Actionable Tips on Crafting an Eye-Catching CV
In this era of ever-increasing competition in the labour market, what would be the most effective ways to stand out among other job applicants?
It all starts with your ability to present yourself, by that letting your true professional value be noticed by recruiters, hiring managers, and people in your network (who might actually help too).
Since we have only one chance to make a good first impression, let’s make sure it’s the best one.
These days, we have two key self-presentation tools widely used for selecting and hiring job seekers. This post is going to guide you through the process of creating and smartly updating your Resume/CV.
Unless you work in science or academia and your CV must include long lists of written articles and attended presentations OR you’re a top-manager with 20-years’ experience, keep it down to two pages (IT with all certifications is the only exception).
Remember how busy people are, especially recruiters and HR professionals who sometimes have to process hundreds of CVs every day.
TEMPLATE & FORMAT
Choose resume format and type based on your industry and targeted position. If in doubt, Google it. There are available free samples for engineers, software developers, etc.
Mind the difference between ATS-friendly (simple, black-and-white, text-only) and human-oriented (may include graphics) templates.
Also, if your CV is intended for a job in a public or governmental sector, quirky designs are unacceptable.
Make sure it’s easy-to-read, with fonts not too big, not too small. Stick to Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, or Trebuchet. Keep fonts and formatting consistent throughout the entire document.
Place most important information on the first page (awards, projects, achievements, any quantifiable results of your professional activity).
Avoid vague statements, be as specific as possible – make your CV data-based and result-based.
If you’re a recent graduate, put your education before experience. Same with any certification or training you want to highlight.
If including personal information is a common practice in your country, put it at the end. Focus readers’ attention on your professional side.
HEADING AND TOP SECTIONS
This is the most visible and viewable part. So…
Put all your contact details in the heading. No weird emails (firstname.lastname@example.org is the best option).
Profile of qualifications – 2-3 sentences about your experience and expertise.
No objective – very outdated. You might be asked where you see yourself in <Number> years during a job interview, but don’t waste your CV’s valuable space on it. As an option, briefly explain what kind of role you’re targeting and how you can contribute to your future employer (NOT what you expect to get from your new job).
Well organised skills – a list, a table, or one-sentence bullet points. In addition to your competencies (hard skills) and computer knowledge (tech skills), always add soft skills!
For each employment, focus on presenting your accomplishments rather than listing responsibilities. Current job – present tense, previous jobs – past tense.
Don’t go in details with jobs 10+ years old. Including company, position and dates would be enough.
For job descriptions, each line should start with a strong action verb that implies positive change. Replace
“responsible, manage, work, perform, execute…”
“increased, improved, enhanced, developed, designed, drove, optimized, streamlined, created, empowered, built…”
The idea is presenting yourself as an “achiever” rather than a “doer”.
In the end, employers are usually interested in two things – what results you have delivered so far, and how you can contribute to solving their problems. Plus, your CV should be clear, concise, and visually appealing.
A FEW MORE VERY HELPFUL TIPS
Should we look for job openings that match our CVs? Or should we look for job openings and match our CVs with them? Believe me, finding a job description that would 100% match your CV is practically impossible. That’s why we do these things:
Use Matching Keywords –
Instead of submitting your general CV to 100 job ads, send it to 10 but make sure you modify it based on a job description and include keywords. Ideally, your CV should have vacancy matching job titles, contain keywords and phrases from a job posting, have no employment history gaps, and match by most recent experience.
Always Attach a Cover Letter –
Create and submit a separate cover letter for each vacancy.
Make Your Job Search Targeted –
Choose a few companies and ‘monitor’ their websites/LinkedIn profiles for vacancies. Network with their key decision makers. When contact recruiters, have a specific position in mind and highlight your relevant achievements.
Smart, targeted effort – faster results. You can do it!
Don’t miss my upcoming posts about writing a winning cover letter and optimizing your LinkedIn profile. For more information, you can find me here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/galyna-daniel/