Having a great CV is still the best way of catching the eye in the agricultural recruitment market, as Ben Pike found out.
Everyone knows everyone in farming; that’s what we’re told.
For an industry belonging to businesses which largely exist in scantily populated pockets across the UK, it’s extremely well connected.
This personal and professional network is one of farming’s strengths, but when it comes to getting started in the industry – particularly for those who have no farming background – it is essential to make a good first impression if you want to break through. To get a job on a progressive farm or to work for a company offering services to farmers, having a brilliant curriculum vitae (CV) is paramount.
Having a colourful Facebook page, showing your enthusiasm for farming on your Twitter profile or listing your work experience on LinkedIn is not enough. Employers want to know why you will be great – not just good – at the job they are recruiting for.
Farmers Guardian spoke to a few experts about how farming’s next generation can gain a competitive advantage.
Top CV Tips
Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management, says the CV still plays a huge role in the recruitment process.
She wrote You’re Hired! How To Write A Brilliant CV but admits, in a world which is more socially connected than ever before, personalities and profiles on social media and websites, such as LinkedIn are great shop windows for recruiters. But nearly every recruiter will want to see an applicant’s CV and it is essential it makes an impression.
Here are her eight top tips:
1. Hit them between the eyes
The first four to six lines of the personal profile at the top of the CV are the most important part. All relevant experience should be detailed here. Say why you fit the criteria listed in the job description.
2. Show you can add value
Too often people write their CV from their current job description. Instead, show your experience and how you have done things well in the past. Tell the employer all the positive things you have achieved
3. Make the most of "you"
Regardless of employment history, employers will look for potential. If you’re tech-savvy, have an interest in a certain area or have volunteered to develop a certain skill, tell them about it.
4. Ask for help
There are lots of people who struggle with literacy, but the harsh reality is recruiters have no tolerance for spelling errors. Get a friend or career coach to help. Your CV must be impeccably presented
5. Don't use a photo
There are some countries, such as Germany, where companies like you to put a photo on a CV. But in the UK, don’t do it. Given the strength of anti-discrimination legislation, the protocol is not to do it
6. Use keywords
Many companies automate the first stage of applications, using software to trawl CVs to find keywords, rejecting those which do not match. Use the person specification and show how you fit it
7. You have 30 seconds
What we’ve heard about having no time to impress employers is right. If you have not shown you have the relevant experience in 30 seconds of reading time, they won’t bother with the rest of your CV
8. Send a covering letter
It’s another opportunity to sell yourself. Lots of employers will reject someone who hasn’t done it because having one shows that you’ve taken the extra time and made some effort