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» TMO Talk » Life » Career Opportunities (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Career Opportunities
Waynster

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So, February 2009 is already upon on, and while many of you look forward to parenthood and lovely other things to make your futures bright, some of us are a bit stuck to say the least and have a slightly less cheery outlook - not that I am trying to put a downer or bait for sympathy for you who have blessings on the way, I'm very happy for all of you. But I'm not the sort to mope around and regret my current state of affairs, or put it down to bad luck - I'm a firm believer in that you make your own luck - I'm here to ask a little help from my many learned friends that make up this here community.

The cloud hanging over me is my current unemployment, and whilst the media would have us believe the world is firmly going down the toilet, there are still a lot of people hiring staff. For those that don't know, my specialism is IT, andd the market is still fairly buoyant, allthough my particular specialisation (iSeries - a system manufactured by IBM) is stagnant, and what few vacancies do arise are attacked like a flock of sparrows around a crust of bread, so I am usually beaten off by younger, cheaper and more fluent in Dutch-speaking candidates.

I am frequently not even getting past the application stage, with some agencies not even acknowledging my CV has been looked at - I did work as a recruitment consultant back in the 90's and I think my CV's are often what is technically reffered to as DIF'd (Dumped in Filing). Now I did learn back then how to write a CV, but I am thinking now maybe times have changed, and thus my CV needs an overhaul.

My first observation about it that it is 7 pages long - this is due to me having worked at many places, predominantly as a contractor - and I guess both these factors tend to put people off at first glance. Do you think less is definately more in this case? I think it is important to describe my duties at various clients as this may bring relevance to the role I am applying for, but what I often get is agencies asking what relevat experience I have for a particular role and me reffering them to a certain page where it is clearly stated, another reason why I am sure it is not read correctly.

I'm also concerned that the relevant technical skills (listed after the job experiences) are even looked at, and wonder if these would be best put on the first page? I guess even better would be if any of you have a template for what makes a good CV, especially for the UK and Dutch markets.

But away from the CV, I also realise that it might be time to find a new job - something different - now whilst that may be in or possibly out of IT I don't yet know, but I think having been pigeon-holed in the same job for more or less 20 years might prove a problem, even though I have vast experience in Finance *, Insurance *, Automotive, Aerospace, Pharmaceutical and FMCG industries amongst others, I wonder if that would carry me into possibly a new career in those fields?

(* note these industries bore the shit out of me so I doubt I could find anything remotely interesting in them)

Personal circumstances (as I have briefly mentioned before) mean I need to find a job pronto, as I have a very special person moving from the States in April to come and live with me, so to avoid her getting deported after a few weeks, I need to do everything by the book and before the Dutch Immigration Service will consider her application, as a sponsor I need to have a job.

I guess all it is, is that apart from a short spell in the 90's I have done nothing else apart from IT support, so I'm wondering how easy it is to move into something new, and what you would suggest to doing to approach a particular company about working for them in a particular role. I wonder how a CV should be structured to show I have a lot of valid experience in many fields, but not be over complicated in such a manner as I am branded an IT monkey for life.

Oh and if you want there is an online version of my CV here - if you have a few minutes I'd appreciate any constructive criticism that I hope may help me find a nice new career.

Thanks TMO.

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Noli nothis permittere te terere

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Thorn Davis

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I've never applied for an IT job and things may be very different in that industry, but if you're looking to break out of that, I'd definitely try and get your CV down to two pages. I'm not all that suprised that agencies especially aren't reading it all through.

It might be worth having different CVs for different types of job - something like this might work for an IT role if you want to get into something to pay the bills and to make sure your special lady friend can get into the country.

If you're looking to go into something different, you'll need a totally different CV - and for it to be much shorter. I've changed career direction a couple of times and the trick is to pull out the stuff that's relevant to the new job you're going for. So if you want to be account director at VaaajHoefer, Holland's most exciting new media agency, you comb your CV for examples of where you've had to report to clients, manage a team, come up with creative solutions, and then leave out the rest of the role, even if what you're describing was only a tiny part of what you were doing in that instance.

If you want a change it's really about pulling together shreds of experience from otherwise irrelevant jobs and weaving it into something convincing.

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Physic
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At first glance my advice would be to put the bullet-pointed skills list before the employment history on the front page, as far as I'm aware general guidelines are to make sure the most important points are on the first page so that they actually get seen, and then no more than another couple of pages of more detailed information (employment, possibly courses although I think experience is more important to show than training).

With jobs it's generally suggested that you only cover the last 2 or 3 I think, or to cover no more than about 5-10 years, whichever better suits your employment history. Most employers are more interested in your more recent experiences than in what you were doing 15 years ago, as anything you were doing back then you may well be very rusty in now.

Main thing is to cover the important stuff on the front page though, if I'm reviewing CV's I've normally got a fair idea of whether think a candidate is worth pursuing by the time I've read the first page.

I really need to get my CV up to date actually...

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Tilde
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Fuck me, I have no idea but just looking at all the information on your CV makes me want to turn off the computer and go and have a lie down.

I spent ages tweaking my CV over christmas and now I'm well happy with it. (my previous cv still had my GCSE results listed in prime position.

I reckon two pages is a good number to aim for.

Maybe you could cut some of the older stuff out, or at least trim down the details.

For example - the first entry under Career History is a BIG block of text, I reckon halve it at least or as physic says present it in a more concise, easier to read way.

People who read these things have to read lots all at once so it needs to grab their attention straight away on the initial skim through when they pick it up.

[ 03.02.2009, 11:31: Message edited by: Tilde ]

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dang65
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Yeah, what they said. Chop away like mad, put a simple list of the skills you are really confident with at the top, perhaps with number of years experience - HTML (12 years), SQL Server (8 years) etc. I've got most my old jobs down to a line or two description, with a paragraph or two for the most recent ones, and a couple dumped completely if they weren't all that.

I've also ditched my education section as it's entirely irrelevant now, and my personal interests sectionas I think that's more for people who are just starting out and don't have much work experience to write about.

The last few interviews I've done have made little or no reference to my CV anyway.

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Waynster

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Thanks for the input people - as I thought the length is the main problem and I should instead concentrate on the girth as it were.

Inspired somewhat by it all I've just gone and got ink for the printer, stamps and some envelopes and I think tonight I'll re-write the CV as per your suggestions, then select 10 major employers here in Amsterdam (I have a couple in mind) and write open solicitations to them. I'll include a copy of my last glowing reference as well for good measure, and at the same time make sure they are hiring so as to avoid the usual knock-backs due to the current climate.

Thanks again for all your valuable help

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Noli nothis permittere te terere

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ralph

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Good luck, Wayne.
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mart
Wearing nothing but a smile
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If you need it proofread and checked for spelling, grammar, and so on, drop me a line.
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herbs

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Oh, and make sure your covering letter is totally focused on that particular job and company. As if you've never even considered working anywhere else. Re-iterate the bits from your CV particularly relevant. If all else fails, sexual favours.
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mart
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No, just proofreading, sorry.
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Waynster

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Ok so I have condensed it right down to just over 2 pages but still managing I hope to get just about everything in, plus sell myself a bit better. I've sent it to a couple of lucky moonies who said they would give it the once over (well at least I keep trying to send it to one but the two addresses I have are no longer valid - Mart - can you mail me at mytmoid at the gmail thingy dot com?)

Next step is to start writing the applications - find 10 companies that are a) Hiring and b) local so I can maybe find something new.

Doing it this way is like being 18 all over again....

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Noli nothis permittere te terere

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Darryn.R
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Money seems tight here at the moment, salaries are taking a right tumble so you need to have a think about the minimum you can accept in order to get you off the rock and earning so you can be the sponsor if you want to do that.

You must have a monthly income that is equal to or more than the relevant standard of social security benefit for families laid down by the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the Dutch Work and Benefit Act (Wet werk en bijstand or Wwb).

The standard amount is a net amount (including holiday allowance).
For the purpose of family formation, your monthly income must be equal to or more than 120% of the relevant standard as laid down by the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the Dutch Minimum Wage Act (Wet Minimumloon). The amounts are set out in the table below (volgende tabel).

And that's pretty low...

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my own brother a god dam shit sucking vampire!!! you wait till mum finds out buddy!


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Waynster

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Ta for that Darryn - need to get on the case with that soon as well (else its a trip home or somewhere else outside of the Schengen agreement every 3 months until we can get it sorted)

Managed to write five personal applications today which are sitting here ready to go out, and I think I will be aiming for another 5 a day until something comes up, though its not easy finding people who are hiring just now - I think I mailed the top five recruiters at the moment, and I am just hoping that going through their HR departments will get me noticed. Fingers crossed something comes back soon

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Noli nothis permittere te terere

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London

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On the job front, what's the deal with getting a reference that you can just keep on file to send out to people? I've always just let new employers ask the old ones for the references, but in my last job I worked with this guy who is apparently a big cheese in the "industry" and I would really like to have had a reference from him as I know he liked my work. (He left before I did, so I had no need of a reference at the time.) Anyway. Is it ok to just ask someone for a reference, even if you are not looking for work at that precise moment, just to keep on file for future job applications? Or are they meant to be 'secret' or something?
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dang65
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I'm not sure about etiquette [in any situation, let alone this one], but I think most employers would expect to get references direct from the referee. Most the time, in my line of work at least, the reference is more about checking that you are legit and will turn up for work each day, rather than going into any detail about skills or personality. Most of my references just come from the HR office of the company and are very formal - "We can confirm that dang65 worked for us from Jan 2007 - June 2008." End of story.

More personal stuff might be requested when you are just starting out and don't have an employment history worth mentioning.

It might be different with other careers, but I don't think that passing on a saved reference would be acceptable normally.

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Black Mask

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Still no Waynster, then..?

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sweet

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New Way Of Decay

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London. Because I have worked for some particularly rubbish pricks I usually keep in contact with the best people to work for. On my CV I always state 'references on request' so that it gets to the point where they want a reference, I contact the person in advance and let them know they're in for an unsolicited call. For example, when I move on from this role, I will probably ask my last boss of our department to do the reference because I know he'll splice it with a load of 'pleasure to work with's 'oustandinding commitment's 'exemplary customer focus's's's while my current one will confirm I showed up for work and that's if I beg.

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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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Physic
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From what I've been told in recent times, companies (and presumably referees in general)aren't allowed to actually comment on whether you were a good member of staff or had any kind of disciplinaries these days anyway. Apparently pretty much all they can do is confirm that you worked there and what your job description was, that kind of thing, nothing that can be considered at all prejudicial.
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New Way Of Decay

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quote:
Originally posted by Physic:
From what I've been told in recent times, companies (and presumably referees in general)aren't allowed to actually comment on whether you were a good member of staff or had any kind of disciplinaries these days anyway. Apparently pretty much all they can do is confirm that you worked there and what your job description was, that kind of thing, nothing that can be considered at all prejudicial.

Well that's exactly right, but compare a 'good' reference

quote:
I can safely say that it;s been a pleasure working with Rob Van Terencephysic. Never a day has gone by where Rob hasn't contributed to his workload with aplomb and zealous fury. His colleagues have nothing but praise for his contributions and lovely sparkling bonce and it's with a heavy heart that we saw him leave. One woman cried, tore her blouse and fainted. We wish him all the best for the future and have no doubt he will be a valuable asset to your company. Plus his cock's huge!
and

quote:
We can confirm that Mr Van Terencephysic worked here for the periods of blem and varnum. In this time Mr Van Terencephysic has had an acceptable attendence record.


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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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Thorn Davis

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quote:
Originally posted by Physic:
From what I've been told in recent times, companies (and presumably referees in general)aren't allowed to actually comment on whether you were a good member of staff or had any kind of disciplinaries these days anyway. Apparently pretty much all they can do is confirm that you worked there and what your job description was, that kind of thing, nothing that can be considered at all prejudicial.

Yeah, that's becoming an increasingly common policy. There's one guy I know who'll always give me a glowing reference, as he doesn't work for the company any more, but an increasing number of organisations are only willing to admit that you worked there, and nothing more - good or bad. There's been a couple of situations where places have been sued for giving a bad reference
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MiscellaneousFiles

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I've just spent ten minutes watching CCTV footage of our night shift security guard getting super pissed on super strength lager and gin, trashing his desk, locking himself out of the building, then after realizing his mistake trying to smash his way back in, before being dragged away by four police officers.

9/10

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Physic
Digital PIMP !
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quote:
Originally posted by MiscellaneousFiles:
I've just spent ten minutes watching CCTV footage of our night shift security guard getting super pissed on super strength lager and gin, trashing his desk, locking himself out of the building, then after realizing his mistake trying to smash his way back in, before being dragged away by four police officers.

9/10

Any chance of putting it on You Tube? [Smile]
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dang65
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YouTube link please? Pleeease.
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Physic
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quote:
Originally posted by New Way Of Decay:
Rob Van Terencephysic

If I ever write a book I am so using that as my nom de plume [Smile]
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MiscellaneousFiles

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I'd love to youtube it, but I don't know how to get the footage from the front desk to a computer. There's some kind of control system with a joystick but after that it's just wires into the wall.

One of the highlights was when he got a phonecall that obviously annoyed him greatly, causing him to throw the phone handset at the desk. It sprang back awkwardly and hit him in the face, which I think is what must've kicked off the desk trashing. Then he just laid across the desk and flailed his arms about for a while. It looked even more impressive in FF Benny Hill mode.

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Deep Freeze
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I was just asked if everything is alright at home.
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dang65
it's all the rage
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quote:
Originally posted by MiscellaneousFiles:
I'd love to youtube it, but I don't know how to get the footage from the front desk to a computer. There's some kind of control system with a joystick but after that it's just wires into the wall.

Just point your own camera at the monitor screen. Then you can include the FF value as well.

No pressure though. Just do it whenever you get a spare minute.

* taps fingers on desk *

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Tilde
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That's a bad sign. [Frown]
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dang65
it's all the rage
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quote:
Originally posted by Deep Freeze:
I was just asked if everything is alright at home.

I think I'll go round the office here and ask a few people the same question. Bound to turn up some interesting responses.
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New Way Of Decay

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quote:
Originally posted by Deep Freeze:
I was just asked if everything is alright at home.

By who though? If it's your mum, then that could say something. Concern perhaps. If it's your boss it's just because you've started rocking a look not unlike Joaquin Phoenix. Giant bloody bumble beard. Skewiff hairdo. Obsession with gangsta rap.

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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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New Way Of Decay

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Pull your fucking fashion socks up benway for fucks sake.

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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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Deep Freeze
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the director of the group, after a meeting said she needed a couple of minutes and then asked if everything was alright at home. I just said yeah, because it is. Still. Weird.
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New Way Of Decay

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I'm not kidding. It's probably because you look different. You can convince yourself you live in a modern free thinking world but in the eyes of the narrow minded, you're probably a freak who's losing control on his grip on sanity. One day you might just hurl your DS through the window and hurtle down onto the grey, smooth warm tarmac in the summer sun. Everyone will stand around and your boss will nod in self-reassurance 'as soon as he grew the beard, that was when I knew the troubles at home started'

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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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New Way Of Decay

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Do you remember that Steve? Fucking fruitcake he was. Started out neat and tidy. Looked like the unibomber in the end days.

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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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Ringo

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To be fair, if you regularly look how you looked in that picture you posted, you are probably sending out signals that you're the type of person who has filled his home with carrier bags of his own shit.
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