8 secret tricks to write your CV

Writing a CV can be tricky. Therefore, have I made a short list of 8 secret tips that I have learned working side by side some of Denmark’s greatest recruiting agents.

1.     You got 10 seconds!

You only have 10 seconds to make a good impression. Always keep that in mind!

Most job postings will have more than 300 applicants applying for the same position. This means you will have to stand out to get noticed. A professional recruiting agent will on average spend just about 10 seconds on each CV during the first sorting process. Do you make it to Second Round; you have made it very fare, because the recruiter will now take the time to get to know you, reading your CV. If you keep that in mind when writing your CV, you are good on your way to get a good job.

2.     Your picture says it all!

Should I use a picture or not? There is only one answer and that is: “YES!” You should always have a photo of yourself, but not just any kind of photo.

There is an old saying :“a picture is worth a thousand words” and this is really true when we speak about your resume. Therefore, put always a great deal of care into selecting your photo.

  • Make sure to look professional in respect to the job you are applying for. If applying for a sales position, please dress business like. What happens is that you are assisting the recruiting agent imagining you working as a sales person.
  • Make sure that your picture, still looks great printed in black and white. The majority of recruiting agents print your resume, which means that colourful details vanish and so does your face. So make sure your picture appears great printed in black and white.

It often makes sense to have a professional, doing some good profile shots of you. The skill that a professional photographer has is to makes you look as good as possible and that will make a big difference to the look of your CV.

3.     Make contact easy!

Don’t leave out your contact information. Make it easy for the recruiting agent to contact you, or to find more information about you. Don’t hide your birthday. For certain positions, age might be important. If your date of birth is not visible, you risk missing an interview.

4.     Highlight the competences that make you unique!

 

This is the secret trick that too few people use. We have already established that you only got 10 seconds to make an impression. Which means you only got 10 seconds to sell your very best competences that make you stand out from the crowed.  For example: if you speak 4 different languages, you should mention it in the very beginning and highlight the text as Bold and Italic. This naturally draws the attention of the reader and gives you a head start.

5.     You have all the pages you need!

A lot of people think that they must fit their CV into one page or two. That is simply not possible if you just got a bit of skills to show off. Therefore don’t limit yourself by pages. Just keep in mind that first page is the most important one.

6.     Make it chronological and structured!

There are a lot of different ways to structure your resume. However, there tend to be one preferable way and that is very simple and chronological. Help the recruiting agent easily read your CV in a chronological order. Don’t use too many unnatural sub-headings, as they tend to destroy the flow.  Keep it to three sub headings: Languages, Work, and Education, and maybe a fourth one to cover awards, courses and events, which are of significance for your profile.

7.     Don’t leave blank spots!

When the competition is rough, you can do so many little things that count as terrible mistakes. Therefore, try not to!

You might have been unemployed for half a year or more, and that usually isn’t very attractive for recruiting agents. Not that is has to matter, but it counts as deductive points. Therefore make sure just to use years when you structure your CV. For instance: from 2009 – 2011 Account Manager – from 2011 – 2012 Division Manager. In reality you were unemployed from February 2011 until November 2011. However, I as recruiting agent don’t know and then won’t care. Should you be asked doing an interview, you will of course answer truthfully. However, no reason to advertise it.
You should always be truthful about your CV, but too large blank spots are just naturally less attractive. So keep that in mind.

8.     Sell your references!

A natural part of a recruiting agent’s job is to check your references. By references I mean former employers, teaches, or other people that in one way or another have worked with you and can give you a recommendation.
Because your resume should be a public paper and hopefully be changing hands of CEO’s and different potential employers, you might want to protect the contact details of your references. However, that doesn’t mean not mentioning them. Keep it to name title and company, and then kindly mention that contact details will be given on request.  The more prominent references you have vouching for you, the more attractive you are to potential employers. Should you have a well known business man on your list of references. Then move references to the top and highlight the name, title, and company.

 

That was 8 simple tricks for you you to get ahead of your competitors. Applying for jobs is just like any other sales job. You got to stand out and you got to be Wise, however, don’t ignore the basic rules of simplicity, structure and readability. Good luck job hunting!

Battle of the Education Systems

USC Campus

I have from July 2011 to June 2012 studied at USC in Australia, and has during my stay, noticed certain differences in the education system from USC to Aarhus University in Denmark. In this article I will try and highlight some of the key differences between the two education systems.

  • Several Tests vs. One Exam

The system I experienced in Australia consisted in general of a mid-semester test, a possible presentation, a written report and a final examination. In Denmark a typical semester would consist of an end semester report and an oral examination.

The difference between the two systems is that the Australian keeps you focused and requires full attention from day one of the semester to achieve good grades overall, where the Danish system allows for the student to relax during the first half of the semester and still achieve good grades from hard work during the study break.

  • Written vs. Oral Examination

The Australian systems does as standard not allow for oral examinations, despite a possible presentation in the beginning of the semester. In Denmark the use of oral examination is a pride and allows for the student to express in words, his or her knowledge on the subject. Both methods have its advantages and it really comes down to personal preferences. One of the aspects of the written examination is the use of multiple choice tests, which on average gives the student a probability of 25% to hit the correct answer without knowing about the subject at all. However, the oral examination as well allows for students with good communication skills to shine, where more shy students will not do as well of, despite being more knowledgeable on the subject. However, as said, it is all about person preferences.

  • Structure vs. None

My experience at USC was very positive and in particular in consideration to the structure and order of each subject. Prior to each semester a course outline for each subject would be published, giving the student a clear overview of the semester’s challenges and lessons. These course outlines are followed very punctual and makes it easy for every student to schedule his or her studies for the semester. This is one of the aspects that the Danish education system could learn a lot from. Allow the students to schedule his or her semester by clearly stating every single lesson, test and deadline.

  • Independency vs. Supervision

USC is on a bachelor level, very much assisting the student in his or her studies, which seems a lot like a Danish high-school. Coming from a more independent system, as the Danish where the student is 100% responsible for his or hers own studies, it can seem a little too much like kindergarten. However, taking into consideration that it is common for Queenslanders to start university in the age of 17, it might be understandable. Aarhus University is on the other hand not offering much supervision what so ever and you as student are really relying on your own ability to read those books and keep your studies going. Finding a decent balance between independency and supervision might help more Danish students be more successful in their studies.

  • Forming vs. Accepting

One last dot point in favour of the Australian way comes down to the possibility of forming your studies as preferable. At USC I was met by the opportunity to choose between a large range of subjects offered by the different faculties.  Internationals as well as full degree students have the opportunity to form their own studies by selecting the subjects in the order they like to finish their degree. This freedom gives very unique qualities to every single student and encourages the student to work hard. Of course there is a range of subjects that are mandatory for the student to finish his or her degree, but the freedom allows for the student to do things in his or her phase. This kind of systems could be greatly adopted at Aarhus University and should be considered for the sake of educating Danish students of a challenging future.

Conclusion

So what is the conclusion of this little comparison of the two education systems?

The two systems deliver the same product, but do it in two unique ways. Both systems have its flaws and both systems can learn from one another. I have come to really admire the flexibility and possibilities of the Australian systems demonstrated at USC, which allowed me to do subjects that I wouldn’t usually have done. However, USC really needs to drop the multiple choice tests and allow for students to challenge the rules. In Denmark the realization that multiple choice tests just doesn’t allow for academic expression is just great.

However, Aarhus University should learn from USC and try to encourage its students to stay tuned from day one with the use of mid-semester tests or similar. Simply to keep the students in the fire and experience an overall learning process, instead of just end-semester exam reading. Furthermore, the structure and order experienced at USC are to be admired and really comes in handy for students when scheduling part-time work, travel, friends, party and of course school. I recall an American student telling me that college life in the USA is as much a personal experience as it is an academic journey. To be hones I believe the Americans are on to something here.

“University is as much about personal development, as it is about academic success.“ Keeping that in mind, why not try and design our educations systems around it.