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Addressing What Recruiters Want To Know After Watching Your VCV
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 21st December 2016


A Video CV is a sure-fire way to get employers to take notice of your application. It’s only a couple of minutes though, so they will want to know more. You can’t build up the hopes of recruiters with your video CV in a couple of minutes worth of outstanding presentation, only to fall flat when they reach your written CV, which is what they are likely to do next.

To ensure you retain the attention that you’ve worked so hard in your video to attract, it’ll help to understand what recruiters really want to know, so you can go right ahead and bowl them over to reach the interview stage.

How to Score that Interview You Never Thought You’d Reach in only 5 powerful steps

1: Get the Cover Letter Perfected

Video CVs personalise the recruitment process. They put a face and a voice to your name. The cover letter is the written way to personalise the process. It’s also the perfect spot to customise to the specific job requirements. There’s no point highlighting irrelevant information for a post you’re proud of two decades ago if you’ve career hopped into a different sector and now looking to bounce back. It’s just not going to work.

What will work every time is customising to what the recruiter actually needs you to prove you can do. What your cover letter needs to do is introduce you and the value you brought to your last employer, or bring to your current employer.

Companies hire people based on the perceived value you can bring to them. It’s a hard pill to swallow but they sometimes just don’t care about your career. It’s all about what you can do for them. Go with the attitude of serving and let your cover letter tell them straight what value you intend to bring to them. Give them the full scoop on how you intend to be a competitive advantage and give examples of the value you’ve brought to previous employers.

2: Make your personal statement well… personal!

At the start of every CV is a personal statement. Somewhere along the way that section has lost its meaning. Recruiters are constantly reading the same material in this section, which most often is selling the applicants soft skills. Something every applicant can do, which is why it’s a leading contender to get your application dismissed from the process if you copy what everyone is saying.

Pay attention to how much you state in this section. Ideally, you want your word count limited to just 60 words or fewer. The less you write in here the better, provided that what you write about yourself is truly unique and delivers information to tell recruiters about the value you would bring to their company.

What you never want to be writing is about being a “prolific reader” and/or a “great team player”. Even if you are, everyone else is saying the same thing. Change things up. If you really are a prolific reader, what books do you prefer to read? State your favourite author, genre and what you find interesting and relate that to your career when you can, in any way you can.

The personal statement is no place to be plagiarising any information. Whatever sentences you use in this section, it should never appear anywhere. To test your uniqueness, copy one sentence at a time and place it inside quotation marks (”like this”) and paste it into a search engine. That will return results with an exact match. If there are any exact matches, the sentence has been used by someone, somewhere in the world, therefore it’s not personal. No two personal statements should ever be the same. Tell your story and never copy the story of someone else.

And use plenty of “first person” writing style in this section, which just means use the word “I” plenty of times. The use of “you” and “we” do not belong in the personal statement.

3: Describe your value adds instead of previous work duties

You’ll know already that your work history should be listed in chronological order. The trick you may be missing is listing your job duties instead of your value adds. Everyone puts their general duties and responsibilities. It does nothing to tell employers what you really did. You may have made a real mess of your job and got fired for screwing up in a superb fashion. Make sure recruiters don’t think that by avoiding the rehashing of the job ad your previous employer posted. Describe what you actually did and how that benefited the firm that employed you.

4: Remove anything that could be construed as TMI

TMI refers to Too Much Information. There are things recruiters need to know and then there are things they don’t. The reason you want to remove certain information is to avoid making employers feel uncomfortable. It’s all to do with discrimination. There’s a lot of legislation in employment law, so when you tell recruiters you’re a happily married, devoted mother or father of five kids, who loves weekend walks in the countryside with the family dog Benjy, that’s overboard with the information. They see someone who won’t want to work weekends, someone that may have career commitment troubles, a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and more importantly, a few reasons to be careful if they proceed to invite you to the interview stages, and even more so if you’re successful in an interview.

Remove irrelevant information.

5: End with a Career Focused Digital Footprint

 

With the transparency of the internet, it’s not difficult for potential employers to research you online. Most companies and recruiters for them will look you up online. It’s mainly going to be social media, but you can go beyond that and you should. Going further shows that you’re truly interested and probably passionate about your industry. Use the internet to your advantage to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

  • On LinkedIn, use the self-publishing tools to get your own blog posts about to build your network, influence and reach.
  • On the internet in general, you could use your own domain to blog about what’s happening in your area of expertise or even just talk about it on video.
  • Create a profile on Quora.com and start answering industry related questions from other users.
  • Get involved in Twitter conversations about things happening in your sector and share articles related to your field.
  • Get involved with online communities. To give examples of communities online that can help boost the influential power of your resume, software developers could be contributors to GitHub, and Designers contributors to Dribble.com. Find a community that would appreciate what you do, and that can be exploited to your advantage just by showing your passion toward the work you do. 

Your digital footprint can extend way beyond social media and it is best it does too. Don’t expect every recruiter to be digging deep though. Point them in the right direction. At the end of your resume, include a section for further information or even just be blunt and instruct recruiters to “Dig Me Further…” and then list all your contributions and profiles that highlight your expertise, commitment and passion for the work you do. Only share your best though. If you’re not active professionally on Facebook, and prefer to use that for personal use, don’t include it. Only include your details for websites where you are active in a professional capacity.

The last step above will require more work on your part because you need to actually be active with your profiles. It’s going to be of no use including a Quora.com profile if all you are doing is asking questions that could be easily answered with a Google search. If you need to ask questions, do it under a disguise or your Grandads account if he’ll let you use his details. Use your own to answer questions relating to your industry.

For those struggling to get interviews lined up, apply the five-step strategy above and you’ll soon be bowling potential employers over. You may even find yourself being headhunted if you really apply yourself to your work.

 



How To Conduct A Covert Job Search To Keep Your Current Position Secure
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 12th December 2016


The time comes when you get tired of the same job. The promotion has been given to someone else, there’s a managerial shuffle, or a complete organisational reshuffle that’s making your current position feel like it’s impossible to maintain and keep your sanity.

Whatever the reason, there comes a time when you know (or feel like you know) that you’ve reached a tipping point in your current position and you’re ready to move on for the sake of your career. Problem is that job hopping isn’t always taken kindly by current employers. Not only the boss, but it could plant seeds of doubt over your capabilities, loyalties, and commitment to tasks assigned to you by department managers.

The most difficult time when you really need to go into stealth mode for a job search would be when you’ve a performance review pending. That’s when you need to pull out all the stops and run your job-hunting operation covertly.

Keeping the lid on your intentions to move on from your current employer

1. Don’t tell people

As obvious as that sounds, you’d be surprised. Trust nobody in a workplace. Office politics will take over and your covert operation will be the words being spoken from everyone’s lips around the office. It’ll start as a rumour but it’ll reach the ears of the very people you don’t want to know. Suspicions will be raised, and you’ll find yourself being watched more.

Even if you’re not being scrutinised, you’ll get paranoid and it could affect your work. Keep your intentions to a need-to-know basis. Only those you can trust who are outside of your workplace, such as friends you don’t work with or people in your professional network that you trust to keep a lid on it… confide in those people and only for advice to help you move on. Not to provide them gossip on your secret job search.

2. Maintain your integrity

Integrity is high on every recruiter’s wish list. One way to jeopardise that instantly is to arrange for interviews on your current boss’s time. That’s not cool! Your employer is paying you a wage to do a job. Not to hunt for another job. If the interviewers even suspect you’ve arranged to attend the interview when you’re supposed to be working, it’ll not bode well. Expect it to be noted.

When you’re interviewing with any company, make them aware of your current situation and request that they keep the procedures confidential. They don’t need to contact your current employer for a reference until things get serious. Until then, use recommendations from past employers, or supervisors that you still have contact with. If you don’t have that, use character references.

Arrange for interviews to be done outside of normal office hours. This isn’t unusual activity for senior managerial positions. In fact, it’s been known for bosses to meet with candidates during their travel time. A working breakfast, working lunch, or an interview over coffee is possible in the early stages of recruitment.

Show your integrity from the get go by respecting your current employer and the responsibility you have to them, anything less will cast a shadow of doubt over your integrity and that will hinder your chances of landing the job.

If you really can’t get an out of office hours’ appointment for an interview, never call in sick. Take a personal day. You don’t need to explain why you need it. Just request it. Even a half day.

3. Don’t change your appearance at work on the day of an interview

Say your current position has a dress down Friday; you’ve worked there for years so you can’t exactly conveniently forget about it or claim ignorance. Everyone’s in casuals and you’re strolling in after arranging an interview over lunch with your best gear on, full presentation mode primed for interview first impressions. Red flag automatically.

Keep a change of clothes in your car for a quick toilet change, or schedule enough time for you to get home and changed before you head back to work.

4. Pay for things out of your own pocket

It does cost money to look for a job. You will have phone calls to make and materials to print. Don’t pass the cost onto your current employer. It’s unethical and it’s going against #2 above of maintaining your integrity.

Resist the urge to use work phones, printers, copiers and paper. And most certainly don’t list your office number and extension as a contact number with target companies.

If you have a work phone, do not use it. They have itemised bills and it’ll show a change in your regular usage, which can set alarm bells ringing. Nor should you be using your work email. In fact, in work, do nothing for a job search. It’s completely visible and even your emails aren’t confidential.

Employers are legally allowed to open your mail and work e-mail, use automated software to check e-mails, check phone logs, and they can even record your phone calls when you use a work telephone. For internet browsing, there are logs detailing every website you visit so - don’t do it. Not even on your own phone connected to the work internet.

5. Use the Net Wisely

Online job searching is a necessity but you can limit the information that’s made public. For online job sites, you can request that basic identifiable information isn’t made public but only shown confidentially to potential recruiters.

For social activity, there are a few controls you can use to keep your visibility and alerts to others to a minimum, or eliminate them completely. Obviously, the natural etiquette of Facebook and Twitter applies. Just don’t do it, if you need to reach someone confidentially, do so in private and never public. Preferably move the conversation to face-to-face when possible.

For LinkedIn, since it’s the network of professionals, you most certainly don’t want current bosses finding out you’ve suddenly become highly active on the platform.

To control your data on LinkedIn, there are a few tweaks you can make to your settings that limit the information about your activity being shared.

  • Go into your privacy settings and select the option that reads “Sharing Profile Edits”. And slide it to “No”. This will stop your connections from being notified of any changes you make to your profile. Like updating your profile image to a more professional looking head-shot, which is a dead giveaway that you’re looking for a new job.
  • While you’re in privacy settings, go to the section for “Who can see your connections” and select the option that reads “Only you”. Why would you do that? Because when you’re networking for new opportunities and reaching out to target companies you want to be hired by, by default, anyone (including your boss if they get suspicious) can turn to your profile, click your connections and see every connection you have on LinkedIn. Not what you want to be happening when you’re trying to keep your job search on the down low.
  • A definite change that needs made is to your communications settings. Go to Privacy | Communication settings | Messages from Members and select “change”. In here, you can add a custom message to people on LinkedIn, which shows when someone is about to message you.
  • By default everything is checked including that you’re interested in receiving messages about “job opportunities” and “career opportunities”. These settings are no use when you’re trying to fly under the radar for new career opportunities. With them activated, anyone from your current place of work can go to your LinkedIn profile, click to send you an InMail and see instantly that you’re interested in hearing about new job offerings and career opportunities. Any suspicions your boss has could be confirmed instantly with just that one check. Deselect “career opportunities” and “job offerings” in this setting.

To Summarise:

The best time to look for a new job is when you’re in a job, but to keep you on good terms with your existing employer, you’re best not to rock the boat. You never know what’s available anyway. Things could improve at your current position such as positive changes that make you reconsider your current position. You want to keep that Ace card close and not be forced into a situation where you have to move jobs.



How To Know If Your VCV Has Purpose
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 1st December 2016


The purpose of your VCV is the same as the purpose of your written CV. To engage with potential employers and tell it to them straight what they need to know about you.

The aim of any type of CV is to engage with employers. There are ways to hit that mark and there are ways to totally lose any potential of progressing beyond the initial meeting and greeting stages.

Putting Purpose to Your Video Resumes

1: Always be working from a script

For some good practice guidelines in preparing your script, see this quick guide here: https://nextmoveup.com/blog.php?ID=7.

Passive language should never be present so anything that sounds blatantly bland, remove it. Examples of passive language in a VCV script are:

  • My duties included
  • I was responsible for
  • The job entailed

These types of statements tell recruiters what you were supposed to do in your previous job roles but what they hold back is whether you were any good at delivering on your responsibilities. Therefore, passive language should never be used as it leaves room for guesswork. You don’t want recruiters guessing whether you’re any good or not. Your job is to make it clear that you’re good at what you do.

2: Let recruiters fill in your gaps

The majority of CVs will have gaps in the employment history. Don’t waste the little time you have with a VCV trying to explain or justify gaps in your resume. That’s up to the recruiter to fill in the gaps and not for you to try to justify them. Keep the focus on what you’ve done and stray away from thing’s you’ve not done.

3: Eliminate irrelevant information

Irrelevant information hasn’t a place on a written CV let alone a VCV where you’re super restricted on time. Revise your script for any information that hasn’t a purpose to it.

Things to look out for are work experience you have that doesn’t serve the position you’re looking for, such as helping you hone on any useful transferable skills relevant to the position you’re applying for. Also, things like your marital status, or whether you’re in a Civil Partnership or even when you were born don’t have any purpose. There will be information relevant to employers only when you’re hired but until then – can be kept on a need to know basis.

If you belong to any group of people with a Protected Characteristic, it’s advised you keep this out of your video resume, the only reason being that employers have a duty to abide by the data protection act and employment laws to safeguard people with a Protected Characteristic against discrimination. Recruiters are already burdened with a lot of legislative red tape over hiring processes so introducing potential legislative issues could be off-putting. Whatever your Personal Characteristics are, it’s likely irrelevant to the recruiter so can be left out.

By revising your script to remove:

  • Passive language
  • Gap explanations
  • Irrelevant information

 

Much of the information your VCV is left with will be speaking directly to recruiters about your real potential.

You have little time to get across as much information as possible to recruiters and to do that in an engaging way.

To finish your VCV, end with achievements

The more achievements you have the merrier and this is the only part where it doesn’t matter if it’s career relevant or not. It’s not unusual for up to twenty achievements to be listed on a written CV. Don’t do that on video though. Select the ones your most proud of and finish your presentation with them.

The purpose of your Video CV is only to introduce you and your personality to recruiters. At the end of your presentation, always direct the viewers to where they can find out more information about you. This can be by referring to the CV attached to a link with your video resume, or it may be to contact you via email to request a copy of your CV, or a job profile link you have online.

The important part is that you end with a call to action telling the recruiter where they can reach you and where they can find out more about you and your career objectives.

You’re more likely to get more interviews lined up when your VCV and your written resume have a purpose. Show recruiters what you want and the ones who can give you that will be more likely to invite you to interview.

Job hunting is simply a match-making process. Matching your existing skills and career ambitions with companies who need what you do. Use your VCV and written CV to explain your situation, and let employers match what they need to what you do. Eventually, you will find a good match.