English thoughts

Job hunting

I am sitting on a bench somewhere in the city, waiting for the end of the lunch break so I can restart my job search. One more hour left to wait and it feels already like an eternity.
Today it’s the tour of the interim agencies. It sounded like a great idea at the beginning, but I had forgotten one little detail: there are only few agencies which are not specialized into the professional type of jobs like painter or special machine driver. To be more precise, I think there are less than 10 in the entire city.
So now I am simply waiting for the time to pass. 35 minutes left.
I will use them to share some information with you. I’ve been keeping this article in my head for about 2 weeks. It’s about job searching. More specific, about how to make the CV look better, how to compose an interesting motivation letter, what to do with all the professional sites and how to perform during the interview. Yes, it’s an entire science around getting a job, especially when you come after one year of jobless.

So….the CV. Oh, I forgot an important detail: this information is generally applicable to the south of France. So if you’re looking for a job in…let’s say Senegal, you might have a different vision on the topic.
First of all, keep it on one page. Yeap, you’ve read well! Regardless your experience and formations, don’t go over one page. And when you manage to do that, please tell me how the heck you did it! I’m shaping my CV since more than one year and I am only at one page and a half, considering that the information has been pretty compacted.
A picture with you smiling, dressed professional and with a uni background so that the picture looks good with any kind of printing.
Regarding the information you should include, there are some must:
– name, contact details (with a serious email address), date of birth and age, links to your profiles on LinkedIn and/or Viadeo, driving licence;
– an explicit title for your job search, your experience in a chronological order, the name of the employer, location, the dimension of the company (number of employees or C.A.), job title and few attributes of your position;
– your studies in chronological order, the name of the diploma, the institution; language skills, computer skills;
– the most important part: YOU! Your interest centers. What defines your personality. Name them and give 2 or 3 examples for each.

Just that and you have an entire page to do it. If you don’t manage to fill-it, you are either way too young, or the best person in the world for making really short resumes.

Next: your motivation letter. Pretty obvious: what motivates you so much to want to work in a specific company and do a specific job. It means reading about the company’s values and experiences. It means really understanding the job’s demands and showing that you’ve understood all of these. Of course, your motivation letter cannot be longer than one page neither. Header and signature included. Your name, the company’s details, the job name and then your motivation.
Mainly, there are 3 paragraphs that need to appear into the letter:
them – the company;
you – the candidate and
we – how good you will match with the company.

10 more minutes left…
If you are asking, yes – you need to write a letter for each application. And you need to document it.
With simple math, it means 2 or 3 applications per day. You better start working….

Your professional profiles – you need them! You need to create them and then to keep them up to date. Here we use mainly LinkedIn and Viadeo and then we have a multitude of recruiting agencies. Of course, each one is requesting you to create a detailed profile if you want to have access to their job offers. So, in the end, you will find yourself with 10-15 profiles and many hours spent on doing them. But hey, nothing is too much for the desired job!
Personal advice, after having tested it myself, get a premium access to at least one of the 2 (LinkedIn and Viadeo). You will have a higher visibility and you will be able to get in contact with the right persons. Of course, this also means spending hours on the site searching for those right persons…

Last but not least: the interview. For me going to interviews starts to look like a nice dream. So I wish that it will come true soon. Because that is the only moment when you really have a chance to show who and how you are. It is the moment when you can differentiate yourself from the others applying for the same job. It is your chance to shine! Of course it’s not all the time easy to describe yourself and convince the other person to buy the product, but with practice we get better and we can even start liking it. I am still working on getting better, so I don’t know how it is to like it. 🙂

– send a confirmation mail before the meeting (if the other person doesn’t do it)
– prepare your speech and rehearse your answers
– arrive 15 minutes in advance
– smile
– keep your hands on the table and try to look as comfortable as possible
– give honest, diplomatic answers
– if it’s an alternance that you target, remember that you are there to learn
– if it’s an experienced job that you target, remember to value your expertise but remain modest
– ask questions and show your interest for the company and for the job

Well, the list is loooooong, but these are some of the essentials. I would add a personal touch though – whenever possible, dig up details about the person who’s going to interview you (interests, hobbies, experiences) and use them during the interview.

I’m gonna stop here, as I’m afraid I’ve lost all my readers already. It’s an ugly job but sometimes we need to do it and smile while at it. I’m smiling on the inside mostly; mostly upside-down.

One last proposal for you: my CV is work in progress, so…if you’re curious/ interested/ expert/ in the mood to criticize… let me know and I’ll send a copy to you. 🙂

I promise to get back to daily writing once I have my signature on the contract I’m looking for. I kind of miss you, guys…

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