HR Series I – The ‘Workscape’ has Extended
I was planning to embark on a short series of posts, on this platform, all about Human Resources. And then, we started a new recruitment campaign at the hotel. For those who are regular readers of our webzine, you might be familiar with my rants on the lack of inspired candidates and other funny encounters. Well, guess what? I have more for you in store!
This time, let’s look at best practice and what recruiters may be looking at. Some of you are about to go into a life-changing experience, maybe your very first role? So I had you in mind, especially since I regularly meet your fellow students on our London campus and remotely support others from Bulle (like N.). Now, these are inspirational experiences!
Right, let’s get started. What is a ‘CV’? Response: your first and best selling tool. And you know what? You will only get one shot, so you better get it right and make it punchy. From a recruiter’s perspective now; how many CVs do you think we have to go through to find one ‘gem’? Dozens. Message to you? Stand out or we won’t see you.
Apart from trends and cultural differences (should you name it ‘CV’ or not, should you name each rubric or not..?), the basic information that we need to find (and easily please!):
• Your name (please make it clear which is your first name and which is your family name, if it is at all ambiguous)
• A valid telephone number (with country code if applicable)
• Your email address (of the professional type, not ‘Ipartyeveryweekend@drink.com’
You’re laughing? Well, we still find all these … and more.
This week, we had one with no email address and her phone number was not working.
I also received applications with attachments aptly named ‘CV’ … now how many of those will I find on my desktop? Not many, because they most probably would not have cut it that far. So please make it easy for us, feature your full name in the file name (silly, but still not that common).
More seriously (even though that was a real case, I promise), I highlighted to N. the fact that your school address will not be working soon, so please bear this in mind before you start applying. The same goes for your Swiss mobile, if you have one, or any other foreign network you may be leaving soon after your studies.
So, what about the content, you might ask. What about clearly stipulating the places where you worked? Laughing again? We just had two CVs where we had to apply guess work, or research for one of them as he told us it featured later on … seriously? Guess what. They didn’t make it! Generally, we are (also) human, and we don’t appreciate when people are taking us for a ride. Fair, isn’t it?
Whilst we’re talking about the issue of fairness, what about going straight to the point, maybe bullet points? Do you really think we have the time (and attention span) to read ‘War and Peace’ again and again? News for you: no!
If you want us to see the information, make it available and make it clear. By the way, 5 pages (oh yes, also received lately) is a little too long, or you better be stunning and deliver (I wouldn’t put the rope around my neck on that one).
Therefore, what about selling yourself? Hum, going back to that old “selling tool”. We did an interesting exercise with N.. Our Dean and I could see a strong candidate through his CV and a short exchange but, in the eyes of more conservative hoteliers (yes, there are quite a few left), he would not have stood a chance. No straight line in his career, a lot of entrepreneurship but no direct hotel experience (although trying to go for big international chains), also some blurb giving little of the important substance that was very relevant or very transferrable.
That’s when we start talking about USPs, personal branding, CSR involvement, passion … in short, what kind of substance are you made of? We just want to see YOU, get a true picture of that fabulous candidate and assess whether your brand would fit into ours or complement each other, rather! Yes, THAT simple.
“USPs”? Unique Selling Points. Of course, you are unique. Not the way your mum means it though (sorry!), but we’re looking at your unique personality, skill set, experience (even if still little), energy, ethos, passion(s) or hobbies … what makes YOU being YOU, and not someone else.
• What is Your Brand?
• What is your value proposition?
• What is your competitive advantage?
• What do you stand for?
• What is your target market(s)?
Is your ‘brand’ compatible with other ‘brands’ already in the team?
Enough food for thought? I shall write again about it, don’t worry, but there is also a not-so-subtle hint (invite) at the end of this post …
Thus to conclude, you need to show what you are bringing to the table, because we are NOT mind readers (surprised?), and the world is not just waiting for you … there is a tough market out there. Wake up and smell my coffee!
BUT you can certainly make a difference, since we keep seeing the same basic mistakes again and again from many applicants … and they still drive me to distraction (again and again)!
We will talk about interview skills next, but similar to the ‘serviscape’ (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2008), the ‘workscape’ has now extended way before you set foot in an organisation. It starts with the brochure (your ‘CV’), how you present your brand and the subsequent perception of it (how recruiters will picture you), then the consistency of your brand offline (that’s for our next post) and online (Linked In, Twitter, Facebook). Your relationship with a potential employer basically starts now!
So here you are for a little CV clinic. Fancy a (terribly) critical look at yours? Bring it on and I’ll tell you what I see.
Sources: Fitzsimmons, J. A. & Fitzsimmons, M. J. (2008). Service management: Operations, strategy, information technology. New York, NY: 7th ed. – McGraw-Hill.