Squeezing myself into 2 pages

20 Aug

Jobhunting instead of other hunting...

Jobhunting instead of other hunting...

What could I do about it… After more than 7 quite eventful months, and having gotten used to live in between 3 different houses, spreading out my undies, creams and office stuff effectively over the 3 places, the inevitable happened: I got bored!

So what to do? Before leaving to Asia, I added ‘reconsidering my (professional) life’ to my to-do list. Having worked 8 year in the same job, I think ‘I had taken the tour’ of the organization, as they say in French (seen everything there is to see). So maybe it was time to move on to new challenges?

When in Asia, it goes without saying that my little head was busy with quite some different stimuli and reflections (VIPs can read here) than thinking of ‘back home’ and even less ‘back in the office’, so why not give some attention to the job-move now that I was back’n’bored.



I had had some meetings with my job coach before, who basically did not tell me anything I didn’t know yet. I was more telling her about my plans rather than the other way around. She just made me do some funny exercises (as we do them in training courses – been there done that) while she was reading her newspaper…

Anyway: some of the conclusions were:

  • I need more recognition (for example in the shape of more money, and a colleague that I get along with)
  • I am more of a project or task oriented person, rather than a people-person (sick and tired of people’s different whims)
  • and the women’s magazine style questionnaire told me I was: creative, intellectual, executive – and when looking up that combination in the result list, I was doomed to be… a Copywriter

A good thing that I’m doing a Copywriter course to move in that direction. I love writing, blogging, rephrasing, formulating,… So I’m keeping my antennas out for anything communication-like in my job hunt. Finding job adds is quite easy in this day and age of internet – a little visit to vacature or jobat.be and you’ve got a list of apply-able vacancies.

Forcing your life into 2 pages

Writers block for those 2 pages...

Writers block for those 2 pages...

The next challenge is to do up your CV. When my jobcoach saw my oh-so-coveted Europass CV (which the EU promotes like crazy), she shattered my world when she told me ‘such a thing’ is not used (at least in Belgium). She hadn’t seen one in her 15 years of HR manager, job coach and temping agency consultant… So it turns out to be a pure Euro pass-time, rather than a Europass – only for the die-hard Europeans.

If I would want a job in Belgium, I would need to turn the 4 page nice theory of a Europass CV into a user-friendly CV adapted to what a Belgian employer would be looking for. It took me almost inhuman efforts to turn my 4 page life story to a sad looking 2 page distilled version of what I could offer.

Let's hope I'll get somewhere...

Let's hope I'll get somewhere...

I sent it around to some friends and colleagues for comments – and all of them gave completely different comments:

  • some said the job experience should be first (as it shows what I have been doing), whereas my jobcoach told me that the Belgian employers like to see the official Diploma’s first (papers papers)
  • Europass is set up to highlight all kinds of education, not only the university diplomas, but my jobcoach told me to split up between the ‘real’ education, and all the rest (non-formal education, distance education, adult education – even though I learned lots more out than in school/university)
  • In Belgium one normally puts your gender, age and marital status in the CV – whereas a UK friend was horrified when I wrote ’36 year old single male’ – for her it’s none of the employer’s business… (and I must admit, it looks like a dating advert)
  • Anyway, it seems to be like choosing a colour for your living room walls – it’s all about taste.

Here’s the results before and after: CV 2008 European Style –  CV 2009 Belgian Style

Motivating myself for motivation letters

Have I got it all ???

Have I got it all ???

But a CV is only one half of a job application – there needs to be a motivation letter with it… So I write some nice motivation letters, trying out all the tricks of the trade that we learned in the copywriter course: highlighting different parts with sub-headings, strong opening sentence to grab the reader’s attention, a call to action at the end, etc.


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