I know, I know, you’ve probably read a million and one articles about CV mistakes, cover letter blunders and job interview disasters!
In fact, we have written such articles ourselves:
- 22 Silly Reasons Your CV WILL Get Rejected.
- 23 “Creative” Cover Letters, Gone Wrong…
- 13 Stupid Ways to Sabotage a Job Interview
But, stick with me. The tricks you’re about to learn will certainly be worth it.
Mistake 1: Your CV is like a diary.
Do the work experience sections of your CV look a little bit like this?
Fundraising Manager: The Company Ltd: May 2014 – Present
- Event Planning: Responsible for planning and organising a variety of charitable events, including a ball, to raise money for The Company Ltd.
- Fundraising: Managing a team of street fundraisers to gain new sign-ups for monthly donations.
- Social Media: Managing a variety of social media campaigns to raise awareness of our cause and gain donations through online sign-ups.
So it’s essentially a long (and no doubt impressive) list of what you do on a day-to-day basis.
That’s fine, but where’s the proof? How do we know you’re any good at all of this? And what are we likely to get if we do hire you?
To really sell yourself to an employer, I highly recommend you add corresponding “accomplishment” sections to each of your work experiences.
So, if we use the example above, you could write something like this:
- Planning and promoting an event for 1,500 local business owners which raised over £10,000 for our latest fundraising project.
- Getting promoted to Fundraising Manager after consistently registering the highest number of street sign-ups.
- Setting up a Facebook competition to raise money for a project which gained 10,000 Likes across a two-week period and raised over £5,000 in donations in the process.
I’m sure you can already see how much more compelling this would make your CV! And you can do it for any industry. Just think, what impressive things have you done?
Mistake 2: You over-prepare and confuse yourself
I remember walking into an interview when I was younger, feeling ultra-confident and prepared.
I was really keen on the job and had spent hours and hours researching the company, the industry, competitors, employees… everything and anything you could imagine (almost).
And there wasn’t a tough brainteaser or trick question that I wasn’t prepared for!
(Can you see where this is going?)
The first question had they asked me was “why should be hire you?” And I was stumped.
My head was so buzzing and swimming with facts and stats and figures, that I couldn’t for the life of me grasp at simple answers to questions I’d just figured would be common sense.
The morale of the story?
Don’t over-prepare on the big stuff so much you end up underpreparing on the small stuff (that still makes a huge difference).
It is, of course, important to prepare for an interview. But you don’t want to psych yourself out.
Mistake 3: You don’t negotiate properly
When it comes to salary negotiation, it’s really important to be professional, realistic and confident.
People usually make one of three mistakes:
- Negotiating too hard. Some candidates feel they need to go really high first so they can haggle down later; don’t. You could be cut from the shortlist immediately and even if you’re not, the recruiter is bound to have doubts about you from that day forward.
- Agreeing at first and changing their mind later on. This really is a no-no. Your potential employer is simply going to be put out if you change your mind and even if you do end up working for them, do you really want to start off on a bad note?
- Don’t haggle at all. If a potential employer gives you a very low offer then they may just be pushing their luck, so do attempt to negotiate! Anyway, if it turns out that they are serious; do you really want to end up working for someone who doesn’t value you anyway?
Recruiters will have a budget for a particular position and you can be on the front foot as long as you have done your research. So if you’re not sure how much you’re worth to a potential employer, go on indeed.co.uk and look at similar roles in the same area, asking for similar experience.
Before you apply for any job you should consider your own experience and what you would actually be willing to accept.
Hopefully, the above insights aren’t completely new to you. But just in case, let’s go over them again:
- Your CV isn’t a shopping list, it’s a sales piece.
- Over preparation can be just as dangerous and under-preparation.
- Be prepared to negotiate.
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