find a clear, well-lit and professional picture of yourself and fill in as many of the fields as you can. Not all your information has to be public, but it must be on the system to help you get more engagement.
Next: make connections. The more the better. People from companies you’ve worked or interned for, friends, relatives, people you meet at events, and more. Connecting with complete strangers isn’t recommended, and those strangers who try to connect with you usually want to sell you something, so don’t make your profile a free-for-all either. To help, you can go to events to do with your career on Meetup, to help you network, and find these people on LinkedIn. Ask them to connect first and make sure you take their business card or write their names down.
Then, interact - but don’t interact the way you do on other social media. LinkedIn is a professional platform, so when you tag someone in the comments of a post, make sure to say why you wanted them to see it. When you reply to someone’s post, be clear and concise in your questions, feedback or ideas. Think of it as stating the obvious - rather than the inside jokes, meaningful emojis and varied abbreviations of Instagram and Facebook, make sure you splay out your thoughts in professional, clear wording.
Finally, create your own content. Look to your connections and liked pages for inspiration - what do people respond to best, and what are you passionate about? Did you go on a holiday and see a lot of washed-up single use plastics? Did you go listen to a panel where people gave advice about the career path you want to take? Are you working on a particular research project and want some fresh ideas or feedback? Even if nobody answers at first, displaying your ability to reflect about things you see in relation to your career is always a good idea. People who you’ll send your CV will look you up and see that you engage with your professional surroundings rather than doing the bare minimum and only using this platform when you want a job.
LinkedIn is an investment of your time, and if you use it correctly, it will help advance your career. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have: unless you’re already extremely successful, recruiters won’t find you unless your profile is active and has engagement.