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Jobs 1 | Getting a Job, CVs, & First Impressions! (Kuala Lumpur)


As a headhunter, I often make presentations to Hiring Authorities (HAs) at all levels of an organisation and on most occasions the HR heads. I know first impressions are important because its that make or break a possible date between the prospective employer and the prospective employee. Most often we have less than a minute to just push that window of opportunity open wide or be left with it shut tight.

Therefore I tend to use key words like a strategy to ensure the candidate has sufficient excitement, determination and most importantly tools to describe them as the best fit candidate. My goal often is not to get them the right job, but the right interviews, and let nature, faith and destiny to do its own course.

Therefore to do this, first impressions are crucial...
the "sell" (or pitch) by either me or the candidate is a do or die scenario.

Therefore, for the benefit of all reading this, I recently wrote as a reply to another thread as a reflection or analysis as pro-active approach how some headhunters, employers and hiring authorities who constantly read CVs and hire people and get/make first impressions from candidate's CV writing. [This scenario should be no different like when a lawyer reads a legal document, or an accountant/auditor reads financial documents].

The following is meant to be the prospective candidate's sell and it was written as follows:

"Easy Job" ( Protected content )
Hi there, I am looking for Job here..any one can tell me how to do it here..I am arabic fresh graduate holding master degree and can speak three languages including malay."

After reading this posting, I found it flawed, actually very flawed. The posting was puzzling and clearly without strategy. There is more negative implications than positive impressions, and that such postings should be avoided in public forums as they would do more damage to a prospective candidates, like in this instance.

Firstly, it is very important that when one talks about their career aspirations and the professional/entrepreneurial/academic pursuits, it must be shared and reflected with a high sense of dignity and pride. If you cannot believe you can be someone through your career, then you are/become generic. You risk getting irrelevant jobs or career opportunities and become meaningless, and generally feel that you have missed the boat. Therefore it is very important that your posting has to be impactful to sound like success story in the making ~ like something that you are accustomed to. Anyone who feels great about their hard work in whatever field, a sense of pride kicks in automatically. The authors posting lacked this fundamental feel. Therefore, HAs find these type of CVs not to their liking.

~ Therefore, share your Career Aspirations!

If you are unable to share your key skills, then no one is going to see the highlights of you being a fresh graduate. Surely as a fresh grad you will have skills from the academic background that can be applied to the workforce. Your degree may not be as relevant as your skills. Take me as an example: I am an Economics graduate, but in the headhunting and real estate industries simultaneously; and whilst people are puzzle how I manage two different businesses, they don't realise that both are actually 80% in common to each other because of its discipline, which in my case its Sales. Sales is a skill, and its also my skill. And when you are in the sales line, any degree you have is pretty irrelevant or redundant (except for sales degree of course). Notice that there were no skills mentioned except for languages.

~ Therefore, share your Key Skills!

Also when you sell yourself, you must highlight the "benefit/s" you are going to provide to your HAs or to your prospective employer. There is no point selling yourself as a master's degree fresh grad, when you cannot even express your key skills or exposure that is suppose to benefit the hiring authorities. Sometimes you may have a value proposition that is not understood, so a benefit orientated resume or presentation would better understand how you can be applied to the Organisation/Employer.

~ Therefore, share your Key Benefits!

Furthermore, if your sell is about you looking around for an Easy Job, it will sound and look like you are person who would not appreciate hard work. Remember a rule of thought, any one who has an easy job, is just sailing by. As such, there will be a lost opportunity cost to not having an adequate job, as you won't be moving up fast enough. With that, you will not acquire your lifestyle or assets quicker and your investment into yourself, family and children will come later in life rather than sooner.

My Economics professor Mr Richardson always reminded me in class...
"there is no such as a free lunch!"

~ Therefore, share your your Hard Work and Be Proud of it!

Enthusiasm is also an important factor. Have you noticed the choice of words the author used to make a presentation? He lacked this, in fact he could be mistaken for somebody on holiday looking for a job. (Reminder: the preceding comments are intended to be an academic exercise, so if does sound harsh, please do not take this personally, it is just for learning/academic purposes.)

~ Therefore, share your Career Enthusiasm!

So the above is what I felt about the sell. The following is a more in depth analysis, and a reflection of how HAs think. And the following is How or Why we should change the way we write or speak, especially on CV:

Have you ever spoken to a person of the opposite gender and you are saying one thing and the other is understanding you in a different way? Well in CV writing is also the same. HAs have different and diverse backgrounds and experiences, so that is natural and expected. Therefore, Good CVs only list the facts, and most often the figures too. Over the last 7 years, I have read many CVs/Resumes/Profiles from multiple industries on a daily basis, and after reading thousands of them, its easy to spot the good ones that make it easy to understand a person from paper and decide whether they cut to the shortlist, before inviting them for an interview. Therefore if your first impressions on paper or even on InterNations is not upto standard, then you're gonna have a tough time selling yourself for an opportunity. Also, have you noticed that certain professionals from different industries speak and interpret content differently? Headhunters are not spared. Here is what we understand when you say what you said:

> "holding a masters degree" as opposed to marketing/selling your degree. If you have a ,degree why are you holding it and not making use of it? The choice of words here describes a person clutching onto credentials, but not sure how to use it. Many graduates are in such a position and this needs to be corrected. A Good CV can correct this. (On a personal experience, when I graduated I wasn't too excited about collecting my degree and taking pictures with my fellow graduates, because I realised I knew exactly what I didn't know outside the classroom). Many people think that a degree propels them upward, when many actually realise that a degree is nothing more than an affirmation of your past or encapsulate your academic and prior work to date. You will hear many hiring authorities saying to employees... "okay so you have a degree, now what...? What can you do more?" Then one realises why there are so many Fresh Grads with two degrees out of a job, wonder why?

> "tell me how to do it" as opposed to "teach me how to do it". It appears here that the writer is the type of employee who needs to be told every so often what needs to be done instead of being able to take the initiative to learn and execute.

> "Looking for Job" as opposed to "searching and applying for an Opportunity". It appears here that the writer is taking a passive view of the search and not keen to make substantial approach or have a strategy or take the knowledge to execute a plan of action. If you are looking all the time, then you are not actually getting things done. Google, Wiki and even Cut and Paste has changed the worldly dynamics of knowledge gathering. I have always frown upon the term "Job", I prefer the term Opportunity, because it means you are looking to make a difference.

> "arabic fresh graduate" as opposed to say "fresh masters graduate in technology". It appears here that the writer is hung up on either religion or race has a primary cursor to choice of appearance. This can be a hurdle because in a multi-cultural environment, you do not know who the reader is going to be. If this is an Arabic country, it would be useful, but in Malaysia it is already a difficult process for foreigners, but then to state a religion/race as a primary cursor, you are actually cutting down opportunities for yourself. Employers and hiring authorities may not be interested/impressed or see it relevant. Remember being Arabic is not a skill, its a benefit derived from cultural exposure/upbringing and is always secondary. Imagine you had the skills of a tour guide for your native country, wouldn't communication, sales and marketing and PR be more important again before religion/race?

> "can speak 3 languages" as opposed as to "fluent in reading/writing the languages of... ". It appears here that the writer is unable to express what he is good with ease. What are the languages? So this is a misopportunity. However if your languages happen to be Arabic, English and Bahasa Malaysia, then you have just shot yourself in the foot, because if your English (language of the world of commerce) is not good/fluent, and you are trying to sell it. So, what on earth are you trying to achieve by selling a handicap? Furthermore, most people in Malaysia already speak 3 languages or more: English or Bahasa Malaysia (as first, and then the other as second), and then third, a colloquial language. You are expected to be the same. So what advantage are you selling? Hence why selling skills and benefits are primary importance, because 3 languages are already a common feature on this landscape.

> "including malay" as opposed to "including Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu". A very subtle issue but with great consequences: the use of the word Malay refers to a person of Malay origin and not the language. Therefore if you are well versed with the language you would already realised over the years how the language is to be presented. The use of non-capitalised "M" in "malay" shows the lack of attention to detail, and maybe a lack of understanding, but for sure, a negative impression.

Now, if a small paragraph can command a detailed discussion like this, can you imagine a who 2 page CV? So when a HA reads CVs, they are very clear in their choice of saying "No! No! No!" or "Yes! Yes! Yes!" as they read through the hundreds of CVs.

~ Therefore, First Impressions Count! Writing Strategic Counts!

The last point I wanted to share is one of attitude. Have you noticed the original posting gave the impression of the writer was looking like buying? What I mean here is this: the vast majority of candidates are in the buying mode when it comes to opportunities rather than selling mode in such cases. Buying ~ looking for opportunities vs Selling ~ offering skillsets for the right opportunity. The majority of pure top notch headhunters do not work with "buyers". We work better with "sellers". Sellers have a greater desire to conclude, execute and take action. Buyers tend to be selective, picky and particular ~ a role that is ought to be reserved for the hiring authorities, not the candidates.

~ Therefore, Sell yourself!

I leave you with one thought; what would your first impression be if the introduction above was rephrased below. What connotations and imagery pop up into the hiring authorities head? Would you think they will call the candidate in for an interview or get a positive response if it was written the following way:

"UNITEN technology specialist Masters level Graduate with skills in (choose 3 key skills you have) in search for a challenging Career Opportunity suitable for multiple industries with fluency in 3 major languages including Bahasa Malaysia and a strong understanding of Arabic culture."

.....sometimes that one paragraph is more relevant/valuable than the entire CV!

ps: many many proven professionals also make these basic mistakes and so do not feel that your CV is way behind theirs. The only advantage proven professionals have over Fresh Grads, that their track record speaks louder than the quality of the writing skill in a CV. In the last 15 years, 2 billion Generation Y people have been born on this planet, and Generation YZ is about to come into the work force soon. The competition is severe, hence the emphasis to differentiate and step out there to get the best foot through the door!

Further recommended reading on topics of:
Jobs 1 | The Pros and Cons of underselling yourself!
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Jobs 1 | So now you have the perfect CV...
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Thank you for reading this, please do share your thoughts below.
If you have the time for more reading, try this:
Jobs 2 | Taking your Career to the Next Level!
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Jobs 3 | Finding a Job in Malaysia! Why Difficult?
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I always look forward to comments and constructive opinions
or even false notions and try to reply them as quickly as I can!
Please feel free to *Connect* with me on InterNations! Cheers!
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