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Getting a good job – Part 1 – Your CV “It’s a numbers game”, they say. There are so many applications for every good job, you just have to apply for hundreds of jobs. The more applications you send out, the better your chance of landing a decent job. Simple. It’s a numbers game. Wrong! It’s not a numbers game; it’s a test of how smart you are. It’s a test of your ability to research an opportunity, prepare a case, make a pitch, and land the job. Let’s start with the CV (often also called a Resumé). You need a great CV, right? Wrong again! You need different CVs for every different job you apply for. Your research should have shown you what your prospective employer would like to see in your CV. It’s your job to present yourself as having what they are looking for. Never lie, never even distort the truth, but do select carefully the bits of the truth you want to stand out in your favour. Have a standard template by all means, but always mould the template to suit each job you apply for. Incidentally, there are lots of resources and standard templates on the Internet to help you get started. Don’t put “CV” or “Resumé” at the top of the page; put your name there. The first rule of CV-writing (unless you are applying for an academic job!) is “keep it short”. Two pages at the most, and one page if you are applying for an entry-level job. Make sure your basic biographical data are easy to find, and that your contact details are current. Try to show elements in your experience that constitute “achievement”; employers want to find people who have excelled in their past, and can be expected to do so again. Only attach photos or copies of certificates if the job ad clearly demands that you do so. You also need to write a letter to accompany the CV. Sometimes you see a request that you attach a covering letter “in your own handwriting.” My personal preference is never to apply for jobs where the employer does this. That’s because they are probably going to use the pseudo-science of handwriting analysis to assess your character. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that did this. Your covering letter should be short. It should not repeat material that’s in the CV. But it’s an opportunity to give the prospective employer one telling bit of “spin” about yourself. One sentence that gives them a reason to meet you. Three more key points. First, the best jobs often are never advertised. To get a chance with one of these you have to research a company, analyse what they need, discover who in the company will feel that need, and make contact with them directly. Secondly, everything you write in a CV or letter must be error-free. In your mother-tongue you can achieve this, but few speakers of second languages, however many years they have been using the language, can write with perfect accuracy. A spelling, grammatical, usage or register error tells the reader that you are someone who makes mistakes. Perhaps also that you are prepared to tolerate mistakes. Maybe this is only at the subconscious level, but it’s going to be a factor in the hiring decision. Finally, by far the majority of multi-national companies recruit in the English language. So if you are applying for a position in one of these organisations, make sure your English is perfect. If you live in Jakarta, at Aim (belajar bahasa inggris) there’s a friendly group of people who can help you.


Getting a good job - Part 1 - Your CV