Choose Referees Wisely

I took a phone call recently from a recruiter doing an applicant reference check.  I was listed as a referee on the applicant’s resume. The only trouble is I’ve not worked with the person for about ten years, and nor have I spoken to them in that time. Nothing I could say would advance the applicant going forward as I couldn’t speak to a decade of their employment, or even say they’d been working. It brings me back to what I have spoken about before in relation to referees. I can’t emphasise it enough, where possible, they need to be your most recent supervisors, and you need to maintain regular contact checking your referee details remain unchanged, and keeping them up to date with what you are doing. There are a few, but a very few exceptions.

Using Your Work Experience Reports Smartly

toolsIt’s nearly four years since I wrote a post on Tips for School Leavers Looking for Work which can be found here. If you are preparing your resume and wondering how to give it a point of difference, try re-visiting your Work Experience Reports. If you did well in your placements and received good feedback, those comments can be quoted at the top of your resume. How does that help with your job search? While potential employers are looking for aptitude they are also looking for the right attitude. Work Experience Reports can be a good source of detail about your character and personality. They may describe how well you commit to tasks, interact with others and fit in to a team. Don’t forget sporting or school awards either, but only from your time at secondary college and focus on the most recent ones.

One Risk in Using Headers

21st century resumes can be read in multiple versions of software, via e-recruitment tools, or on a range of devices. It’s important to understand then, that the use of headers in your resume, as with other formatting, needs to be managed carefully.
When I opened a resume recently there were no personal details showing, even though they showed quite clearly on the printed copy. The personal details were contained in a header on the first page and it didn’t show up when I opened the document.The question immediately arose as to how many times this had happened when opened by various tools or differing versions of software.Having not used any other headers or footers the document was lacking name and contact details, so in an environment where resumes often don’t get printed out, this document would be rendered useless on various occasions.If you want to use headers and footers on your resume, that’s fine, I would just suggest that you don’t use a header on the front page, unless you are prepared to take a risk.

Tips on choosing referees

Normally recruiters and potential employers like to see your most recent supervisors named as your referees as they are the person in authority with first-hand knowledge of your work. What happens then when you are not in the position to offer supervisors as referees, as in the case of people who have been self-employed and who are now seeking to return to work for someone else? It means widening the net. If you have been working in a self-employed role, think about professionals you may have dealt with often over the course of your self-employment, such as your accountant, a supplier, or a regular consistent purchaser of your goods or services. Another potential source is where you may have served long-term in a voluntary role with organisations such as the CFA or a local business group. Sourcing appropriate referees in these circumstances is not an insurmountable issue it just takes a little extra time and thought. And remember don’t just name an individual as your referee without first seeking their agreement to act in the role.To do otherwise may turn out to be an act of self-sabotage.

File Names for your Job Search Documents

You may have used your name in the file name of your resume, but what about your other job search documents?

When scanning certificates and licences for uploading into online job applications, again, use your name as part of the file name, for example, Joe Bloggs Licences.pdf, or Joe Bloggs Licences.jpg; make sure though, that you have read the requirements relating to what type of files the recruiter/employer will accept, and strictly comply with that instruction.  Recruiters and potential employers have their reasons for those stated requirements.

At every opportunity, use your name in all file names related to your job search. It makes you easier to find.  It’s all about using every available opportunity to keep your name up front and centre.

No mobile phone or email address?

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Have you never owned a mobile phone or acquired an email address?  Are you a person doggedly resisting the technological age?  In terms of applying for jobs in the 21st century what will this say about you, will it impact on your job search outcome? The answer to that question is almost certainly a resounding yes. If your reputation is such that employers are beating a path to your door, you might get away with it … for the rest of us, it’s an enormous risk.