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Sunday, 11 May 2014

How to get a job...or least an interview.

Not my usual type of post, but nevertheless I thought it may be useful as I know many graduates and those wanting to get into the beauty industry follow my blog. Recently I advertised for a PR Assistant and was flooded with CVs. The job market is tough and ever more competitive in creative industries, so your application needs to find itself being read. To the end. Many times I never got past the first line of an applicant's email before I took an irritated sigh and pressed delete. It's funny, you can have all the qualifications and degrees that a university can throw at you, but good basic skills such as spelling and having a dose of self awareness can go far. And your covering letter says far more about you as a wannabe employee than your CV. So, with this in mind and the next batch of hungry and ambitious students being released this summer, I thought I would highlight a few crucial do-not-ever bullet points I personally experienced on CVs for those of you navigating the bear pit of a job market. Read the book above in the picture too. It has helped me in my career and it will help you.

  • Do not talk about yourself in the third person. I couldn’t quite believe it when the first paragraph started, ‘Rachel is a hard working, capable person….’ I thought it was a statement from a former employer. But no, Rachel (not her real name) was inflating herself up as her alter ego.
  • There’s no need to kick-start your CV off with your National Insurance number.  You’re not being paid by the salaries department yet.
  • If given a name to send your CV to, use it. Do not put on your covering letter To Whom It May Concern. If it’s a woman’s name – for example Jacqui, do not put Dear Mr Jacqui.
  • Misspelling is not cool for skool. It looks sloppy and illiterate. You have spell-check. Use it.
  • Remember to attach your CV to your email. I lost count how many didn’t. With inboxes flooded with CVs for just one position, you won’t be emailed back to ask for it.
  • Make your covering letter a letter, not a dissertation. There is such a thing as too much information.
  • Grammar and punctuation counts.
  • Spell the brand correctly. In fact, spelling EVERYTHING correctly. I cannot emphasise this enough.
  • Do not cut and paste from blogs talking about the brand’s product and not even bother to change the font to fit into your own application. Seriously!
  • Do not start your covering letter with ‘hey’.
  • If including interests on your CV there's no need to detail your whole gym workout. Yes, somebody did. 
  • Detail what you can offer the company, not the other way around. I had one CV telling me this would be the perfect position for her until she discovered what she really wanted to do. Obviously her application was deleted!
  • Put the right company name in your covering letter. Yes, you are applying for lots of positions and maybe using the same covering letter, but at least try and personalise it with the correct brand.
  • There is no need to scan in a picture of yourself at your graduation day wearing your mortar board. Yes, you have a degree. I get it.

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