Last month I worked with a client who we shall call Matt, he is a Project Manager who implements bespoke software solutions. Working closely with clients Matt takes the project from scoping in conjunction with the account management team right through to business as usual. Matt was made redundant at the end of December and decided to take a few weeks break as he had been with the company for a number of years and felt a short break with the comfort of his redundancy payout was well deserved. When Matt came to start applying for jobs (bearing in mind he had not been on the job market for a number of years), he found that his applications were going into a black hole – rarely receiving acknowledgement.
We talked through how he was applying for roles and he was covering all the usual approaches such as online applications, registering with agencies, making his CV searchable on all the large job websites and using his contacts for advice/referrals/insider information etc. I performed a review of Matt’s CV with him over the phone, pointing out the areas which weren’t adding value and also clarifying information, as it soon became clear that he was selling himself short with the information he was supplying.
At the end of the call, Matt told me he’d never had such a thorough review of his CV and that asking recruiters he was told it was OK. I pointed out that calling up already very busy recruiters for feedback might not be the best route as they are often just trying to get you off the phone so they can get on with filling roles. Also the recruiters might not have an in depth knowledge of Project Management and so wouldn’t really know where to start in teasing out the relevant information. At the end of the review, Matt explained he was very low on funds and couldn’t justify paying out for a professional CV writing service as his house was soon going to be at risk. I sensed his desperation and supplied him with some support documentation which together with his notes from the review would arm him to rewrite the CV himself. I offered to review the CV again once he had rewritten it and told him to spend some time over the weekend working on it.
On the following Monday I had another call from Matt who told me he needed to secure a job within 3 weeks and he had sat down to write his CV but was struggling to articulate himself, he decided to take the CV writing service and I promised to coach him in addition to sorting the CV. We worked together to create a fresh CV, performed a skills audit and worked through effective job application coaching.
At the start of the process, Matt was panicky and deflated – by the end (which we conducted an intense few sessions to quickly get him in a good position) he was reinvigorated and had a new found confidence in his abilities. Within hours of loading his CV online he had recruiters calling him and also started to receive call backs from the roles he applied direct to. Within a week he had 3 interviews secured, by week 2 he was on second interview stage with 2 companies and by week three he had an offer for a job he really wanted.
Matt called me to thank me and told me he was initially hesitant to engage because of his financial situation but now realised it was the best investment he had ever made towards his career.
Advice I always give to those who are between contracts or made redundant is to try job applications with your current CV and see what kind of response you get, but always set aside a budget for support services such as CV writing and don’t waste your money on services which do not understand where you are coming from. You may not need the assistance, but as Matt found out, sometimes you may just need that helping hand. The most common comment I receive from those who contact me is that they just need to get through the door of the interview and they know they will do fine, but actually getting their foot through the door is the issue.