Six months ago M posted on LinkedIn that there is a company coming to Odense. It was a secret project, we weren’t allowed to know the name of the company, but they had couple of positions open. If we were interested, we could give her a call or send her an e-mail. Only thing she could let me know was that the company was from London. So I gave her a call. Told her that I was interested and if I could send my CV to her. She was very nice and talkative and encouraged me to send my CV.
Couple of weeks later I received an e-mail from her saying that they chose someone else, but that she will keep my CV if something else comes up. I of course didn’t believe her. I mean they all say that. I honestly gave up and didn’t expect her to contact me again.
Two months later she actually did send me another e-mail informing me that this company have another position open and that she will forward my CV to them. Again I was thinking to myself “this won’t lead anywhere” and I honestly forgot about it due to me stressing about going to Oxford with EF as a course leader.
While I was in Oxford, in the middle of my students’ graduation I got a call from their HR department asking me how I was doing, that they received my CV from M and would like to invite me for an interview. I got a little bit confused, the connection was bad and I couldn’t hear him properly. I told him that I was coming back from Oxford on Monday and he asked if I could come in for an interview the day after. I of course said yes, but I wasn’t sure what time – did he say 10AM or 11AM? I went with what I thought he said “11AM”. Because of the confusion and excitement at the same time I e-mailed him and thanked him for the opportunity and that I was looking forward to my interview on Tuesday at 11PM. The guy must have thought “what is wrong with this girl?” LOL.
After traveling and three weeks of hard work in Oxford I lost my voice. Being dead tired and with no voice I went to the interview. As I already wrote, I knew very little about the company. Usually I like to prepare in advance and know everything in details, but I honestly didn’t have time. I decided to wear my new blazer from Oxford – it must bring some luck I was thinking to myself. Just be yourself Irina and everything is going to be fine. I got there and I was so surprised in a positive way. First I met one of the employers who offered me tea because of my voice. LOL. We clicked immediately and started talking about everything while we were waiting for the second one to join the interview. After he arrived I ended up being there for an hour. The interview went smoothly, it felt like I’ve known these people for a long time. We talked and talked. I honestly didn’t want to leave. It just felt right, like I belonged there. There were no questions like “what are you weaknesses and your strengths?“. It wasn’t formal. Which I loved. I was more relaxed and there was space for me to be myself and most important to be honest. In the end they are hiring me and not someone else. I don’t know everything, but I am willing to learn!
Anyway I left with a huge smile on my face. I even felt like hugging them after the interview but told myself “control yourself Irina” LOL. I’ve spend way too much time with children this summer.
Two days later I got a call from one of them asking me how my voice was doing and if I would like to join them? I was so so happy! I was jumping around – after I hung up of course!
This experience taught me that you can’t plan and control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and let life happen. I was so eager to find a job after I returned home from USA and when I finally let it all go and told myself to relax it all happened when I least expected it.
I decided to send an e-mail to one of them to ask him why they chose me and not someone else?
I was really interested to know, cause I am a newly graduate, young and with very little experience. A lot of us have been rejected because the companies are looking for experienced employees.
So this is what he replied:
When you received my CV – what did you think about it?
“I love the variety of all the elements that made you YOU. Your personality jumps right of your CV next to the fact that you are very organized ( I can tell because it takes an OCD person to know one :P)”
How come you decided to invite me for an interview?
“With the traveling and curiosity (which I think you are) that you have this will bring you a long way not in your career but also in life”.
When I was at the interview what did I do good?
“What you have done right was that you were calm and also not afraid to ask questions back rather than talk when you just has been asked a question”.
How come you chose me for the position and not someone else?
“This job role requires a personality that can switch and stay calm and you fit right in!”
This is how my CV looks like today:
There are no rules on “how to create the best CV or application“. It all depends on the culture of the company, employer and the role you are applying for. BUT it is important that it shows who YOU are. Do not do what everyone else does. Be YOU. Make it personal. Because they will in the end choose a person that fits in. If you don’t fit in it will show eventually.
This is how my CV looked like in the beginning:
What is the difference?
In the both CVs there is a flow, not too wordy and easy to read. BUT in the second one there is no “me” in it. How do I know this?
Ronnie (Head of Global Ecco Trainee Programmes at Ecco Sko A/S) a very nice lady, who I met at the career fair in Odense accepted me on LinkedIn and gave me some very good, constructive feed-back on my CV.
“I can’t see much of ‘you’ in it, other than your personal statement and much of that is up to me to determine as a recruiter. Don’t forget to include your interests, as this is a prime opportunity for potential employers to understand what ticks your boxes. Think laterally – approach it from the perspective of ‘what would an employer find interesting to know about me and what I do in my spare time’. Many candidates don’t see this as important, but, for example, by leaving it off your details, I am assuming you’re an introvert (as it’s a typically introvert thing to do!). NOT that being an introvert is bad, but I’ve already made that assumption (correctly or incorrectly)“.
She was right! I am everything else but an introvert. I talk like a waterfall, I always smile and I love meeting new people. So I decided to change that and show more of “me” in my CV. And I guess it worked 🙂 I stopped googling around and did it my own way.
I have been receiving e-mails from other graduates – how did you do it Irina? How did you get this job?
So here is some wisdom from a 26 year old, who 10 months ago never thought she would get a job:
– Do not be afraid to ask for help – be humble, but ask. You will be surprised how many professionals are willing to help you. While I was asking for help I found out that I also can help them. Suddenly it didn’t go only one way. We can all learn from each other. They know that we are new and in the end they need us as much as we need them.
– Call. Have some questions prepared and call about the position. Ask them to tell you more specifically what is it they are looking for from their new employee. It makes a difference, because they will hear you voice and remember you. That is how I got the summer job in Oxford (I called and my boss Christine Vu told me if I didn’t call, she would have forgotten about me). The same goes with MACE. I called Maria and I let her know that I was very interested. It makes a huge difference.
– When you add a professional on LinkedIn tell them why you chose to add them. Be honest. Explain your situation. Of course not everyone will accept you and help you, but it is what it is. Do not let this stop you.
Of course I got insecure and scared what is going to happen. The time is flying. So many graduates and all looking for the same. But I didn’t let my fear stand in the way and it got me here 🙂