Many who ask this question are faced by either having had a number of jobs with multiple employers throughout their career, or they have 15 – 20 years plus experience and they need to present this on their resume. But when they do, their CV spills on to 5 or more pages and it becomes far too long. Has this happened to you?
If this situation sounds familiar, my suggestion to you is to have a section on your resume that lists (in a small spreadsheet type format) the company, position and duration of all your roles to date. That way employers can see a quick summary and proceed from there. I suggest going no further then 10 years back under your employment history, or limit it to 6 jobs.
If let’s say you applying for a job in a field that you worked in 10 years ago, but you want to promote that experience and not your latest work, then list those jobs down in the employment history section and just under the header, write a small paragraph that acknowledges what you did to date since you worked in the industry you are applying for work in.
This is also a great way to dissuade an employer from assuming you are over qualified if your latest jobs have been more senior or higher paid.
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A common criteria question/statement for a position is that relating to your IT skills, knowledge and experience. It be may be general, for example about your knowledge of MS Office applications like Word, Excel and Powerpoint, or it may be at a higher level and industry specific, asking about certain software applications or your skill in providing desktop support to your colleagues and/or system users.
However, for the purpose of this article, I am going to briefly talk about a typical selection criteria statement which goes like this:
Demonstrated administrative, keyboard and word processing skills, including Microsoft Office and an ability to operate independently and/or with limited supervision.
By using the word “demonstrated” they are asking for you to provide real examples or instances where you have done something and the results could be seen/verified. For this question in particular, they want to either see what jobs you did, where you utilized your administrative skills and how you made full use of Microsoft Office applications. It could be for example, your ability to write documents and reports using MS Office, or the time when you created a complex database spreadsheet by yourself using MS Excel in your time with Company XYZ.
They then go on to further ask, with proof or ‘demonstration’ that you can actually work well by yourself, or if you haven’t, that you can work well with limited supervision.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Remember that when they advertise a position, you can pretty much guarantee more than 100 resumes will come flying through their inbox.
Some good, some not so good.
There will be a large portion of people applying for the job who are either not qualified for the position, are too qualified. If they are qualified to do the job they either send in a resume that does not sell them as it should and it isn’t easy to read or structured well. Then you get the few CV’s that are exceptional, detailed and relevant . These individuals are the ones who get the first pick.
Therefore in knowing this, your resume should be well detailed but at the same time it must be structured professionally, well presented, neat and easy to read. Increase the quality and conciseness of each paragraph (eg. key achievements) and decrease the quantity of information to a suitable level.
It happens all the time. We apply for a job or a number of jobs, only to receive an email from the prospective employer saying that our application was successful. Or we attended an interview or a number of interviews only to be called up and told that we were unsuccessful. Does this sound familiar?
Have you ever spoke to your friends and family about your endeavors in finding work and they end up putting your name in front of someone with connections to your family member or fried. But later after the person interviewed you informally, ends up telling you that they will not be hiring you.
The feelings that arise in ourselves are of despair, resentment and sometimes, anger. In the end, we ask ourselves the question:
What are the reasons behind an employer saying no to my application?
Now there are many, many reasons as to why an employer has said no to your application. You need to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Remember that they have a business to run. There is an opportunity cost to hiring someone. They could save that money for advertising, pay someone else to do the job or not hire at all and save money for themselves. They may have a particular idea in their mind of what the ideal candidate is. And those attributes may not necessarily fit what you bring. They may also feel that if they hire you, it will set you up for failure because you really do not meet the inherent requirements of the job.
So never feel bad and blame yourself for your application being rejected. The employer will have their reasons. It is a lot easier for them to turn down your application then go through all the heartache and feelings of guild and anxiety if they hire you and things don’t work out.