What Do Recruiters Want to See in Your CV?—Part 1
Your CV is your ticket to an interview. It’s your brand. What do you want your brand to say about you?
We’re going to assume you already have a basic CV written according to the best practices: keep it up to date; sort your experience chronologically, starting from the most recent; spell check, then proofread it; use conventional typefaces, such as Times New Roman or Arial; etc. These are all valid and important rules, but let us dig a bit deeper.
There are three basic guidelines you should follow:
1. Tailor your CV to the job
2. Use NEAR
Tailor Your CV to the Job
Most candidates don’t bother with this and instead send a standard CV with every application. Tailoring your CV to an ad doesn’t have to be a painful experience each time. Here’s how you go about it.
Start by writing a big, general “master” CV. Include every bit of relevant information you can think of. Use it as an information repository to create the CVs you will apply with.
When you see a job ad you want to apply to, go back to your master CV and extract the relevant information only. Whatever you put in your CV needs to be relevant to the job ad. Does the job need international experience? Include any international experience you have. Does it require presentation skills? Include any experience where you can showcase your presentation skills.
After you have extracted the information, go back to the job ad and pay attention to the wording of the job ad. Recruiters scan the CV looking for relevant or familiar words. Make sure your CV is loaded with keywords that match the job ad. Don’t use the same CV to apply to two different job ads, even if you are applying for the same position. Each company is specific, and your CV should tell them you know that.
Do you want to show recruiters that you’ll be great at the job? Then show them that you have been great before. Instead of focusing on the responsibilities of your previous experiences, show your results.
WHAT you did (responsibility) needs to be followed by “SO WHAT?” (what was the impact or outcome?). So, instead of writing that you managed projects, focus on the results of your projects. Instead of saying you made cold calls, mention how many customers you converted.
Use the NEAR method to showcase your results:
“Increased hires by 20%” sounds better than just “recruitment”, doesn’t it? It makes you think, “Wow, this person is great at recruitment!”.
Keep It Short and Simple. Your CV should be easy to read and straight to the point. According to TheLadders, recruiters spend approximately SIX seconds on one CV, of which nearly FOUR are spent looking at: (a) job titles, (b) the last companies you worked at, (c) start/end dates, and (d) education. Unless you make these four areas extremely easy to read within four seconds, the odds are that you will be skipped over. Whatever else you have on your resume, the recruiter will only have approximately two seconds to find it and be impressed with it.
Try this simple exercise. Give your CV to a couple of friends for six seconds and then take it away. Ask them:
• What was the most memorable/important information you found out?
• What is the career path of this person?
If the answers are not what you want, change your CV.
Repeat these steps until the results are satisfactory.
TheLadders’ research showed that having a clear format will improve the recruiters’ rating of a resume by a whopping 60%, without any change to the content.
Recruiters love good stories. We’ll be back tomorrow to talk about how to use your CV to write yours.
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