Job seekers, as you know during these unparalleled times, it’s more important than ever to stand out online. It’s also a good time to make smart and easy transformations to all your digital applications, especially your CV. Lately, via my coaching work, I have seen many job candidates focus on other aspects of the process, like crafting the perfect cover letter, modifying their LinkedIn headline that they forget the most basic building-block of their application — the unassuming CV.
Submitting your CV is sometimes your first and only contact with a prospective employer during the job application process., so you must get this part right.
You also have to keep in mind that your CV is a simple way to instantly showcase the natural evolution of your career to date.
1. Create a Persuasive Career Profile
A Career Profile is a persuasive CV introduction to potential employers, detailing your skills, experience and value. By having a concise and interesting career profile, you are creating the career narrative of how you want to be seen by each person in the job application process.
Here are some tips to make your career profile more compelling:
Depending on experience, your career profile should be no longer than 5 sentences.
Aggregated years of experience- The recruiter will want to either see years of experience or breadth of expertise.
Area of Expertise- Your Career Profile should address the needs of the role. Always refer back to the Job description to gather what the main prerequisite of the role is. If you have a specific skill set, then emphasise how you have used your skills to solve a problem.
Relevant Skills- Are your skills pertinent to the role in question? Research the Industry, and highlight the top 3 skills the company are requesting. If you are a Career changer, make sure to do a skills audit and be able to articulate how your transferable skills are applicable.
Achievements- An achievement is anything that is tangible and can be measured. If you are a professional who has been in a career for over three years, you should be able to describe achievements that saved the company money, increased revenue or created a process to save time.
2. Infuse your CV with Keywords
Every job description has specific keywords associated with it. Hiring Managers and recruiters include keywords in the job description.
While reviewing CVS, recruiters are determining job applicants relevance based on keywords. If your CV doesn’t mention these keywords, they will reject your CV. You have been warned.
How should you overcome this challenge? Good news is that there is a straightforward way to overcome this problem?
Review every job description and identify 10/15 prime keywords.
Now, enhance your CV and make sure you include these keywords throughout the body of your text.
When curating your CV, aim to include the first 5 keywords in your career profile; your goal is to capture the recruiter’s attention in less than 6 seconds.
3. Don’t be Passive take Immediate Action
Word choice and how you present yourself to future employers can make a dramatic difference to your job search. How you show your previous experience, will inform the first impression that an employer makes of you and will be the thing that influences whether they call you for an interview.
Whenever I review a CV, I want to see good use of action verbs. It helps to understand a candidate’s experience better. Time is super-critical for recruiters. If you use inappropriate language or jargon, you risk irritating the recruiter, and hence your chances of getting an interview.
The next time you update your CV, switch up a few common words with strong action verbs that will capture the recruiter’s attention.
Here are some useful examples!
If you have helped a team operate more effectively and the consequence was saving money, think of using these words, to show just how much you saved.
Conserved Consolidated Decreased Deducted
And if you developed, created, or introduced that project into your company? Infuse the below keywords.
Administered Built Charted Created Designed
You want to show that your work boosted the company’s numbers, consider.
Accelerated Achieved Advanced Amplified Boosted Capitalised
Your goal is to show what an inspirational leader you are with terms like:
Aligned Cultivated Directed Enabled Facilitated
4. Prioritise Relevant Content
If you are applying for a role that seems left of the field be able to tell the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for the role.
If you’re applying to be a b2b Marketing Director — a senior role that requires significant experience of b2b marketing sector — the employer will naturally expect you to have worked in many marketing roles previously. Those candidates who don’t have experience will usually be passed over in favour of someone who does. Unfortunately, that’s how screening for job applications goes.
Because of this, it makes sense to put the information most relevant to the job role as close to the start of your CV as possible. Or if you have the transferable skills and you want to make a career change, you need to able to.
Show the required skills throughout the body of your CV.
You understand how the skill is useful to the industry or role you are applying too.
You can confidently demonstrate how you would apply that skill to the new role.
I once coached a Teacher who wanted to get into an HR role.
HR managers are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating an organisation’s administrative functions. They oversee recruitment, interview and hiring processes; consult with executives regarding strategic planning; and serve as a link between the companies management and employees. These duties called upon my client’s experience in systems analysis, evaluation and problem-solving skills she gained while teaching.
To maximize the transferability of her extensive experience, we demonstrated via her career profile how her skills improved on processes.
5. Quantify Your Achievements
Another way to impress a recruiter is to use numbers in your CV. What does it mean? Well, you have to provide straight facts in your prior experiences. Instead of saying “I helped my company make a profit”, you should write created three new tools that helped my company save 20% cost. Now, whenever you update your CV, make sure you review every line and identify if there is any way you quantify your achievements.
What’s the most common CV mistake?
Making too many general claims and using too much industry jargon that does not market your skills.
A CV is a marketing document designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than portray a bio.
Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability.
Quantify your achievements to ensure greater confidence in the hiring manager and thereby generate interest percentage, dollars, number of employees, etc.
The below example of a coaching clients achievements as a digital marketer addresses how they boosted conversion and increased ROI. For each point, I asked my client what was the benefit of having done what they did?
Took over the management of PPC campaigns, increasing ROI from £15k to £30k.
Optimized ad copy, resulting in a higher quality score and a lower CPC.
Conducted A/B testing on paid Facebook ad campaigns, boosting conversion by 140%.
Bonus Tip, customise your CV for every job that you intend to apply for. I can see those eyes roll, but if you want to make a considerable change in your earning power, or land your dream job, you will have to take the time necessary to show up as the right candidate.
The easiest way is to think carefully about the jobs you’re applying for and try to condense job descriptions into a few types of roles. Once you have these key roles sorted, you can then tailor your usual CV to each of them, emphasising particular aspects of your experience or skills to fit the situation.
So if you are currently applying for a new job, ask yourself how you would like to be perceived by the person receiving your CV, and what kind of action do you want that person to take.
Positive action is not only a reflection of how well you understood the Job description but also your ability to show relevance.
So start shaping how you want to be perceived through the power of a great CV.