Jack McCann looks at various research that will help make your CV stand out from the crowd.
Finding a job is the one of the most stressful things that anybody has to do, whether you’re a student or have 10 years’ experience. You will always be nervous when you go into an establishment hoping that they will offer you a job or an interview based on a handful of paragraphs on an A4 page.
According to the Youth Council of Ireland (YCI), just three years ago, 1 in 4 young people aged between 18-24 were out of work of some form, this was the second highest in Western Europe.
This has led to many young people feeling the need to emigrate to find work. According to the YCI, Ireland has lost 10% of its young people since 2007 due to emigration.
To put this into context, according to the 2011 Census, there were 580,250 people in Ireland aged between 15 to 24. Take away a part of that when we look at only those aged 18 to 24, it still leaves around 30,000 - 35,000 young people having emigrated since 2007. That’s 4,300 – 5,000 young people leaving the country annually.
Those are stark numbers and the Government has done very little to abate the flow or fix the problem. They did bring in the JobBridge initiative in 2011, however that has had many well documented problems and criticisms.
A similar scheme to the JobBridge for 18 to 24 year olds, and run by the Department of Social Protection is the First Steps - Youth Development Internship scheme which, "is part of the EU Youth Guarantee and will offer a young person aged 18 to 24, who has had little or no experience of working, the opportunity to learn basic work skills and social skills while on a placement in a real work situation."
However, First Steps - Youth Development Internships are not publicly advertised; instead Department of Social Protection (DSP) staff select suitable candidates and refer them for interview." Therefore, how are young people supposed to know about a scheme set up to help them if it’s not advertised?
One of the best things to do to give yourself the best chance of getting hold of that elusive summer job is to have a good CV, an obvious one, but it’s a good place to start.
According to J.T O’Donnell, CAREEREALISM Media & CareerHMO CEO, recruiters will only look at a CV for 6 seconds and then decide whether or not to keep reading it or reject it. In six seconds your CV has to grab the recruiter’s eye and give them a reason to keep reading. Not a lot of wiggle room for mistakes then.
When creating a CV for an application, no matter how good you think you are at English, get someone else to give it a read over. This will help prevent you from being told that your application was rejected due to a simple grammar mistake or bad presentation of your CV.
The other important factor that makes it more likely that you will get offered a position is to make your CV stand out from the crowd, again an obvious one, however an easily forgotten one at that.
According to research from LinkedIn about their Irish users, these are the most over used words contained in a CV: motivated, enthusiastic, passionate, driven, track record, creative, extensive experience, responsible, communication skills and ambitious.
Obviously the research did not ban those words from being used, however a recruiter will sort through dozens of CVs in a day, so to see the same information over and over will bore them to death. It’s the truth, and an ugly one at that.
Therefore when putting your CV or cover letter together, mix up your words and language. Think outside the box, it will make it more likely that a recruiter will read through your CV and consider you.
However beware - using eloquent language is a double-edged sword. Use too much ‘fancy’ language and the recruiter may think you’re trying too hard to impress.
Scouring the web for jobs can also be frustrating due to one word, experience. These ten letters can be the difference between whether you get offered a job/interview and whether you even apply for the position in the first place.
Most places either just state ‘experience required’ with no specific amount stated, or else it’ll say 6 months, 1 year or in some cases 2 years’ experience in a similar role.
No matter how nice, charismatic or hard-working you may be, if you don’t have the right experience you will get little to nowhere. College is one of the best times to boost your experience level; you can get involved in societies, clubs and generally have more free time to devote to your interests and hobbies. Picking the correct jobs or activities to showcase your experience is vital.
To finish, no matter how much preparation or work you put into your CV and cover letter, a little bit of luck and confidence in yourself goes a long way. Remember, people who are experts in their field or job today were beginners at some point in the past.
Photo: Ben Smith/ Flickr