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.
Clients come to their consult with me armed with certificates, cards, licences and copies of old resumes. Some are on the ball and all documents are current. Others are disorganised, expired material mixed in with current so they take some sorting out. Also, various certificates and cards can be missing altogether! Confusion reigns. Anxiety can arise when I suggest destroying old documents and cards. I can understand that, for some they represent a part of their working life and memories. What concerns me is the risk. How often is expired material submitted by mistake, consequently sabotaging a job application?So what to do? Here are my thoughts …
- Gather up every document old and new, sit yourself down at a table and sort them into separate piles, one pile for current and one for expired. Make sure you include all your cards.
- Check all possible places where you may have put anything relevant, e.g., your wallet or the dashboard of your ute (yes people do file them there)!
- Check all dates thoroughly.
- If you can’t bring yourself to destroy the old copies, file them in a plastic pocket, place in a Manilla folder and file them far, far away from your current documents and cards.
- Scan the current documents and cards (back and front for cards) and save them into a computer file which includes your name in the file name.
You are now ready to make job applications confident that all documentation surrounding qualifications, tickets and licences are current.
In the world of recruitment and what employers are looking for, essential and desired skill requirements are forever changing. As someone who monitors the job market every day, I notice how quickly these changes can occur. One item popping up more and more in recent trade and allied craft job advertisements is the requirement or desire for people with Fire Extinguisher Training, particularly for jobs in Western Australia mining. It might be worth doing your own research to weigh up whether this training would be beneficial to your job search. I’ve taken a look on registered training organisation sites and Fire Extinguisher Training doesn’t appear to be an expensive item.
If you have changed your name due to marriage, don’t forget to change your name on your voice mail and any pertinent documents such as email addresses and signatures, or your resume. If you have certificates from when you were single and concerned they may create confusion, you could include your maiden name in brackets in the personal details on your resume. It is about recruiters or employers being able to join the dots easily.
It’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.
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.
Monitoring jobs ads every day as I do, you come to notice trends and changes as to which skills, tickets and licences are being most sought. One current basic requirement for individuals working in construction, whether in mining, oil and gas or civil construction, is the OHS Construction White Card. A significant number of people seeking work hold the Red Card, which, as I have checked with Work Safe, is still a valid card. Even though the Red Card is valid, I suggest to my clients that they update to the White Card, as what we are seeing is an increasing number of companies rejecting the Red Card. This is possibly due to the timeframe in which they were acquired which is now a long time ago in the world of 21st century work. Again, having checked with Work Safe, I have ascertained that if you present yourself with your Red Card, and photographic proof of identity, such as your Driver’s Licence to a Registered Training Organisation authorised to deliver the White Card qualification, for a small fee a new White Card will be issued by Work Safe (without the need to repeat the training).