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Since the college, much to my surprise and horror, has reduced my lecturing hours I have been looking for extra work to make up for the income loss.

And while looking for work is hard and tricky, selling yourself is even more of a minefield. How do you stand out and be honest at the same time? How do you talk about your strengths and weaknesses without sounding too negative or too delusional. And there seems to be whole hidden language buried between the lines.

Before you send out your CV think about what it should say about you. A clean professional looking CV says so much more than a cluttered page. Structure your CV, make it easy to understand and follow. And don’t just list your abilities  but talk about your achievements as well.

Short is sweet, so when you write a cover letter stick to the rule of three, highlight three things about you that an employer will pick up on and remember. In an interview do the same. The reason for this is that we tend to remember roughly three things about any new book we read , film we see and person we meet. So think about what three things differentiate you from other candidates and own them.

One other thing most experts suggest is to make yourself familiar to the people hiring you, research them, understand what they are about and ask them questions. The simple reason behind this the fact that we react and remember things that are familiar to us. Think about songs you hear on the radio. When a song comes on that you recognise you may start to tap your foot or sing along to it – not because it is the best song, but because it is one you are familiar with.

And lastly, don’t underestimate networking, who knows who the people you know, or meet, know.

However, no matter how perfect you believe your CV to be or how much you hone your pitch, looking for work always means rejection. So don’t rely on that one job application, that one interview, keep looking and eventually – hopefully – something will open up. After all, looking for work is like a job, you have to spend time and effort on it to ultimately be successful.

 

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