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AtypicalSloth
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#1
Report Thread starter 11 months ago
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Hello everyone,

I've just finished year 12 and I've been applying for various retail roles for a few months now without success, and I feel this is because of my CV, which I've attached.

I think I already know some ways it can be improved, mainly by making it shorter by cutting out most of the achievements and hobbies sections, and by changing the formatting so that it isn't as colourful. I also feel my CV makes me sound a little full of myself at the moment, but I'm not sure how to tone it down whilst still emphasizing strengths.

Either way, I'd really value some advice and suggestions on ways of improving this.

Thanks

(I've censored some info some info like my name and address for this post, so sorry for the black boxes across the CV!)
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Baleroc
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I would recommend attending a career's advisor to review your CV, or perhaps, have a teacher review it. I can give you some suggestions to begin with, but ultimately, a CV is different for every person. P.S I would like to apologise in advance for the formatting here - I am unfamiliar with using this formatting, and adding line breaks manually is not working.
1. Minor Tweaks

Here's a list of minor tweaks you could add to your CV, it is personal preference, however:

- Rather than writing "Achieved the highest grades possible at GCSE", write: "Achieved 14 A* grades at GCSE". Both statements are equivalent, but I believe the second statement is more impressive.

- Don't use acronyms. They're bad. The only time you should use jargon or acronyms is when you know that the recruiter knows exactly what you mean. A good question to ask: will an interviewer know what the acronym means? Alternatively, you write the entire word and use (ARONYM) in brackets. In your case, you would write what 'EPOS' stands for, then end with (EPOS) in brackets.

- Under achievements, you have GCSE marks. That's redundant - remove it. You repeated yourself twice - since at the beginning (Under Education), you already listed your GCSE grades.

2. Other Tweaks

- In your personal statement, you write: "Achieved the highest grades possible at GCSEs, highlighting determination to succeed, and improving problem‐solving and time management skills"

From my experience, you don't need to "list" or describe skills. Instead, demonstrate them. Instead, describe the process of how you managed to obtain high GCSE grades. For example: each day I would plan and write a schedule for revising my exams; researching and reading extra material beyond the course; and completing home-work on time before the deadline. Each of these activities demonstrate my commitment, planning, and time management skills throughout my course.

Each statement I have written demonstrates planning, research, and time management. They are just a few examples that demonstrate the skills that you want to convey. You could add at the end of the statement:

Similarly, you end the personal statement with: “Recently elected as Head Boy at the school as a result of being friendly and approachable, and as a result of being able to work well under pressure.”

Follow a similar style to what I have written above: rather than writing “as a result of being able to work well under pressure”, what did you do as Head Boy, that demonstrates that you work well under pressure? What were you responsible for? What were you tasked? What did you do that required you to work well under pressure?

3. Major Tweaks

Having discussed the minor tweaks, there are some more significant overhauls
  • - Beginning with Voluntary Work:
    • o For each responsibility you have, list it on a new line.
  • - E.g:
    • o Sorting through bags of donated goods quickly and efficiently
    • o tidied and sorted the shop floor to create attractive and accessible shopping displays
    • o utilising creativity and management skills and improving the ability to multitask
    • o responding politely and effectively to customer enquiries and ensuring customer satisfaction
    • o experience of using EPOS tills.


Repeat this for all work experiences

  • - Margins are too wide. You can add a lot more text by pushing up the text, and making it wider.
  • - Hobbies need revising. They are largely irrelevant or lacking detail.
    • o Hobbies should demonstrate your commitment, team-working skills, communication skills, creativity skills, reading skills, etc.
    • o The hobbies should have a skill that is related to the job in some meaningful way.
    • o By just describing you are a member of the rowing club is not enough.
      • § It is extremely cliché to say: “This improved health, strength, and stamina”, and most likely, is not adding anything to your CV.
      • § Avoid adding the obvious.
    • o Instead, here’s a better statement:
      • § Member of rowing club since 2017. Every 4 weeks, I go rowing with 2 other people. I coordinate and communicate with each colleague to travel in the correct destination; I research techniques to improve my rowing technique; I communicate new ideas to improve our effectiveness at rowing.
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Baleroc
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Having described some suggestions for your CV, I want to use this post to describe the reason's why you are struggling to get a job - one of the reason's you are asking for advice. Firstly, I should suggest that my advice is just a guideline, and, really, you should talk to a career's advisor, or, one of your teachers. But let me answer your question: 1. You’re over-qualified.

Unintuitively, this may not seem obvious. When you combine the fact you have 14 A* GCSE’s, with 2 and a half years working at a charity shop, and a bunch of other experience, it is evident you are beyond the requirements for the retail job. Typically, a retail job may require a C in Maths and English – for which, you are more than qualified for. The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview, not the job. So if you aren’t getting an interview – your CV is failing you. If you are getting an interview – your CV is fine, and it is your interview technique that needs improving.

So, here’s your question: Why would I not get a job if I am over-qualified? Surely that is a GOOD thing, right?

Well, no. You see, retail jobs looking for an employee with a C in Maths and English, know the person is going to stay for a long time – perhaps 1 or 2 years – or even longer! That’s what the employer wants – they want an employee that will stay more than 6 months.

You see, being overqualified to an employer implies that you are too “good” for the job, meaning, you won’t stay very long. If Bill Gates applied to a Junior Software Development position, how long would he last? Probably not long, given his experience. You see, sometimes its because the company doesn’t believe you will stay for very long, hence rejects you because they feel you will leave quickly – while a less qualified person is more likely to stay for longer than 3 – 6 months.

  1. 2. You aren’t demonstrating you are committed


As mentioned above, employers want an employee that will last longer than 3 – 6 months. So, if you’re overqualified, its likely you will leave after a few months. Its your job, in this case, to demonstrate that you are going to be committed, and remain in the job for a long time. Ultimately, your CV needs to show the employer that you are going to stay longer than 3 – 6 months. If you don’t want to stay longer than 3 – 6 months, well, you will have a harder time getting a job in that field.

Hopefully that should allow you to understand why employers may not be giving you many opportunities in retail.
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AtypicalSloth
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(Original post by Baleroc)
Having described some suggestions for your CV, I want to use this post to describe the reason's why you are struggling to get a job - one of the reason's you are asking for advice. Firstly, I should suggest that my advice is just a guideline, and, really, you should talk to a career's advisor, or, one of your teachers. But let me answer your question: 1. You’re over-qualified.
Thanks for your advice! I hadn't originally considered the over-qualified problem, and I'll definitely follow your advice of putting more emphasis on showing commitment to staying within the role.

You mentioned that "listing" the skills wasn't a good idea, and in fairness now that I've looked over my CV again I can see I mention skills a lot without saying much to prove it. I'll definitely put more effort into giving examples in future. Hopefully that'll make the hobbies section much better too, by showing skill development from those hobbies that are actually relevant to the job.

But genuinely, thanks for taking the time out of your day to write your advice. There's a lot that you've said that I'll be able to work with, and it means a lot.
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