Work Smarter not Harder

I came across a post on LinkdIn about a gentleman who while broke and shopping at Aldi he had the epiphany to work hard. I’m not talking about putting the effort in, but he went 24/7, accepted work whenever it was offered.

While at college, he had 3 jobs, worked from 8am til 11pm, and then still had homework to do. When he was applying for jobs, he applied to everything, got rejected a lot, but finally when he got a job he accepted every shift, every hour of work.

This kind of thinking only in terms of the next 1-2 months, is fine to start with when you need to get out of a struggling situation. But, what you end up doing is burning your candle at both ends.

I have been in this situation, I went from a extremely well paid job, to having nothing. Working at scrubbing toilets to pay the rent, mopping up sick to pay for food. Your ego takes a battering when you have to fall from grace as it were, and you begin to feel unworthy of anything else.

However, if you work Smarter you don’t need to fall into that pit. If you know there are skills that you need to do better, if you are weak in certain areas, work on those areas. Make yourself a better candidate for the roles you are going for.

It isn’t just about collecting every free course available, it’s collecting the skills and assets you personally need to get the job you want. There is no quick fix. A wave of the magic wand, wont make your CV stand out from the crowd.

I can honestly say, when I apply for a job, I always tend to get the interview. Something on my CV makes me stand out to that person reading it. I have mentioned that your CV is only in the persons hand for a few seconds, that’s if you make the shortlist at all.

In those 4-5 seconds, something has to grab the reader. I’m not talking about the woman who sent her CV on pink paper, or the gentleman who used size 20 font. (Yes I’ve heard it all). It’s about being relevant, having skills that other people don’t and being the best person for the role.

My CV is pretty basic, it’s separated into sections.

The name and address is simply in the middle at the top. It’s in Arial (no fancy scripts). Make sure to check your email address is correct and any numbers are up to date.

The Personal Profile, is straight to the point, include a few phrases which relate to the job role you are applying for. (Make sure you can do everything you say you can).

What I do next is have 5-6 key skills and attributes. For example:
“Problem solving – Able to problem solve and develop solutions on the fly to a given task.” (This gives a one sentence snippet of any key areas you are good at).

Then I chose Education and Training. In my case this is more relevant as my previous role was 2 years ago. Since then I have been improving my skills and experience.

Then finally my Employment History. Each role going back say 5-6 years or however long you choose. (It should be only a 3 page CV at the most). Each role is broken down into bullet points, with the key areas of that role.

On my CV, I included a Hobbies and Interest, but this is because there is something specific and relevant on them to the roles I apply for. I write poetry and works of fiction. As most of my roles that I apply for, are to do with words or copywriting (this would be relevant). If one of your hobbies is amateur dramatics, and you are applying for an office job. It isn’t quite as relevant to that role. You aren’t going to do your AmDram over the telephone to clients for instance.

Your references go underneath, remember to ask if you can use someone as your reference. And, if the role needs your references pretty quickly, there is nothing wrong with contacting your reference and just letting them know to expect to be contacted soon.

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