Submitting your CV should be considered part of your employment interview and thus be treated with the same level of professionalism and preparation. First of all there are a common misunderstanding that a resume and a CV is the same thing, it is not! CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin and means “Life history”. A CV is therefore commonly from 4 to 10 pages long as it covers ones “life history”, the CV is most commonly used in higher positions within the corporate and intellectual environment.
What is most commonly used in the Close Protection world is a Resume. A “Resume” is a really a brief introduction to your full CV. Thus in your resume you include the vital points from your CV in a short and simple manner. As the resume is a short version of your CV it should preferably be one to two pages long.
If you are using Microsoft Word as your editor then save yourself time on the layout, by simply opening Word. In the “File” tap choose “New”, from the “right panel” options choose “General Templates” and from the Templates menu choose “Other Documents”, then open “Elegant Resume” or “Professional Resume” based on your personal preference. I prefer the elegant version, but that’s just me.
The template you have opened will give you a general layout of what information should go where etc. However, when it comes to writing your details then the template cannot provide you with more than a generic description; this is where you need to be creative. Having a resume that merely looks good isn’t going to cut it, you need a resume that will be opened and read.
Don’t be lazy and just quick type your resume into the email message, there is nothing more annoying for the receiver, than having to copy and paste the information into a Word document before it can be saved. Ask yourself why should someone else do your work for you? And then ask yourself, if you think that will help you get a contract? I am sure it won’t! Most résumé’s that have been written directly into the email message gets lost in the inbox somewhere or are simply deleted.
Your Cover Letter
It always amazes me that so many applicants send their resume, with the subject line flatly saying “My CV or Resume”, and the email itself often contains no text but simply has an attached CV or Resume. How well prepared is that? The first thought a receiver will have of the person, who emailed this message will likely be something like this; “if you are that lazy when it comes to writing and delivering your resume, your work ethics is most likely just as lazy…”. After that thought they are very likely to simply press the delete button!
A CPO, who is sending out his CV or Resume, is actually asking strangers in HR positions, to either hire him or find him a close protection contract. But he does not even have the courtesy to say thank you, or please, or even introduce himself first. He is so full of arrogance that he feels everyone he sends it to, should be overly joyful that he has shown them mere humans, the honour of applying for a position with their company. Well no matter what is in that resume, it is not going to place him on top of any HR managers lists for anything; it is simply going for the deleted items bin… and I am know that I am not the only one who does that!
Therefore you need to write a cover letter, which goes with your resume that introduces you and your reasons for sending your resume. The cover letter is the key that unlocks the door for you and give the receiver a little knowledge about you, before he either deletes your message, or opens and read your resume. To not just unlock the door, but also open it, requires that your cover letter makes the receive wants to read your attached resume!
The AIDCA Approach
The AIDCA approach has been used in advertising and marketing for decades and it is still being used because it works. Your resume is your advertising brochure, aimed at selling your personal services to a CP employer; you need to approach your job applications as if it was a marketing campaign, which it is! Because, if you want to compete for the few contracts that are available for outsiders; you need to “sell” yourself and your experience and skills better than all the other applicants.
AIDCA stands for:
Attention: is what your email subject line should create. Many persons base their decision, on whether to open and read an email or ignore it, simply on what is in the subject line. So make sure it is short, direct and most of all informative.
Writing “My CV” is definitely short and direct, but it is definitely not informative and worse it is just plain rude. “Experienced & SIA Licensed CPO at Your Service” is short, direct and yet informative and much more likely to catch the attention of the receiver. Think about it, next time you compose the subject line before sending your resume by email.
Your Cover Letter, whether it is in printed form or an email message, should also use the “Attention” factor in its first “heading” and the first full paragraph. The first paragraph should ideally consist of 2-3 or max 4 lines, and basically further “bind” the reader’s attention, so that he will be compelled to read your resume and do it with a positive attitude.
So your first “heading” and paragraph have to be well composed and follow this simple and proved guideline:
o Communicate the offer – what is your purpose of the communicating and what you are offering.
o Highlight your best aspects – what are your best qualities and what makes you the ideal candidate for the job.
o Engage the reader – what do you know that is of direct relevance to the position or company you are applying with.
When your head line and opening paragraph accomplishes to deliver all three points, then the Human Resource department or receiver will open and read your resume! So put some real work into it, after all it is your economic future and security career that you are securing by adding a little extra work to your resume.
Your resume (or curriculum vitae), combined with the cover letter, are the master keys to opening the prospective employer’s mind and the company door; so that you can proceed to the next step in the process – the job interview!
Interest: this is the first “body” section of your resume, and this is the second most important part. You have to make sure it that the first two parts stimulates the interest of the reader, so that he will continue to read the rest of your CV. That means that in the interest part, you should describe your last employment relevant actions such as; a recent job function, related military background, police background of relevance, specific security operations or special training you have completed etc.
Desire: this is the third part of your resume and should describe your complete employment history in order of relevance. Always place the most relevant position first, then follow with a chronological list of your all other employment records. Always start the chronological section with the most recent position first and then backwards through time.
If your history of employment includes positions of little relevance to what you are applying for, then simply state the position, date and company/employer, do not describe what you did if it is not relevant. For all prior job positions that are of relevance, you should describe what responsibilities you had and the positive effect your involvement had. This is where you have to take some honour upon yourself, whether you like it or not. A resume is not the right place to display humbleness; unless of course you are applying to be a priest!
Basically the desire part should make the reader think positively about having you and your skills in their company and how they would benefit from that; you need to make them desire to have you working for them!
Conviction: this is the part where you include your references, your written recommendations, your accomplishments and any merits and medals you have received. Provide full contact details for at least two people, who hold positions of relevance and are ready to vouch for you, and recommend you to the new employer. Make sure the referee, is a person that would himself hire you again if needs be. There is a standard “coy” question all human resource managers ask… “Well that sounds fine, so you would be happy to have him work for you again tomorrow?” “Eeeh… well no because we did not get along that well and his work ethics are different than mine eeeehhh so…” And that is all the HR manager needs to dump your application in the waste bin. Make sure you only provide the referees that were happy with your performance!
When reading this part of your resume, the reader should feel confident that everything you have stated so far is correct, and that you are indeed a competent and highly trustworthy individual, whom the reader would be lucky to employ before someone else gets you.
Action: the final part of your resume, this is where you should include an “action trigger” that will compel the reader to contact you for a conversation or to schedule an interview. Therefore this part has to be specific about when you will be available and how to best contact you. A lot of CPO’s who sends out their resume, only place their contact details at the top; which is a good place to have it, but you have to repeat the contact details again in this part and with a prompt, to contact you today.
One way to get the reader to take action and contact you are to include a specific date and time, which you are planning a visit with them for an interview. “As you have seen in my resume then I have the necessary skills and experience that your company needs and would therefore like to present myself for a proper employment interview. I will be in your area/city on Wednesday next week and will call on you at 10 am, if that suits your schedule.”
With a direct and timed call like that, the reader will have to get back to you, even if he does not want to or are not capable of meeting you at that time. This response gives you an extra opportunity, for communicating with the reader. Just make sure that you are ready and able to keep the appointment yourself!
Now print this message and read it again; then sit down and rewrite your resume using the basic guideline included in this message and then go and apply with those companies that have not employed you yet. Don’t be concerned about sending your resume to the same company again; just include in the description line that this is your updated resume. Send it every three to four months, and within a year they will remember your name even if they have not had any positions for you yet. Being known and remembered is a key to getting employed. In many sectors of the private security industry it is not “What you know but who you know, that gets you a job”. So get known by repeated communications, but don’t stalk them!
My last resume advice is these ten points, which are wise to remember when writing your resume.
- Keep it focused and businesslike
More than two pages is to much for a resume
Check the grammar and try to get the punctuations right, always remember to spell check and have someone read it over for you
Keep the resume relevant to the specific company or position
Make sure it looks good and reads well, have “white” space in it, that mean empty space and not a page that is filled from edge to edge.
Make sure you describe what you can do today, not only past skills but also what you are presently learning
Be honest; self advertising is good, but exaggerations are not
Follow any specific instructions if required by the company you are applying to, for both the format and content
Make sure your resume is received, specify the receiver and follow up with further emails or even better a phone call
Use a cover letter and keep it short and focused on catching the attention of the reader
Good luck with your job hunting! If you need ideas about where to seek your next foreign close protection contract, then read my last EzineArticles.com article; Close Protection Versus Crime in Mexico.