Anyone in the job market now knows how competitive and challenging it is. Companies are making redundancies so there is a lot of ‘talent’ out there topped off with the numerous ways to go about your job search the whole process becomes confusing and time-consuming.
Do you find yourself sending your CV to every potential job, but are getting nowhere?
It’s time to self-critique your own CV. These are basic, but oh-so common mistakes, job seekers make in their rush to “get out there”.
Trust me, it is far better to take your time in writing an awesome CV that gets traction with one job than having a poorly written document as your professional representation that you send to hundreds of jobs and every time get a “thanks, but no thanks” response (if you get a response at all).
Here are my top tips for what can you do to make your CV jump out in the overflowing pool of applications:
Spelling and grammar
Obvious? Not so. You don’t need to be a wordsmith but you do need (at the very least) to spend the time running a spell-check on your CV, and better still asking a friend with very good English language skills to read (and re-read) to ensure your CV is error free.
Skills and Experience
Whatever job you are applying for you must have at least some of the required skills and experience for the job. It is fine to refer to transferable skills, and this is certainly your responsibility in your cover letter and CV to make reference to this. You can’t expect the hiring manager to connect the dots; with so many applications this is an unnecessary waste of their time.
Connecting your Cover Letter and CV
If you are (and you should be) tailoring your cover letter for each application according to the requirements of the job, then make sure the skills you refer to are detailed in both documents. It is fine to adapt your CV to the role you are applying for, highlighting keys areas of expertise, often we do have experience which spans multiple roles so making it specific to the job in question is sensible and makes it easier for the reader to establish your suitability.
You do not want a disconnection between these two documents, as the question arises “which is accurate”. And any doubt of accuracy or suitability will lead to “no thanks”. In a candidate-rich market, the hiring manager does not need to spend their time speaking to you to figure this out.
This is a no-go area. You will be found out at some point in the recruitment process or even after accepting a job, and invariably you will end up sacked and back in the job market, worse off, as this does put you on the “do not hire” blacklist.
Timelines and Essays
Hiring Managers like to see what you have done through your career and how you got to where you are. To get a feel for your story – but not via a biography. Focus on the last 5-7 years or 2-3 jobs in concise detail and then minimize the rest. It is important to make sure your dates are in chronological order, where gaps can be accounted for, acknowledging time spent travelling or raising a family is absolutely fine.
It will not make you look super cool or super intelligent using so much jargon and industry-speak that the Recruitment Manager doesn’t understand a word of what you have written. Be mindful of who could be conducting the first sift before your CV gets in the hands of the hiring manager. You need to fit into the culture of the company, not just the department you’ll be working in.
ALL CAPITAL LETTERS THROUGHOUT YOUR RESUME
Check your CV now and make sure you are not falling at the first hurdle.