(Written in 2014 when I was looking for a job in design. This might help you guys.)
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment
-Ralph Waldo. E
I knew getting a job as a product designer was going to take me sometime. I needed help with cash flow so I can focus on my product design journey without the obstacles most go through which is cash flow.
One of the steps was to apply for a secondary job that I’d like to do to gain more experience with working with people and in a team. It will also allow me to generate cash flow to pay for the bills and expenses.
Most of all it will allow me to solve and build my own online personal brand that will be an investment for years to come.
These following steps which came from Adam Taha’s mentorship and coaching helped me achieve the first goal. I’m now a shift manager and I’m learning a great deal and working with amazing people.
It has also increased my self confidence too.
Here’s what helped me create a knock out CV…
1. BE SPECIFIC
Instead of chasing different kinds of jobs like you’re just throwing mud out there. Know what type of job that will be an asset to your product design career.
If you need help with working with people, social skills, presentation skills – then look at a job in that way.
I focused on one job and that is being a Shift Manager in a convenient store (retail position).
This allowed me to be very specific in tailoring the CV to the job. I removed a lot of distractions, because of this step.
You might be in a position that makes you feel desperate. You want to just apply for everything to make money, but I looked at it in a way Adam Taha said:
“Think about it as a way to gain new skills and focus in removing clutter to apply for one type of job. A job that will give you the confidence you want, the people skills and self awareness of what you need to learn to grow.
Forget what other people are saying in regards to what you’re doing. It’s none of their business. Just focus on the task at hand…”
That’s what I did and if it wasn’t for Adam Taha lion type of mentoring and coaching I would have been distracted. Most people just don’t get how powerful mentorship is and how a mentor can play an important role in our lives.
So be specific and focus on that one type of job because it will take effort, time, and other resources.
This is the first thing the automated system software will see and the first the recruiter or human resources will read. That’s why being specific is your most important step in adding keywords in the headline.
Your first step is getting their attention and it always starts in the Headline that says, ‘this is the value I can bring to you.’
It will also show what you don’t want.
You are the product. You need to demonstrate how you know what companies, and job recruiters look for – You got what they need.
Your headline needs to have a visual overall appeal at an emotional level.
But what do I mean by emotional?
Imagine why people buy products:
- Prestige Security
It’s the same with employers. They will be influenced by ‘what’s in it for me?’
You need to look at their reason in an emotional sense and later your CV will provide logics like qualifications, skills and experience.
Here’s what I mean by ’emotional’ from the employer’s point of view:
- Make money.
- Save money.
- Save time.
- Make work easier.
- Solve a specific problem.
- Be more competitive.
- Build relationships/an image.
- Expand business.
- Attract new customers.
- Retain existing customers
Your headline will lead with one of their most urgent needs. You’re profile section will help flesh it out in a more general sense. In advertising the headline is the first thing that gets the reader’s attention.
For example, if you’re applying for sales…
You can double your sales in the next 3 months. Your competition has…
20 years of in-depth hands-on experience in full life cycle of software development.
Blah. Boring. It hasn’t any personality.
Let’s turn it around…
SolidWorks Product Design & Not One Sick Day In The last 5 Years
3. PROFILE BIO SECTION
Your profile needs to be tailored in showing what you have to offer and what it is you want.
Be clear on what you can offer using specific keywords that come from your industry.
Your selling points need to be right at the top and later in the centre of your CV. Take your time to research exactly what it is the companies are looking for. Look for phrases and keywords.
Use specifics to give you the edge by fleshing out bio profile and leads to bullet point keywords.
Each phrase and bullet point shows why you fit the position. The Profile bio adds more meat to the value you will bring to the table in seconds.
If you have numerous years of experience then mention it by adding what it is you achieved.
Instead of writing about how you’re passionate about what you do – you demonstrate it with your track record briefly.
Here’s an example…
Highly qualified product designer with BA Honours and five years experience with SolidWorks.
It is your job not the job recruiter or the company to prove you fit the position of the job you apply. Make sure to showcase the selling points in an organised fashion.
4. BE CLEAR ON WHAT YOU DON’T WANT
One of the techniques Adam Taha shared with me is to never be afraid to mention in your profile bio what you do want – and what you don’t want.
It has to be very brief because your covering letter will explain more.
Many job seekers miss this one out due to desperately wanting to get their foot in the door. I learnt many mistakes from the Job Seekers job advisors. I’m so glad I didn’t follow their advise.
If I did I would have still be out of a job. They were telling me to kiss the companies ass. I needed to really say what I do want and what I don’t want in a professional way.
It can be done and here’s an example…
Highly qualified product designer with BA Honours and five years experience with SolidWorks. Looking to lead design projects from the initial to full cycle for a large London Based product design company.
You’re showing what you got to offer, it fits the position they are advertising and you’ve mentioned what you don’t want in a professional manner.
5. EXPERIENCE OR SKILL
(I need to update my CV like many of you guys as well- need to put my new position; Shift Manager)
Depending on what job you are going for, if it’s skill based then you want them to look at what you can do first.
You show the latest experience you have, and work your way to the previous ones. Make sure it makes sense to the headline and profile section. It’s ok if you do show some diversity but be careful you don’t lose your way.
Your experience needs to show the challenges you’ve solved, how you did them and the results.
What if you haven’t got a lot of experience?
What if the job you’re in isn’t associated with the job position you’re going for?
Don’t worry about it.
You can put your education and qualifications instead. Make your story clear in your covering letter later on.
For example I’m a product designer but I’m working as a shift manager.
I can see this as working in a shop but instead I use it to fit it with the job position:
- Decision making
- Meeting monthly targets
- Deal with any enquiries and complaints and monitor customer service
- Serve customers as needed
- Overseeing and managing workers
- Influencing and motivating workers
You’re education needs to be placed near the top if you have received a degree within the past 3-4 years. If you have graduated more than three years ago then place your education near the bottom.
Try to make your interest relevant to the job. Show your passion in that way. Even though it is at the bottom.
If you have done some community voluntary work mention it as an affiliation or leadership. If the job requires lots of people skills then your interest can demonstrate some points on this.
8. LAYOUT DESIGN
You’re creative and you might start designing a wicked arty type of layout, but I won’t start making some complicated layout. Because you want their software to read what you upload.
Make sure to check what layout and format in which you need your CV in.
Stick to the rule of thumb of just keeping your CV in a simple layout. Use your creativity in expressing how you fit the position using words.
When I was doing the degree in product design we had a module on professionalism. One of steps in the modules was about the CV. However, I saw students using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and creating logos.
They went all out with their creative flair.
Even questioned what paper to print the CV on and whether they can use texture paper or faded coloured paper. Some even did their CV on a CD cover design. They went all out.
But you don’t want to do that because you’re working against automated software systems recruiters use. You’re creativity comes in the words you use on the CV and…covering letter.
Later it will be about your portfolio when the interview happens. They might even ask to demonstrate some skills right there and then.
If you need more help then invest in Copywriting books which is all about how to write to influence people. You’ll learn about headlines and a lot more to help you write to sell yourself in an attractive manner.
Being specific all the way through your CV works. It can give you the edge that thousands of candidates won’t have. I wanted to show in a real life sense and from my own experience.
Yes, it’s not a product design job but I’m learning new skills as I apply for product design jobs.
Most of all, I’m not wasting time and leaving a large gap showing I’m not doing anything.
Instead I’m investing in my own website, gaining leadership, experience, managerial experience, customer relation experience and much more.
All of which can help with the future interview for a product design job.
It has increased my confidence and self awareness.