I spent over 5 years hand in hand with HR activities, first as a headhunter and consultant, then within the public sphere, then I faced with the hassles around the term internship both as an intern and as a recruiter.
Regardless of the fact that job-hunting is difficult at any times and age and locations, let us turn our focus on: the YOUTH, or specifically fresh graduates.
When I was in your shoes, or actually, I was even one step before you, I was scared and worried I will never get a placement. I was studying under the sandwich program, which meant a compulsory 12-month internship/placement/apprenticeship/employment, whatever you can get, in order to graduate.
There was I, half way in – half way out of the Uni and I was worried. Some of my classmates chose the most evident way and went to work with their parents, some did not care about the opportunity just wanted to get one, some did not even know what he wanted and some put the standards quite high.
Yet, there was a common point in us: we had no idea how our CV should look like, how to search for a job, what to do if we are invited for an interview, and clearly, we had no idea about our rights.
Our Uni organized a job fair, but little was achieved as for our success rate was concerned . They also created a database of jobs, but those were mainly for graduates. So, all these drips-drops were there, but actually we were all alone in front of the door of the job-market.
By this time, I already arrived back from Oxford, where (due to my anxiety from the upcoming placement-hunt) I was seeking for advice as you are seeking for your national food ingredients in a foreign country: you ask everybody, you look at every corner, you post in FB groups… (well, back then FB was just starting, so I skipped this step), but I was all-over-the-place, as it is expressed meaningfully.
I clearly remember what happened on my coach session: I brought my neatly prepared CV and my smile.
What I got was a face worryingly observing the 2-page document. And then she started to talk: “the format is not good, you don’t write only a word, no, this should be revised, and where is the volunteering experience? What? You have none? Ah, you did ballet, nice, but why you put it in your CV?Really? That can be a full-time job? well, we need to translate it to business language.
I spent with her 2 hours. She was tough but great (or rather convincing, in retrospect). She told me not to go to a MA right after the BA, just because everybody else does. I followed her advice and never regretted. The only thing she did not tell me though was that CVs are culture-sensitive, what’s more they are company-sensitive(!); and the fact the she was thrilled after my revision will not lead directly to similar happiness with others.
It was very quickly proven: when I applied to a Hungarian company with the same CV-format, they did not like it. When I applied to a foreign-led business in Hungary, it already made the trick. When I applied in Brussels with the same format it was followed by long and deep quite.
Afterwards, life turned it all up-side-down and when I received CVs over CVs as a recruiter and headhunter I was shocked by the diversity of style, formatting, concepts. I started to save my favorite ones and assessed why I liked them. They became my guidelines and best benchmark documents.
And if you are still with me by this point, you can see we are only at the first step of your so-called application process; yet, there are far too many questions already.
You can attend seminars, buy books and search the internet: you will clearly get an information overload, but barely any clarity.
The only real advice that stands its grounds all the time: you need to adjust your application to each and every employer!
I know we hate this, since it takes half a day per application, it is clearly boring, it is clearly annoying, especially if after all the efforts we are rejected. Yet, this is the way to find the job your REALLY WANT!
As a result, for me CV-screening, CV-boosting talks, seminars are just enhancing your general know-how on different HR-views and with this they might serve as a good base, but it is not enough! I am even brave enough to say: they are even useless sometimes (if not done properly, see my above example).
You need to personalize your application all the time. You need to do your homework. And during your homework you can ask for help! But such as your father, who could only help you with the Maths equations once you knew the rules and hence he guided you towards the good solution, your CV can be couched only if you know your direction.
Ah, and just to finish my thought on my first job-hunt anxiety. Very quickly, I jumped deep into the HR world and made my own application style. Back then, I applied for 8 opportunities and I got a job offer from all of them. Not an internship, but a job for that 12-months placement time. At one point I needed to choose from the options, and guess what happened? I became a headhunter and HR consultant. Since then, I was helping my friends to boost their employability, and every time they got a job I felt grateful that I could help them. As a recruiter, even if my official job description did not ask for it, I did correct CVs of rejected candidates, when they turned to me.
All these led me to the creation of the Human Factor, and grounded the idea and aim: to be the person job-hunters can ask guidance from.
This aim is still alive.
Save your time and financial means from non-personal options and seek personalized, economical and focused approaches to your own needs and goals.
This is my solution for you!
I don’t want to polish your CV I wish to polish your employability!