1. Personalise your ‘Summary’: Look at your summary, the bit at the top where you sum up your experience, skills and attributes, I can almost guarantee you that you have put something along the lines of “An honest, hardworking individual who can work well on their own or as part of a team” Blah, blah, blah. To make the employer want to read further you need to grab their attention here. Take time to read the spec for the role you are applying for and write a personal summary that highlights the skills you have that they are looking for.
2. Keep your personal details simple: Unless you are applying to be the next Grand National winning Jockey, then you don’t need to tell me your weight. Nor do I need to know your date of birth, height, eye colour, parents occupations or whether you are a smoker or not. Do not give the employer a chance to discriminate against you before they have even got to your skills and experience. To add to this, make sure that your details are correct, if an employer likes the look of your CV they will want to contact you, which is pretty hard if you have given them the wrong contact details. And for the love of god, if your email address is something along the lines of firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ….change it. Why risk having your CV put down for the sake of 30 seconds that it takes to set up an email address?
3. Your CV is not Facebook Contrary to popular belief, recruiters do not give priority to CVs if there is a picture of a pretty face on the front. So if you are pretty/handsome, good for you, but don’t show off by putting your photo on the top of your CV. If you wish to fill the gap at the top of your CV, add a link or QR code to your Linkedin and/or Twitter profile. Which brings me on to…
4. Be a social-media butterfly Your CV says a lot about you, but with the recent social media explosion, your social profile says a lot more. Make sure that you at least have a presence on Linkedin. One of my clients recently refused to interview someone because they didn’t have a Linkedin profile. Not only does it allow people to see your education, experience and skills in one place but it also allows you to gather recommendations from current and ex-employers, which act as “live references” for prospective employers (more about linkedin on my last post here. Once you have established a presence on these networks make sure you let people know about it, as I’m sure a wise man once said, “There is no point building a road that no-one will walk on”. Add the Linkedin logo to the top of your CV and hyperlink it to your profile, not only does this give employers easy access to more information on you, it also shows them that you are up to date with the latest digital trends.
5. The 3 C’s, Consistent, Concise and Correct When it comes to the main body of your CV where you talk about your work experience, stick to my rule of the 3 Cs and you will not go wrong. Firstly, keep it consistent, if you want to write to use bullet points to outline your duties in a certain role, great, but make sure you keep this structure throughout your CV otherwise it looks confusing and lazy. The next important thing to remember is to keep it concise. Very rarely will I make it through to the end of a CV that is more than 2 pages long, and unless you are at retirement age and have changed jobs more than Harry Redknapp, then there is no need to be longer than 2 pages. Stick to listing the skills and experience that are applicable and relevant to the role that you are applying for. Finally make sure the information is correct. You may remember a candidate on the Apprentice a few years ago who told Lord Sugar that he was a ‘Good Jewish boy’ only to be asked what Kosher was, to which he could not answer. The moral of the story is that if you lie on your CV you will be found out. So ask yourself if that time you cropped someone’s picture in Paint can really be classed as having advanced photo-editing skills? Is ‘bonjour, où est la pub ?’ really conversational French?
6. Take the time to apply for each job As a recruiter there is nothing worse than receiving a cover letter and/or CV that has obviously been sent out to more people than the local kebab shop menu. If you expect the employer to take time reading your CV then the least you can do is take the time to properly edit your Cover Letter/CV to be appropriate for the role you are applying for. This includes changes that you would think would be obvious like the name of the company, hiring manager and role. It is also advisable to slightly edit the main body of your CV to highlight skills and experience that are more applicable to the role you are applying for.
If you follow the above steps, then I guarantee you will have more success with your job applications. Why not let us know if these tips help you by leaving a comment below?
Happy job hunting!