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Everyone has a story. Here’s mine.
Catriona Herron Watt, Principal,CV Saviour
19 years ago, like many Australians, I moved to London, with the savings of a couple of years in my pocket and a dream to work in a big name company while I spent my weekends and holidays travelling Europe. Plan A was to get a job that would allow me to fund my new lifestyle, allowing me to implement Plan B – a return to Australia a couple of years later where I would pick up where I left off.
Only thing is, Plan A didn’t quite work out like that immediately. Come to think of it, Plan B didn’t really come to fruition either, but that’s another story.
Despite being armed with 2 qualifications and a healthy dose of optimism, a relentless and persistent job 6-month search, meetings with over 50 recruitment agents and over 120 job applications yielded me no results whatsoever. And this was in the very early days of email and the internet so much of this was done face-to-face and by posting application after application via Royal Mail.
I was pretty much close to broke, and emotionally I was in pieces. If I’d had a return plane ticket, I would have been on that flight back without a second thought, knocking on the door of my previous employer asking for my old job back.
It was soul destroying – for so many reasons. I was homesick, lonely, socially isolated and had arrived in the UK with a total of 4 contacts. No cash coming in meant travel was out of the question, and I hadn’t realised until that point how much of ‘me’ was wrapped up in what I ‘did’ (or had done). My self-esteem was at all all-time low, and as newcomer to the English job market, I was greeted with scepticism at best (that I’d stay in the UK long enough for an employer to bother bringing me on board) and it was a tough sell-in convincing recruiters that I wasn’t just there to play harder than I’d work. One of the things that kept my spirits up was knowing that there were others worse off than me – at least I had English as my first language. Nonetheless, I kept up my search, and set about trying to work out where I was going wrong.
During that process, I contacted every recruiter I could to ask their advice, and I got every book I could on job hunting, resume writing and careers from the local library and applied everything I learnt to my ongoing job search, fine-tuning it as I went along and tailoring every application to specific employers over the coming month.
All I needed was a break, and I was desperate for someone – anyone – to give me one.
Obviously it worked, because 7 months in, I finally got that break. But I had really learnt the hard way how to get a job. Fast forward 4 years and I was on the job market again, but this time by choice and a lot wiser for my previous experience and a lot more strategic in my outlook.
I’d left my job to focus on a post-grad marketing qualification intending to use that to orchestrate a career change. I chose to take a contract role covering a maternity leave vacancy in the large marketing department of an international recruitment firm, and set about learning as much as I could about what they did, how they did it, and why, and about recruitment from the recruiters as well as the employers perspective.
As the end of my contract neared, I created my list of target employers and learnt everything I could about them. A career change at any stage is tricky, but mine seemed even stretch for me at that point, but I clearly worked that one OK because having sent out 3 very targetted job applications over that last month, I was called up for an interview with one of my target employers. The upshot of that interview was a job offer, and it was while I was working with that employer that I got the opportunity to do pro bono work with a wide range of people for whom the common thread was unemployment, and many of them were also newcomers to the UK job market with English as their second language. Along the way, I got some got some great training in recruitment and staff selection, interview techniques, onboarding staff, and of course, resume writing.
And so CV Saviour was established while I worked full-time marketing professional services.
While initially a side-project on a pro bono basis that I managed outside of work, CV Saviour grew rather rapidly through word of mouth, and I quickly acquired a lot of clients who were in the same predicament as I had been some years earlier. Others were those I worked with – many of whom had got to a point in their careers where they were questioning if there wasn’t more out there for them, or they were seeking career changes, doing post grad study or they had become ‘stuck’ in a role, unable to find the words to explain how good they were at their jobs and therefore possibly missing out on tens of thousands of $$$ in their pay packets.
It wasn’t until a return to Australia nearly 14 years later that once again, I found myself in a foreign job market with few contacts and limited job options. It was while I was searching for a full-time role, that one of my clients (who had a life-changing outcome as a result of a career move I orchestrated), asked me why I didn’t offer my service on a wider scale and get people to pay for it, and if I was so passionate about this, why wasn’t I doing what I really wanted to do as my full-time job?
It was my big ‘Aha!’ moment. CV Saviour became my full-time job.
Since then, I’ve been applying my marketing skills to marketing people for their next career moves, and helping brand and position them by giving them the tools (and access to tools) that they need to get the jobs that they want. And I’ve kept updating my skills and training continually by working with and taking training from the best of the best in the business through my professional associations.
Having walked in the shoes of many of my clients, I know exactly what it means to get a break.
I get how so much of ‘us’ is linked to what we ‘do’. I know how soul-destroying it is saying ‘unemployed’ when someone asks you what you ‘do’.
I also know that a brilliant resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter is just one small part of a wider career marketing strategy. I understand from first-hand experience that well-written, professionally presented career marketing documents can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in a pay packet, and transform someone’s self-esteem when they see who they are on paper when viewed through some else’s eyes. And it’s knowing that we can treble someone’s chances of getting to interview and halve the length of their job search that keeps the spring in my step.
So what do we do differently for our clients? We don’t just write a resume and LinkedIn profile and send you on your way. We work with you to make sure you get the result you want, and we do so until you do.
The bottom line is that your livelihood is on the line here. You make an investment in us to do a great job and get the result you need. We take the management of this investment and its outcome very seriously, not just because you need a return on that investment, it’s because that’s just what we do.
Our clients get resumes that get interviews.
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