A job hunt is afoot!
Perhaps you're looking to take a step up the ladder. Maybe you want to change careers. Or, you may have just graduated from college.
But whatever your reason may be, you need to put together a CV to "sell" your expertise to recruiters.
The problem is...
Recruiters are on the receiving end of hundreds or even thousands of CVs just like yours. So how can you make yours stand out and get you an interview?
And did you know?
About 20% of recruiters will reject a candidate before they’re done reading the resume according to a research by Ayers.
But chill out. We've got you covered.
Here are a few simple techniques you can use to increase your chances of progressing to the next stage in the recruitment process.
Mention Achievements In At Least 2 To 3 Of Your Previous Jobs
Talking about your past responsibilities is one thing, but a review of your previous jobs won’t help a recruiter gauge your potential or fit for the job.
Instead, you want to detail the results you achieved for your past employers.
If you're applying for a marketing role, and you helped boost lead generation and cut cost-per-acquisition in a previous job, go ahead and let the recruiter know about it. Even better, include figures to back up the facts!
Including information like this helps in painting yourself as a valuable asset to a company in the recruiter's eyes. Someone that is already capable of producing attractive results.
However, don’t fall into the trap of going into too much detail. Summarise what you did and the results you got in no more than a few sentences.
Keep the information short and sweet. By leaving gaps, you will entice a recruiter to meet you to learn more about how you achieved such results.
Going into too much detail can also turn your CV to a long winded wall of text that people will hate reading.
Explain enough to impress, but don’t go overboard.
Read The Job Ad Closely And Customize Your Resume
This one is common sense, but many applicants make the same mistake of using the same resume for every job opening they're eyeing.
One reason why many applicants don’t customize their CV is that it can take a lot of time. Depending on the number of job openings you are applying to, it can become a lengthy process.
But believe it or not:
Recruiters can tell if you haven’t taken the time to tailor your CV to their job ad.
And if you come across as someone who can't be bothered to spend 30 minutes customising your CV to the role, they are likely to think:
"What other tasks can you not be bothered to do?"
A mediocre, cookie-cutter CV doesn’t paint a particularly good picture of your working habits or determination. This scatter-gun approach can work - if only if you're lucky.
Do you want to rely on luck in your job hunt? If not, then tailor your application for every company and every role. Start with the job ad and ask the following questions:
What is the recruiter looking for?
Have they mentioned any related keywords?
Are they looking for a certain level of experience?
What about expertise in using any tools that are standard for the industry?
Write down the answers and incorporate each of them into your CV.
If the role requires an applicant with strong managerial skills, work an explanation of how you effectively managed a team and delivered results into your resume.
By tailoring your CV to each application, you increase your chance of landing an interview, bringing you a step closer to getting the job.
Keep Your Resume Readable
Recruiters have their hands full. Don't make their jobs harder with a CV that reads like ancient hieroglyphics. Otherwise, your resume will end up in the 'no' pile.
Fortunately, creating a readable CV is straightforward.
For starters, you want to use headers to lay everything out. Dividing the entire lot into sections makes finding essential information easy for recruiters.
On average, they’ll only spend 7 seconds looking at your CV before deciding if they want to look further, so making everything easy to locate will get you past this stage.
Next on the list are bullet points.
Bullet points help readability by turning multiple pieces of information into a list, which is more digestible and less intimidating than long paragraphs.
Don't waste your words!
If you can cut a 32-word passage into a 15-word sentence, then do it!
As long as the shortened sentence retains the meaning of the more extended version, the former will make you sound sharper and professional.
And last but not the least:
Check your spelling a grammar! Multiple times!
Nothing affects the readability of a CV - or any text - more than spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
Ask friends or family to read through it for you.
As they’re not familiar with the text, they will find mistakes better than you who has been looking at the same words for an extended period.
You can also take advantage of a text-to-speech reader. Windows, Mac, and Linux all carry this feature, but you can also find such freeware online.
Having your computer read your CV aloud will help you quickly spot any mistakes or errors, or if a sentence is too long or doesn’t sound right.
Use Design To Your Advantage
About 85% of people are creating their CV’s on Microsoft Word, says a LinkedIn poll. Not surprising as just about everyone has access to the MS Word. Plus, the packaged templates make resume building a tad quicker.
However, 85% of people using the same software and choosing from the same set of templates will result in a lot of similar looking resumes.
With this in mind, you should make sure that yours is distinguishable from the rest design-wise.
Set about finding a format and style, or developing your own to add a personal, inimitable touch to your CV. You can even learn how to use your smartphone for creating graphics and visual elements that capture people’s attention.
As a rule of thumb, no CV should be longer than two pages. Keeping it to one page is preferable. However, creating a one-pager can be tough when applying for high-up roles when you have a lot of experience to convey.
Add color, but subtly.
Don’t go crazy with bright hues in a bid to catch a recruiter’s attention. It will work, but for the wrong reasons!
For inspiration, use Google image search to look up the title you are applying for with ‘CV’ or ‘resume’ at the end.
Searching for "marketing director CV" or "marketing director resume" will show you numerous examples with small hints of color you can use. Yes, even just a bit of color can help your application stand from the crowd of black and white documents.