ECVs - Welcome To A Whole New World.
Last updated: 11/09/2007 08:26:08
Over 7m people in the UK have searched for a job online in the last six months (nearly 40% of those who use the internet). Apparently 500,000 of them had obtained a job at least partially down to the Web. So it does work, even if less than 8% have been successful.
But what has happened to the 92% then? Why have they got it wrong, and have you been one of them? Have you used the "scatter-gun" approach? Fire as much out there as possible and, to use a different metaphor, see if any of it sticks. Let's face it, it is easy to do, but often with very limited results.

It is not just the CV that is important, but what use you make of the technology. And to use it properly, you need to understand how applications are handled at present. And it is not all like the old world of snail-mail, everything printed neatly on paper.

Let's look at what happens with us so you can improve your chances of getting noticed.
Some days we can get deluged with CV's, as you can well imagine.

Under that pressure, you need to help us to help you. To sort the wheat from the chaff, or rather your application from everyone else. Deflect us, cause us to do more work than we should do, or make it overcomplicated, and you could slip through the holes in our net.

So here is the first message - e-cruiting is still in its infancy. Whilst it makes it very easy for you to apply, it does not necessarily make it easy for us to understand you. To convince us you really are right for us, you have to pass a number of tests. Some are obvious, some less so.

We advertise for a departmental manager in a dealership - we might look at candidates who have most of the following: Good technical background; 2 years management experience; Stable career with the right franchises; Not applying to loads of agencies; Instantly useable CV in a readable format; Clearly defined career goals; Realistic expectations;

The first three are obvious, but do you mention your current franchise? Our system scans for them and other key words like "Manager", "Sales", "Parts" and so on. Make sure they are included.

How many people forget to remove the password protection on their CV, how many save it in an obscure format with the latest virus thoughtfully attached? (About 8% if you are interested).

The next one is tricky one but let me say it straight - if you are on everyone else's books, we get less excited, our chances of placing you are much lower. In a posted application, I have no way of knowing (unless you use a scrappy old photocopy, addressed to "whom it may concern", date "as postmark", Dear Sir/Madam delete as appropriate) but with email it is different.

If you are well organised, you get a mailing list of agencies which I see in the "To-" box. If it's a heavy day, you go to the back of my queue. If you come from another industry and have forty addresses in the header you probably won't get a reply.

So spend a little more time mailing each agency separately, preferably with a named contact (ours are listed on our website) so that it is dealt with immediately. If you wouldn't do it by post, don't do it by email - it will pay dividends.

You've isolated my address - so you naturally send me a blank email with twelve attachments, each one contains a page of the CV, or a page of their references, or an application letter or a certificate.

Do not send 6 separate attachments under the one application, I simply do not have time to open them and will ignore most of them. Put what you have to say in the body of the email, include all of your CV in one attachment then make sure I can read it. Save it in a universal format, such as .rtf. If you have any doubts - download our CV Guide from our website.

Do not forget, and it is mentioned in the Guide, we use sophisticated templates to merge your information with our comments and correspondence to submit your CV. If it contains clever layouts, tables, text boxes and so on the results are unpredictable. Plain, simple, well laid out text is the answer, saved in a simple format.

Dating back to the days when a one page letter took 20 minutes to upload by email, some people still insist on compressing their CV. It should not be that big - even with a picture it should never be more than 50-60KB, or a couple of seconds to upload. Keep the file as small as possible, but do not zip it (Compress the file using sophisticated software to the layman). We can deal with it, but it is fiddly, but many people simply do not know what to do with the zipped file.

To keep the files small, resize photographs before you send them. Most people take an enormous photo and then scale it down by dragging on its corners. The result? A tiny representation of a 10MB file that will occupy 10MB.

High resolution pics are great, but the bane of the internet. They also clog Email servers and your application could get bounced or even worse, plain lost. Our server will not accept a message bigger than 1MB - unless you are sending a photo big enough to cover a small Pacific Island you should not need more than 30-50KB, especially if you save it as a JPEG file (.jpg), it is much easier on space.

You might think you could still be quite flash and not send in a CV at all, just give us a link to your website. NEVER, NEVER use a website for your CV and send us just the address. We will never get it properly, and unlike us, many agencies are not hardwired to the Net. They have to remember to look at your details later - again they may not do.

Finally, you should expect a reply. If you have not heard for a couple of days then call. Things do go missing, servers do fail and if we do not know of you, we will not respond. You could try sending me a message "Please call if you do not receive this", but I am not sure it will work........

And finally, finally - viruses. Get some Antivirus software. Ours is good and (touch wood) it has protected us so far because we update it at least once a week. A surprising number of you send us viruses, when that happens, the file locks and we cannot access it.

We know what causes it, but you go to the back of the queue until we have time to reply to you, explain the problem and ask you to resubmit a clean copy. As an aside, viruses can get picked up at work. It can be embarrassing explaining why you put that floppy disk into your work PC, especially if it froze and someone uncovers your application! Antivirus at home is essential if you work on the web.

We are no different to anyone else in terms of our requirements. We just hope we do more with it when we receive it. Never forget that the web is so easy to use and to apply that everyone else can do it just as easily. The more your application helps us the more we can help you.

The message is simple really - or rather the message is keep it simple. Email, epublishing, ecommerce etc are wonderful, bur they don't always talk to each other. So keep at a basic level (you can still make it look nice and contain all the right elements) and you will not go far wrong.

Isn't technology wonderful.

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