Saturday, 8 March 2014

Some CV advice from a ‘not so amateur’!

So on the very first day of lectures in Poitiers, a recruiter came in to speak to us about employability. I can’t remember his name but I took down a few notes which I thought were very important. A lot of things were repeated but it was good to hear them again to stress how important they were, and I also heard a few new things. I thought I’d share some things with others who are in the same position as I am in terms of job-hunting and CV editing and stuff. These are my own notes from what he said with some of my own input. I hope this helps someone. Good luck and happy reading!

  • Languages - You need to be able to speak more languages to be able to stand out from the crowd. Everyone speaks English now. I used to think I was absolutely fantastic because I could speak fluent English (well apparently not!). Now I’m learning French (again). I’m very glad I did French in secondary school so I’m not totally lost! It helps to be in France where they actually speak French so you are forced to actually speak in French to people; although I try to cheat the system by asking most people “vous parlez en anglais?” which means “do you speak English?”, just so I can escape having to think of how to say whatever it is in French.This is especially for those who would like to work abroad. Most companies want you to be fluent in the country’s official language before they employ you.

  • 80% of people are not honest on their CVs. DO NOT lie about the languages you speak. That shows you cannot be trusted.

  • Sell yourself - We are all products on the market; you need to sell yourself through your CV. Show the employer that you know what you want.
  • Write down your summer jobs. Date it as well. You look motivated as you are working instead of travelling over the summer. I never thought about it like this, I just wanted to get experience so I guess this is a plus for me.

  • Memberships, sports, associations, travel. Employers like to see someone who likes the same stuff. Differentiate yourself. You are still a product when you apply and when you are within the company.

  • You need to change your CVs depending on the job you are applying for. CVs these days are read by computers and will focus on keywords.

  • If a picture is needed use professional ones, same for email addresses. Add references for France but not for other countries. Make sure you inform them.

  • Give only facts when you apply for jobs especially in France as the first thing recruiters look for is the school (Are you from the top 10?). Better jobs abroad than in France; better work conditions.

  • Look online to see where the best places to work are. Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway are on top. Australia has been rated best place to live and work in the world, in 2013 (third year in a row), by the OECD.

  • Your last internship is the most important one as they might keep you on. Be careful about the internship you will choose as that may be what your end career is.

  • Don’t write Microsoft Excel on your CV except you are really good at it. Just write Microsoft office. I am certainly taking excel off my CV because I only know the basics and formulae generation and that kind of stuff and I’m pretty sure they are rusty now after my science degree.

  • You need to know if you are able to do the job or not, or if you are able to learn. Sometimes recruiters make mistakes.

Till next time,


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