Matt Craven not only helps working mums with interview and cv advice, but he is also a fervent believer in hiring them.
He has advertised several times on Workingmums.co.uk for freelance cv writers because, he says, it suits his business model and in November he will be running our CV Clinic at Workingmums LIVE Manchester*, Workingmums' free exhibition. “I do not have a central office and I require a niche skill set – excellent writing skills and enough senior business experience to be able to talk to a CEO about their cv,” he says. He has hired four people via Workingmums, including a man. “I very much support what Workingmums is doing,” he says.
The people his business CV and Interview Advisors have helped recently include those who have run their own businesses for several years and have fallen foul of the recession, women who have taken a career break after having children and those who are keen to switch careers. They have also done inset days at schools with people who have had to reapply for their jobs. “There are all sorts of different scenarios,” says Matt, “and our job is to help people market themselves so they can find a new job.”
He adds that it is about pitching your cv for the job you want so you need to be clear what jobs you want to go for and ensure you sell yourself appropriately. For instance, some managing directors of small companies are turned down for interviews they apply for because they are seen as being too senior, he says. “They may be managing directors, but in reality their role is probably equivalent to a business development manager in a bigger organisation,” says Matt. “It's more of a middle management role. It's all about how you present your role and your terminology. You could put sales manager [owner] on your cv. It softens it so it is not out of kilter with the role you are applying for and which suits your skills.”
Matt admits it can be hard for people who have run their own business and seen it founder to go back into the workplace. Recruiters realise that their heart might not be in it since their passion is likely to have been their business, he says. This is where coaching can help them to present a strong business case and deflect difficult questions.
He says finding a job is not just about applying for jobs that are advertised and brushing up your cv, although this is important. It is also about how you present yourself online and CV and Interview Advisors gives advice on this. Matt says a LinkedIn profile is vital, citing research showing 85% of recruiters and hiring managers check a person's LinkedIn profile. CV and Interview Advisors is running an initiative called You're Hired with the UK's leading LinkedIn specialist at the end of February. It's a seminar for freelancers, contractors and consultants to help them generate more clients and jobs using both the visible and hidden job market.
Matt says more and more recruiters are posting jobs on LinkedIn groups. He likens it to online dating, matching people with a compatible job. He says it spans all types of jobs, but is less appropriate for graduates since it is based on experience. “It's recruitment in reverse,” he says. “The job finds the candidate.”
Matt also says honing your job search by focusing on niche sites like Workingmums can help. Like several of the people he has hired through Workingmums, Matt is keen to balance work and family life, although, as a business owner, he tends to work long hours.
He has an 18-month-old child and he and his wife used to work in London. Matt started his career in sales and operations and worked in recruitment for many years, including in an investment bank.
He always harboured a desire to set up his own business so seven years ago he set up CV and Interview Advisors, which he believes is the highest quality provider in the industry, and moved to Yorkshire. Both his wife, a personal trainer, and him now get to see their son, which he says he would not have done in London – even if he admits that he sits upstairs “like a vampire” working away for 10 or 11 hours a day.
He is fortunate, though, that he works from home and can “dive down” to see his son. His cv writers and sales team of nine people also work from home. The business is run through a central management system and via conference calls and email. “There is fantastic technology attached to the website. It's very sophisticated. We all sit at our desks in remote corners of the UK, from Cornwall to West Yorkshire,” he says. “It works brilliantly and it gives all these people who would not have had the opportunity a stimulating job they can enjoy.”
* CV and Interview Advisors are holding a webinar offering in depth advice on making your CV work for you in today's competitive job market in an hour long webinar on 18th June 2012. Book your place today. To read more about what is covered in the webinar click here.