12 Days of Christmas – Part 1


12 days of christmasTo celebrate the festive season, we presented a series of Christmas videos. Some of our Career Coaches have given their responses to 12 of our most asked questions and we have collected them into 2 articles, inviting you to enjoy, be inspired, and learn from Renovo’s 12 Days of Christmas.

Do recruiters use algorithms to screen CVs and what tips do you have for working with these?
By Francesca Mercier

A large percentage of online recruiters these days use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) to select candidates for interview. ATSs use algorithms to search for the key words that are in job descriptions and person specifications - if a CV does not contain enough of the key words you will not be selected. Good practice is to assume that ATSs will be used every time you apply online and you therefore need to ensure that your CV matches the requirements sought. Additionally, the ATSs prefer a plain format so avoid tables, boxes, colour and shading.

Consider using a search engine to find 2 or 3 job descriptions/ person specifications for the type of role you are interested in. What are the common themes, skills and experience that are being sought? Are there industry/job specific phrases and terminology that are being used regularly? Using this information, consider producing a master CV. This master CV should incorporate the core skills you have identified, together with examples of targeted, relevant achievements, demonstrating the value you would add in the role. You then tailor this master specifically to each role you apply for.

If there are two or three different types of roles you are interested in applying for, use the above methodology to create a different ‘master’ for each role, which again you tailor each time you apply for a job.

Understanding how to work with ATS’s is key to a successful job search. Each line on your CV is precious – make it count!

How can my LinkedIn profile help me secure a new role?
By Mike Prenton

There’s really one over-riding reason to be on Linked-In: To be Found.

Why? Because – as in many other areas of our lives - recruitment has been revolutionised by the web. Many hirers will now start by sourcing LinkedIn with targeted keywords and ‘smart search’, before (or even instead of) posting a vacancy online.

You'll need your profile to be looking forwards rather than backwards, giving prominence to the skills & expertise you wish to use most in your future career. Don't forget accreditations and specific 'tools of your trade' - recruiters often deep search with this in mind.

You should look to personalise the headline under your name – it may well be the first thing a recruiter ever learns about you. This can be developed by developing your “elevator pitch”. Then look to add your broader skill set and many more juicy keywords in your "Summary" or “About” box.

The best sense check is to ask yourself – are the words in my profile matching up with those in the vacancies I wish to apply for? It’s all about the match. Don't forget to add the key words again in the skills section at the foot of your profile in the same way – they are especially useful in boosting you up the applicant list when applying through LinkedIn for a role and also show you how much of a match you are for LinkedIn advertised vacancies.

I am thinking of changing career but not sure what to do next. How can I find a job I enjoy?
By Julia Gardner

Where to start though when it comes to finding a job  you enjoy? My top tip to you is simply ‘Don’t just do something, sit there!’. Grab a pen and paper to create some festive reflections:

Review your story so far – the good times and the not so good.  What specifically contributed to those ups and downs and what clues are there in your story-line to help you identify enjoyable work?

Gather up all the positives hidden in your story   That includes your strengths and skills, knowledge and expertise, what you value, your qualifications, passions and interests.

Einstein once said … ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’.  Get creative and visualise a brighter future.  What does it look like?  Where are you? What are you doing? Who else is there? What’s the evidence that you’ve had a good day? Notice ideas bubbling up, old and new.

Capture what you need from work and what’s most important – this is your all-important criteria check-list for focusing on a realistic way forward.

Now you can do something! Who’s around to help progress and cement your thinking? Have conversations to gather information, check assumptions, spot opportunities and notice where your energy builds…there will be a reason why!

I am considering becoming self-employed, any tips?
By Mark Eyre

There’s a lot to think about!  Whether you plan to continue your profession in a self-employed capacity, or make a complete career change, these steps matter.

Decide your strategy

Get clear on what you’re selling.  What is your product or offer?  Who are your target customers?  Are they business or personal customers?   Why will customers use you rather than someone else?  While staying flexible helps make a living, you need some clarity on these questions.  Your answers will also help decide how best to market.  Do you need a business website?  Will a good LinkedIn profile suffice?  Will you market in other ways instead?

Get the right business set-up

There are some important decisions to make here, starting with Limited Company or sole trader?  A Limited Company is a more formal set up, sole trader less formal.  If you plan to sell to business customers or organisations, you will almost certainly need a Limited Company.  Other issues need sorting too, like getting an accountant or book-keeper, a business bank account, business insurance, and business driving insurance.

Be realistic

Get clear how much you can live on.  Depending on your plans, it could take 6-12months to start earning.  How are you going to live before then?  Putting realistic timescales on business start-up plans is important.

Get out!

Going self-employed can be lonely, so make sure you get out regularly.  Join a business network, which can be a social life and a great way to pick up tips.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.co.uk

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