Why I Tossed Your CV! - The University of Waikato

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Why I Tossed Your CV! - The University of Waikato
CV & Cover Letter Workshop
Alison Crean
Careers Advisor
The University of Waikato
Email: [email protected]
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Here is Harvey’s Personal Advertisement
Would you buy him?
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The main purpose of a CV from an employer’s point of view is to help
them to select the right number of candidates for interview as quickly and
efficiently as possible.
This is about matching your skills, experience and personality to the
culture of the organisations and the key criteria that the company is
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Be Special - Decide what is special about you? What are you offering your
'new‘ or existing employer ? Many people feel that if they are already
employed by the organisation that is enough, so they don't work too hard on
what they have to offer. Think in terms of your unique skills. You need to
have at least 5 unique selling points!
What can you do that would add value to your chosen company?
What are you going to bring to an organisation?
What personal skills do you have to offer? Yes, the focus is on how 'You' can
make a positive difference to your chosen organisation. Just like Harvey did!
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Be Sexy – most applications are very dull, boring and lack enthusiasm
for the job on offer. Create a bit of intrigue and sex appeal by committing
your enthusiasm and talents to paper. Employers love qualifications and
experience - they are also looking to recruit the other qualification,
which is your personality.
Be Professional – research your chosen profession and put your
application together. So many employees see a position they like the
look of and just throw anything down on paper in the vain hope that it
will get them the job. Researching the company and writing a
personalised CV/application form is a far more strategic way to gain an
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Want to know why you didn’t get an interview :
Why I Tossed Your CV!
It's only going to take me a short amount of time to
read through the files and make my decision.
Approximately 15-30 seconds or less!
We weed the stack, we look for red flags that
scream "don't interview me!“ – it only takes
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Mistakes that will guarantee your CV a one-way ticket to the shredder.
• You don't meet the minimum criteria. Note the minimums and
demonstrate how you meet them.
• Bad grammar - every stack has at least one CV with misspelled words,
incomplete sentences, errors - signals laziness, inattention to detail, and
the overall sense that you are not taking this seriously.
Here are three pieces of advice: proofread, proofread, proofread.
• Tailor your CV? - "spray gun" method of applying for jobs - rapid-firing
your CV to every opening you can – doesn’t work! One of the best things
that applicants can do is demonstrate that they know what they are
applying for.
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• You didn't speak our language. Here's a trick to land jobs - copy
specific phrases and buzzwords from the job posting into your CV,
build them into bullet points. Don’t use jargon and abbreviations.
Recruiters quickly scan CV’s often look for specific phrases they put in
the job ad. Some corporate employers use electronic filters to weed
out applications.
• You used too much personality fluff - when you use descriptive
phrases, "dedicated worker," "innovative thinker” without
demonstrating. Your CV should show me why you have the best
background and skills for the job. If you enjoy new challenges, I will be
able to glean that from the list of achievements you have in your CV.
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What does a CV Look Like?
Contact Details:
John Sample
Your name will be the first
thing on your CV – informal,
no middle names also
123 University Street, Hamilton 3200
Mobile: 021 123 4567
Tel: 07 123 4567
Email: [email protected]
Mobile and landline
Email (professional)
LinkedIn contact
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Profile/Personal Statement
These are optional! Keep it
short and concise and make
it your marketing statement!
Needs to summarise
experience, skills and if you
like, what role you are
applying for. Often the cover
letter can do this – and the
profile should be your
‘elevator script’ or marketing
A confident communicator with 5 years
administrative experience including
extensive involvement with committees
and boards. Offers strong
organisational, planning, interpersonal
and teamwork skills.
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Key Skills
Key Skills
 4 to 6 bullet point
statements that target the
 Confident communicator gained
through presenting at Board
meetings, handling student enquiries
and managing and planning
extensive reporting and
 They must be
demonstrated and lead
the employer to your CV!
 Leadership skills developed through
managing staff, chairing board
meetings and coaching/managing
sports teams
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 If you have them – put
them on the first page!
They can be academic,
sporting, cultural,
community, work related!
 Successfully awarded scholarship
for post graduate study
 Selected for timetabling
 Seconded to FASS to set up and
administer employment skills
 Selected to play Soccer for
regional competitions
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Relevant Experience
Relevant Experience
A great way to sell relevant
roles, community work,
volunteer, and related projects.
Do not assume people know
you when applying for roles
from within your organisation
You still need to sell yourself
and your skill set.
Student Administrator 2008 – 2012
Developed student database (Excel VBA)
Collaborated with internal teams to produce reports and
refine procedure to create streamlined systems
 Liaising with students, academics and other staff to
resolve timetabling issues, including proficient in use of
Jasper and other university databases
Achievement – received a positive review on my
performance and seconded to FASS
Finance & Economics Tutor – University of Waikato 2007
 Deliver paper content to first year students – mark
assignments and exams
Achievements – selected for this role due to my strong
knowledge and academic achievement on this topic
Secretary Hospice Waikato
 Taking and updating minutes and correspondence
including managing sponsorship and co ordinating
fundraising events
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List most recent or highest
qualifications first, and
include majors, and on the
job training if it is relevant.
If you have relevant
experience and then a
degree you will want to put
the experience first – it will
depend on the employer’s
Bachelor of Management Studies 2004 – 2007
 Majoring in Finance & Economics
The University of Waikato
 Women in Leadership
 First Aid Certificate
 Secretarial association training days
 Customer Service (KiwiHost)
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Other Experience
Other Experience
List any other work experience
which does not relate to the
role and list responsibilities as
transferable skills.
Customer Service - 123 Café
• Provided front line customer service and cash
handling in a busy fast paced role
• Completed stock takes, trained other staff
and undertook supervisory duties when
You sell your transferable skills
mix rather than concentrating
Achievements – Promoted to supervisor role
on the day to day mechanics of after three months
the role.
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Additional Information
Be brief and only put in if
you need. Include extra
curricular activities,
interests, hobbies,
nationality, languages,
sport, voluntary work,
debating, travel (especially
if to interesting places),
student societies and
committees, etc
Additional Information
Community Support Worker –IDEA
Services, Hamilton
Sports (Basketball and Snooker),
Travelling (Hong Kong, Singapore,
Thailand, Cambodia), Music, Reading,
Fashion Design
Languages: Fluent in English, Spanish, Mandarin
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Not required to list as you
will have to provide them
anyways! If you have good
ones – well respected, well
branded, then put them on
our CV – reputation
marketing! Only 2 or 3!
Name – Title
Mobile: / Tel:
Richard Branson
Virgin Ltd
Mobile: 021 123 4567 Tel: +44 12 345 6789
Email: [email protected]
Donald Trump
Trump Holdings Ltd
Mobile: 098 765 4321 Tel: +11 212 123 45657
Email: [email protected]
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Start with the things you know about yourself when putting your CV
together save the hard tasks for last.
Interview yourself. Ask yourself: What are my top 5 unique selling points?
Do you have any outstanding achievements in your working life – try to find
one for each job you have done, such as great performance reviews, being
asked to undertake additional responsibilities, training others, committee
Have you undertaken professional development ie conferences, workshops,
training days, professional certification etc
Are you involved with any organisations outside the workplace, ie Board of
trustees, sports, community, health industry, clubs, charities, and affiliations
Do you have any interesting hobbies/interests – any achievements in those?
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Do’s and Don’ts for Professional CVs
 Use Arial or Times Roman fonts (or
associated fonts)
Be consistent in headings – font size
and format
Ensure your font size is 11 or 12
points-anything too small or large and
it is irritating on the eyes
Put your name on each page
Spell check the document
Target the CV for the specific
company, position or role
Ensure Referees are appropriate for
each position you apply for
Make sure CV is in Word or pdf
Use fancy fonts that irritate the eye
Have a lot of colour or use graphics
Put a photograph on the CV
Waste space repeating information
Put in irrelevant information like date
of birth, work visa status, marital
status, secondary schooling, drivers
licence ….
Make spelling errors, typos or have
factual errors in job titles
Don’t go into endless detail about job
responsibilities on a day to day basis –
summarise your transferrable skills
Don’t use first person
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Cover Letters – If you are applying for a job a cover letter can help you inject
some personality to your application.
What to include:
 Your details – make it easy for someone who is hiring to quickly get back to
you – include name, phone, email address
 A quick introduction – describe yourself and explain achievements,
experience and qualifications in the opening paragraphs – don’t start with I
wish to apply for – BORING!!!!
 Provide an overview of your main reasons the employer should hire you –
this means you need to highlight ‘what the employer wants’ and
demonstrate how you have it. Take their key words from their
advertisement, job description or website and demonstrate to the reader how
you have those skills and abilities – lead them to your CV!
 Provide the reader with an explanation of how you are the perfect match –
show that you are culturally aligned, why you are well suited and how much
you would like to work there
 Keep language simple, error free, be confident, be positive (don’t use BUT),
triple check details – correct names, addresses, contact details, etc
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How Employers
From Within:
temp, contract, volunteer, intern,
work experience, full time….I want to hire someone
whose work I have seen
Use Proof:
job-hunter who brings
proof of what they can do makes an
appointment through contacts / research
of jobs
Best friend, family,
peers, coaches, teachers,
colleagues, former colleagues,
recruiter or search
Online or
What Color is Your Parachute? Richard Bolles 2012
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How most people look for
Fly UP