Collins McNicholas

Top 10 Phrases to Avoid on Your CV and What to Write Instead

Top 10 Phrases to Avoid on Your CV and What to Write InsteadA study conducted by the New College of Humanities in 2015 reveals that on average, recruiters make their mind up about a CV in less than 60 seconds. While they spend on average only three minutes and 14 seconds reviewing an application. These findings come after researchers interviewed over 860 recruiters, 20% of which have admitted to discarding a CV before they finish reading it. However, don’t let this information dampen your spirits, as the main reasons for a recruiter’s lack of interest in applications, and tips on how to make your CV stand out from the crowd are discussed below. The study found that the biggest turn off for employers when reviewing CVs are typos and grammatical errors. Followed in second place by the use of an overly casual tone, this includes using terms such as ‘you guys’ or signing off an email with ‘cheers’. Other turn offs include using jargon and clichéd quotes. The research identified the top ten most over used phrases most likely to put employers off potential employees: Can work independently Hard worker Work well under pressure Good communicator Enthusiastic Team player Good listener Excellent written communication skills Proactive Problem solver According to Mary Lorenz from CareerBuilder, the problem with using buzzwords, is that they have become so overused that they have lost all meaning, and don’t differentiate the applicant from other candidates. It is advised that job seekers should speak in terms of accomplishments, show the employer their qualities rather than just tell them. In order to stand out from the crowd, an applicant should avoid the use of overused phrases, and alternatively display examples of their achievements. Words such as ‘achieved’, ‘managed’, ‘launched’ and ‘improved’ can clearly and accurately describe what you have previously accomplished. By doing this, it will become obvious to hiring managers that you possess many of the above qualities, without you ever mentioning them!           Mark Whelan Recruitment Consultant Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services...

Read More

I was horrified to learn I am paid less than male colleagues – how do I reduce the gap?

Question: With all the talk about the gender pay gap in the news recently, I started to wonder if my pay was on a par with my male colleagues so I did a bit of asking around. I was horrified to find out that not only was my pay substantially less than my male counterparts, it was also fairly significantly less than one more junior male member of my team – a person who I manage. I have found it hard to bite my tongue, but I have no idea how to tackle the issue as we do not have pay scales in work and I only found out the differences as I started asking. How should I broach this with my boss? Answer: I can imagine this was a great shock and I would hope that, in this day and age, you are in a minority as many companies have started to address gender pay differences and are being proactive in ensuring that pay scales are in place. There should be no discrepancies between male and female workers in the same role and I would suggest all companies review pay to ensure there are no obvious gaps. The safest way is to tie in pay scales directly to market value for the role at hand, which leaves a narrow range for negotiation and addresses unfair pay gaps. Organisations should conduct annual pay-equity analysis to ensure pay is in line with relevant variables such as market value, employee experience, annual performance reviews, etc. Some companies are introducing total ‘pay transparency’, which allows everyone to be aware of what their...

Read More

Guest Blog: Mid-West Relocation – Limerick’s Donegal Catch

LAST May, I was boarding my transatlantic flight at Shannon Airport. It was a busy morning, three of the metal detectors were open, and two people in front of me as we arrived at security. We each had a metal detector! And woosh I was through security – This sums up the “mid-west experience”. Welcome to Limerick, my adopted home! Not everyone is looking to “move back” to limerick and the surrounding area. Some of us, the “blow-ins”, have moved here purely for better opportunities, socially and financially, and so far, we are thriving! I left Donegal in 1995. I came down here to go to University. I completed my Physics degree and ultimately my Doctorate. I thought that I would move onto other things and other places, but as opportunity lead to opportunity, I’ve chosen to stay and avail of those opportunities. I have seen the city undergo a huge, yet silent, transformation. You would expect me to be working in a multinational, but I don’t. I’m working for one of the many smaller high technology companies that cluster around Limerick. We float under the radar. We don’t make the headlines, but we punch above our weight. Many of “us” work with some of the leading fortune 500 companies. There’s a whole community here of companies, big and small, and we exchange ideas, tips and coffees. We meet each other on flights to the US, Europe and beyond. From this part of the world we can support Asia in the mornings, straight through to California in evenings. And, more important, I don’t dread the eight-minute commute home if...

Read More

I’m worried about how I’m going to make my mark as a young first-time Team Leader

Question: I’m in my early 30s and nearly 10 years into a successful IT career. I’ve recently been given the responsibility of managing a team of junior staff. If all goes well, I’ll be offered an official management role. However, this is my first time taking any kind of team leader responsibility and I’m worried about taking on such a big responsibility. I’m determined to be a good mentor and a strong team leader but I don’t know where to start. How can I approach this new role and start off on a strong note? Answer: First of all, congratulations. It is great to hear that you understand the gravity of the change that you will be undertaking in your role. High-potential individuals, having displayed exceptional skill in their role, are often promoted to the very different position of team leader or manager. While seen as a natural “next step”, the skills required in managing people are often very different to the qualities and actions required in the day-to-day role. For example, delegation, empathy, planning, negotiation may all be demanded daily of a team leader. In order to approach the role with confidence, take some time to think about how you are going to approach this new opportunity. Here are some items that you should consider. 1. Examine the key characteristics or skills of a leader or manager you respect or admire Take some time to contemplate the qualities and actions of a current or former leader, which you have seen as being particularly effective. Focus on the areas that you believe makes them successful, rather than just what makes them...

Read More

My exciting new job has let me down, so how do I make it challenging and fulfilling?

Question: I left my job with a software company six months ago to take on a more senior role with another firm. The job spec was promising and after the interview it seemed like a company I would have been excited to join. The salary is reasonably high and I don’t have to commute as far. However, I hardly have any work to do. The team I manage is bright, hard-working and keen to take on more challenges. I’ve suggested projects to my employer and he has turned them down. How can I push to find more work and do what they hired me to do? Answer: Feeling underappreciated and under-utilised in your role can be very difficult and frustrating, particularly having moved from what appears to have been a fulfilling role. While it seems that you have isolated boredom and lack of challenge as the key issues here, you must delve a little deeper to consider all aspects of the role and organisation. If your role was to change, would the culture of the organisation still be an issue? If you were given a higher volume of work, would the reporting structure and your level of autonomy be an issue? A career coach can help you think through your situation. Alternatively, take time out alone with a notepad and create a “pros and cons” list. This may help you to appreciate the aspects of the role, organisation and team you enjoy but also isolate the areas that are more difficult or mundane. Request a conversation with your manager to discuss your expectations of the role and organisation from...

Read More

It feels like the time to spread my wings, but should I heed fears about the role on offer?

Question: I am a senior manager in the medtech industry and, after 20 years with my current company, I feel it is time to seek new challenges. I’ve been for several interviews and I’ve been offered the perfect role with another firm. But I am concerned, as I heard the last person in the role damaged staff morale and several team members left as a result. Should I accept the position despite this? How can I go into this new role and invoke a positive working environment for everyone? Answer: Making a change in your work life is a difficult and brave decision to take at any point in your career development. You should balance both your feelings for your current role, as well as the potential development beyond. While you might have heard rumours about your potential new role and the state of morale, there are other things that you need to consider before you even tackle that issue. Be sure about the move for your own reasons first and then you can look forward to how you might address any internal issues. Here are a few things you should consider before deciding if this is the role for you. 1 The organisation Have you looked at the overall structure and culture of the company? The organisation’s position and reputation in the market should be taken into consideration. How does this match with your expectations for your career? Are their ethics, the product or service they provide as well as their ideology in keeping with your outlook? 2. Role content How would you prefer to spend your time...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – Managing Your Job Campaign

Jobseekers Guide – Managing Your Job Campaign What is a job search campaign? A job search campaign is a structured and consistently employed plan to promote a positive self image and enhance your career opportunities. Key Steps in a Job Search Campaign: • Apply yourself fully to your job search campaign; your job now is to get a new job • Research the market, evaluate possible options and opportunities. • Generate a list of companies to target in your region and research how to target these companies. • Set daily, weekly and monthly targets. • Organise your job search and establish an efficient record keeping system. Succeeding in Today’s Job Market Over half of vacancies are filled without being advertised, this is what is known as the Hidden Job Market. There are many different routes to market, both advertised and hidden: Routes to market 1. Recruitment Agencies Select agencies that best suit your needs. It is important to build a relationship with the recruiter. The onus lies with you to keep in contact with the agency and to follow up regularly. Try and arrange a meeting with the agency and treat it as an interview. Continue to review websites for suitable positions, and if you locate a position that is of interest to you discuss this role with your recruiter and seek their advice. 2. Start Networking Networking events include; Open Coffee Mornings, Chamber of Commerce Meetings, College Seminars, public networking events at local sports / communities / parishes, etc. It is vital to use these opportunities and to be proactive while attending. Attending networking events gives you the opportunity to...

Read More

Will passing up a promotion when my children were younger ruin my chances this time?

Question: I am trying to move up in my career but am worried past decisions may come back to haunt me. Five years ago, when my two children were quite young, I passed up a promotion as it would have meant working longer hours. The same position has opened up again recently and I now feel ready to take on this role. I am worried that because I refused in the past, I will be passed up by my employer this time. How do I approach going for this promotion? Answer: Try not to worry as it is unlikely your previous refusal of the role will impact your career path at this stage. There is no doubt that your choice to prioritise your home life in the past should not be held against you in this process. Under the Employment Equality Acts, your organisation must not discriminate against you on the grounds of family status. This means that, all things being equal between your application and that of another candidate, legally your organisation cannot choose another candidate above you on the basis that you have a family. However, be careful not to let your concern impact your application negatively as this will result in you approaching the process in a more negative light. It can often happen that more experienced candidates are so concerned with a potential difficulty – such as the possibility of being discriminated against because of their age – that they fail to communicate their competency for, and their genuine interest in, the role to the best of their ability. Focus instead on preparing your application...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – Interview Tips

Introduction “You only get one chance to make a first impression” First impressions do count, and research has shown that the average person can make up their minds about somebody within the first 30 seconds! A job interview is no different. Preparation, presentation and attitude are the key ingredients to be successful. What to Expect? From the employer’s perspective, the purpose of the interview is to evaluate you and your capabilities, to assess your ability to contribute to the organisation and to see how well you might fit into the organisation. The Stages of an Interview There are 4 stages in a typical job interview: • Breaking the ice – introductions and ‘chitchat’ designed to help you relax and feel comfortable. • Exchanging information – questions that focus on the organisation, the job and your interest in both. • Expanding the focus – specific questions about you and how well you will be able to do the job. • Wrapping up – time for clarifying, asking questions and final comments. Interview Preparation Preparing yourself properly for an interview will help you relax and give you the confidence to answer tough questions. Thorough preparation will dramatically improve your chances of getting the job. Research the Company & the Role Firstly make sure you read through the job description carefully. If you are dealing with a recruitment consultant they should also be able to tell you about the company you are going to see, and about the person who is interviewing you. You should also conduct your own background research on the firm and the individuals you are meeting. You will...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – CV’s

WRITING YOUR CURRICULUM VITAE What is the purpose of a CV?  A CV is the first thing you think of when applying for a job, and people often wonder what an employer looks for in a good one. Your CV gives you the chance to tell the employer all about yourself and what you have achieved before you even met them. It is important to structure it carefully and include relevant detail. Here are our tips. YOUR CV SHOULD BE: Clear – organised and clearly presented. Concise – not too long and not too short – just get the message across. Consistent – all formatted in the same manner, using the same fonts Complete – tailored to the industry in question – all information must be relevant Current – CV must be fully up to date THE STRUCTURE OF A CV CVs are made up of a number of different sections that contain different kinds of information: Personal Information Your full name, full address, telephone numbers (home and mobile) and email address. Some people also include their place of birth, age, gender and a photograph – but these are optional. Personal Profile (Optional) Include a brief paragraph that gives the employer an insight into your personal qualities, skills and experience. This need only be about 3-4 lines. Education List your academic history in reverse chronological order, include dates, names of colleges/institutions and location. Subjects and examination results should be included if they are directly relevant to the position to which you are applying. You can also include memberships of professional bodies here. Further Training (if appropriate) Depending on your...

Read More