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Top tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd

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Your CV has one thing to do – get you noticed by potential employers. It is the ‘door-opener’ and needs to demonstrate clearly why you are the right person for the job or the company in question.

 

This needs to be done in the most concise and targeted way possible and you need to test that it passes the seven second rule! On average if an employer doesn’t see what they want in seven seconds your chances of getting shortlisted or interview are slim to none! Get the basics right and they will read on.

Keep it to two pages

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how many courses you have done, only those that are relevant to the job should be included. This means that you will need to adapt your CV to different jobs.

Use a clear and simple layout

Fonts such as Times New Roman, Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Georgia and Helvetica are best and use 12-point font size unless you are really tight on space and then reduce to 11.

Put your name in larger font at the top of the CV. There's no need to include the word CV or Curriculum Vitae, and include your contact details underneath – email, mobile number, address if you feel you want to, and LinkedIn profile details if you are on it.

Stick to the truth

While it is tempting to stretch it a little, if you get called to an interview or references are verified, there is every chance that you will get caught out.

Your CV should have the following sections – Opening summary/professional profile, Work Experience, Education and Training, Key sSkills and Expertise, Interests and Achievements which are only needed if you are a recent graduate or school leaver.

After the Opening Summary which can be done as a paragraph or bullet points, you need to lead with your strongest section. If you have extensive relevant experience and it has been a long time since you completed your education then you are primarily selling your experience on your CV. If you are student or recent graduate then you need to focus on how your education links to the job so give details of modules, projects and any key achievements linked to your qualification.

Employers like evidence and data so when completing the section on work experience include proof of what you have achieved in the workplace and rather than giving a list of tasks and responsibilities of your past jobs tell them what competency you have demonstrated. Use action verbs to explain what you do/did. Don’t forget to include voluntary work if relevant.

In relation to education; be selective. If it’s more than 15 years since you completed your Leaving Cert then you don’t really need to include it. While you may have lots of courses done over the years only include those which are relevant to the job you are applying for. You could also consider dividing them into two sections – ‘Education & Training’ and ‘Other Training’.

Information in sections on employment and education should be listed in reverse chronological order.
If you are concerned about a gap in your CV, say for example if you have taken a year out to travel or some years out to care for family then state the years so the employer can account for the time and give a simple and short explanation of the competencies you developed during it.

Keywords are essential

This is particularly the case if the CV is being read by a computer before it ever reaches the eyes of a human resource manager, a process known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
Mirror the exact words, language and terminology, that have been used in the job description. Make it clear that you have what they are looking for.

When it comes to key skills and expertise make sure to link them directly to the job, demonstrate what you are great at and be prepared to explain your skills in interview.

The section on ‘Hobbies & Interests’ always raises questions. If you have more than seven years’ experience it’s not really relevant. Never use the word ‘hobbies’, use ‘Interests and Achievements’ instead. Give a line about each one that is useful and dynamic.

Referees

Unless you are a recent graduate or starting out in your career, employers don’t need details of referees on your CV, only if requested to do so in the job advertisement, as they won’t contact them until after interview. Always remember to ask permission of those who have agreed to provide a reference for you to include their name and contact details on the CV.

Proofread the finished product several times! There is no greater turnoff for a potential employer than seeing spelling, grammar mistakes or misprints. Get a couple of family members or friends to check it and don’t rely on spellcheck!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore & PRO of Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She can be contacted on careerfocusnow@gmail.com

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COMMUNITY AIR AMBULANCE TASKED 512 TIMES DURING 2021

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has yet to receive any sort of government funding despite being called out on 512 missions in 14 counties during 2021. Last year was the ICAA busiest year since the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance launched in July 2019. There were 490 taskings in 2020. The organisation is […]

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The Irish Community Air Ambulance has yet to receive any sort of government funding despite being called out on 512 missions in 14 counties during 2021.

Last year was the ICAA busiest year since the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance launched in July 2019. There were 490 taskings in 2020.

The organisation is Ireland’s only charity-funded HEMS Air Ambulance. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and responds to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcool, near Millstreet, in Co. Cork. Each helicopter mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated.

The CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said that they engaged with the Government and regional political leaders throughout 2021 to secure some State support for the vital service.

FUNDING

Micheál Sheridan said, “The HSE is releasing funding to private Ambulance firms to provide support during the continuing crisis yet the Irish Community Air Ambulance is still entirely funded by public donations. The increased number of taskings during 2021 show that we provide a vital service,” said Mr Sheridan.

“The cost to run the charity during 2022 is expected to be €2.1 million which is a significant amount of money to raise. We are so grateful to all our supporters who help us to bring hope to those in emergency situations but we will continue to engage with the Government to provide funding during these uncertain times.”

There were more calls to cardiac arrests, farming-related incidents and falls from heights during 2021. Cardiac arrests accounted for one in five calls with 103 taskings last year, that’s up from 81 during 2020.

July and April were the busiest months of the year for the service with 57 missions completed each month. Cork, Kerry and Tipperary accounted for the majority of taskings. The Irish Community Air Ambulance was also tasked to Clare, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Mayo, Galway, Offaly, Laois, Wicklow and Kildare.

One in every three taskings required an airlift to hospital. There were 111 transfers to Cork University Hospital during 2021 which equates to 66% of all transfers. University Hospital Limerick accounts for 20%.

TRANSFERS

Micheal Sheridan added, “There were also transfers to hospitals in Kerry, Tallaght, Galway, Temple Street, Crumlin and The Mater as we saw an increase in the number of times we were required to transfer children and young people to specialist paediatric hospitals in Dublin. We cover an area of 25,000 square kilometres and treat some of the most critically ill and injured patients, bringing them to the hospital that is best suited to their life-saving needs, not just the closest hospital geographically.”

SERIOUSLY INJURED

Diarmuid O’Donovan from Cork was seriously injured when he was thrown over the handlebars of his bike while cycling around Slea Head, Co Kerry in May 2021. He said he needed to be brought to a dedicated Trauma Centre quickly.

“A moment of carelessness saw me hit the road. I was on my own but thankfully it wasn’t long before I was found. Paramedics, a local doctor, the local Fire Service and Gardai all responded,” he explained.

“I was drifting in and out of consciousness and it quickly emerged that I needed to be at Cork University Hospital as soon as possible. I wasn’t in a suitable state for a two-and-a-half-hour journey by road so the Irish Community Air Ambulance was tasked and landed in Ventry. The journey to CUH by helicopter took just 30 minutes. I had 28 different bone breaks including my spine, shoulder and ribs as well as a punctured lung. I underwent several procedures that evening and spent 12 days in hospital. I believe it could have been far worse if I had not been transported to CUH so quickly and that my recovery has been much faster as a result.”

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Now is a good time to plan features in the garden

Now is an excellent time to have a look at your garden and plan any new beds, water features or seating areas. With relatively little growth, it is easy to take measurements and mark out where your new project will take place. There are a few things to bear in mind when planning new features. […]

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Now is an excellent time to have a look at your garden and plan any new beds, water features or seating areas.

With relatively little growth, it is easy to take measurements and mark out where your new project will take place.
There are a few things to bear in mind when planning new features. First, the practical: are there water pipes, septic tanks, gas or electricity lines etc in the way?
Or, if planning a feature where construction is required, is there access to water and electricity?
Secondly, if you are planning a new bed, what is the soil like in that area, or have you better ground elsewhere which can be exploited?
I have learned over the years that the best thing to do with an area of bad soil is to cover it with paving!
On the other hand, if you are planning a patio, should you excavate the topsoil for use elsewhere? Planning a new bed or planting area is a lot of fun, and I always think it is a good idea to take the time, close your eyes and give your imagination free reign. Consult magazines, gardening websites and social media!
Have a look at a friends’ or neighbours’ gardens for ideas.
Decide how much time you have to maintain it, and keep in mind Irish weather, commitments and other hobbies.
Often we take on gardening projects which we think, at the time, we will have time for. Say you want to commit to, for example, three hours of gardening a week – Saturday morning is the one time you have free.
Guaranteed one of those Saturdays it will rain! Then there is a morning spent mowing. Weeding will take up another few hours. Time flies, no matter what you do…and with age, I am coming to realise we have to work realistically with the free time we have. Gardening should not become a job you are forced to do.
Plan what the new area will be used for, and again, keep time in mind. Maybe a mixed area is better than a single purpose one.
What I mean by this is, you may have decided this year is the year to grow vegetables. Rather than planning out half your garden as a rotating vegetable garden, it may be better to plan out two small beds and a seating area, surrounded by an area of wildflowers.
This can then easily be converted to a larger veg garden if you feel the trial run went well, or converted entirely to a patio. In my experience, it is wise not to commit to a large scale project, especially if you are new to it.

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