2 CV’s or not 2 CV’s.


That is the question…

Over the course of 2016, we have been providing outplacement support for an increasing number of people who have found themselves being made redundant.

Typically we provide support to help them understand their behavioural strengths using a tool such as Belbin Team Roles, DiSC or 16PF5. We also help with areas such as CV development, job search and improving their interview technique.

One of the most common areas where there can be significant room for improvement is through the customisation of the persons CV to suit a particular role.

With increasing volumes of high quality applicants in the local market, candidates need to do everything they can to stand out from the crowd. And if their CV is not directly aligned to the role they are applying for (and some other applicants CV’s are) then there is only one likely outcome…

“Dear Sir / Madam…on this occasion your application has been unsuccessful, as we received a number of applications more suited to the role…”

Or words to that effect.

A single, generic, one-size-fits-all CV isn’t good enough just now. As an applicant, if you want to have a real chance of being called for interview, you must tailor your CV to the role for which you are applying.

And it’s not just about tailoring your CV – you must, and I mean MUST, sell yourself effectively.

Let me give you an example;

I have recently been providing 1 to 1 outplacement support for a Director of a large Oil Operator. His CV was already very good and didn’t need that much work. But in a tough job market, very good isn’t always good enough; as marketing guru Seth Godin says – very good is the enemy of excellent.

So, with some fine tuning and placing more emphasis on communicating tangible outcomes and results, not just responsibilities, we helped him turn this;

  • Overseeing offshore core maintenance and maintenance project workscopes
  • Performance Management of Technical Integrity KPI’s.
  • Responsible for team of Onshore Engineers and Offshore staff / contract teams.
  • Management of annual budget.

Into this;

  • Proactive leadership and management of all offshore core maintenance and maintenance project workscopes including Safety Critical Equipment availability.
  • Completed an overhaul of key rotating equipment, delivering an ongoing maintenance cost saving of over £500k per annum through improved maintenance efficiency.
  • Performance Management of Technical Integrity KPI’s. Highlights included elimination of Safety Critical PM Backlog, reducing more than 1000 outstanding jobs to zero.
  • Responsible for managing 15 Onshore Engineers and Offshore staff / contract teams with over 230 personnel
  • Successfully owned and managed an annual budget in excess of £90m, consistently delivering on or below budget

Which candidate would you want to interview?

I’ve talked to a number of organisations who have had to make people redundant, and sadly they sometimes don’t see that much value in providing outplacement support, even at a basic level.

However, in a tough market, if  a candidate can enhance their CV to give themselves a better chance of securing an interview and improve their interview technique, which subsequently helps secure them a new role, then surely that is an invaluable life skill. One which is worth investing time and a small amount of money in. It also helps to maintain the organisation’s reputation as an employer of choice…

Campbell Urquhart
Managing Director

You don’t need to be Sigmund Freud…

sigmund-freud-400399_1280You don’t need to be Sigmund Freud….

I recently ran a training course on Conflict Management for a great group of Customer Service Professionals.  We talked about many different topics; personal reactions to conflict, assertiveness techniques, conflict management tools, real-life conflict situations and different strategies for handling these. We also discussed why some people regress to child-like behaviour or behave like sulky adolescents and how we can have “grown-up”, adult conversations; particularly when things become heated or stressful.

A simplified version of a Psychological model called Transactional Analysis (TA), developed by Eric Berne in the 1960’s, is an insightful way to consider communication patterns and social interactions. The TA model considers that people are a collection of behavioural patterns developed over time. It also suggests that the way we behave will elicit different responses in others. For example, if we “order” someone to do something like a strict parent, people may react like a rebellious child, whereas, if we ask politely and in a mature manner, they are generally more likely to behave like a reasonable adult in response.

The three behavioural patterns:


The child has 3 sides…

The natural child – the natural child wants us to do things just because it wants to. However natural child behaviour is not willfully disruptive to others nor destructive to the environment. It is about pure child-like emotion; laughter, tears, creativity, curiosity, mischief and fun.

The rebellious child – when people are in this ego state they are not likely to listen to anyone who tells them what to do. If they are communicated to in this manner, they are likely to become disruptive and rebellious. This rebellion may be open, for example, by being very negative or, more subtly, by being sarcastic, obstructive or by procrastinating when someone asks them to do something. When some individuals are being driven by the rebellious child, they may not be prepared to do anything an authority figure asks them to do, even if it makes logical sense!

The adapted child – another type of child behaviour is excessive goodness. Individuals in this ego state are so eager to please others that they may be willing to do almost anything. This type of behaviour can be difficult for the person experiencing it as, although they will do all they can to please, they may still feel like disagreeing or disobeying from time to time but will be likely to suppress their own needs and keep the hurt. This may lead to feelings of anger and resentment.


The Nurturing Parent – this is all about caring and understanding about other people. The nurturing parent does not put people down or make them feel bad.

The Critical Parent – this is a judgmental pattern of behaviour. Individuals in this ego state may tell people what they “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing. The critical parent may attack people’s personalities as well as their behaviour This may make people feel that they are being criticised as a person. Individuals with a strong critical parent are often as hard on themselves as they are on other people. If the critical parent behavioural style is used, this may, for example, elicit a rebellious child response from the other person unless they have a very strong adult-style.


The Adult – the adult is based on what we have learned. Its job is to take the emotional content of the child and the value laden content of the parent and check it out with the reality of the outside world. The adult has a role to play in mediating between the “you should” bullying of the parent and the “I want” pestering of the child. Adult to adult interactions are calm, logical, polite, consistent, assertive rather than aggressive and involve asking rather than telling. Using an adult style is more likely to elicit these behaviours in return.

So, you don’t need to be Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung or Eric Berne to use Psychological models to improve social interactions and interpersonal skills.

It can be illuminating to reflect on our own behavioural patterns;

How well developed is your adult?
How do you behave as an employee or as a manager?
Is that rebellious child or critical parent making too many appearances?

Julie McDonald
Director of People Solutions

White Cube Consulting