Here you are ready to start your job search. You have prepared your CV, you have gathered contact details of many companies and you start sending your CV to all of them. The more you have got – the better. And if you do not get it with the first round of 20-30 CVs that you send out you just send another 20-30, and sooner or later you will get it, right? Probably… may be… after the 247th CV you could get an email reply, or a phone call, or an interview, even… and then probably after 3-4 interviews (so that is 247 x 3 or 247 x 4, who has a calculator???) and then probably you will get a job… so to get a job you need to send out an average of around 850 CVs, right? WRONG!
What will make it or break it for you during the first CV screening is the quality and effort you have put into preparing your CV.
Your autobiography is the first ¨point of sales¨ you get with your potential employer and thereof, it is the vital one – You never get a second chance to make a first impression, wiser people (then me) have said. So I regularly advise people to target every job application, every email to a potential employer and every phone call to a dream company in a unique way. It is true that this will take some time… but considering the exponentially higher return of investment it is debatable which is more time consuming – unique CVs or (an average of!!! and may be more) 850CVs.
CVs should be tailor made to be noticed by the recruiting agent.
This is much easier then it sounds. The fundamental principles of targeting your CV are rather simple:
- Ensure that each part of your CV directly relates to the current job application,
- Do NOT use exactly the same descriptions for skills, experience, and qualifications as on the job ad, however. Be more creative, paraphrase, demonstrate. However, due to pre-screening reasons, do include the works from time to time.
- Always cover the essential job skills, qualifications, and experience in your CV.
- Ensure that everything in your work history is clearly relevant to position you are applying.
In order to make this process easier and as painless as possible, prepare a detailed CV with all your professional and academic experience, all your knowledge, courses, expectations, motivations, etc. At this point it does not matter if it goes much longer then the standard 2 pages. It will be a great starting point and it will facilitate you to customize your CV depending on the needs of the different employers.
Do not forget, also to save diligently all the versions with the relevant contact information of the CVs you sent. You can use an Excel table and a Word archive, or organize it in any other way that you prefer. However, do use a systematic archive, update it, and refer to it constantly before you send out a new CV.
All this is a lot easier to do than it might look from that description. You have the raw material available from your basic CV, and it’s quite easy to adapt that material to any job.
Let’s now go over the basic CV outline:
The objectives part of your CV defines your motivations. In this part you are telling your employer why after he spends time and money training you and teaching you, you will be the best candidate for the job. Write the objectives section showing a clear reason based on a career track motive like, ‘I want to gain direct experience as part of my HR studies.’ This will explain why you want a recruiter’s job.
Skills are often keywords in job applications, like essential criteria. Any job for which you can apply will include a range of skills you can use. You may not have all of them, but you must include all the required skills as much as possible. Use similar, or the exact (to help pre-screening), description of these skills as used in the job ad.
Your work history is what will prove that you can do it. You need to put in particular care and good use of terminology. Explain briefly, but as clearly as possible, your job role and tasks. Now you can use the same terminology as in the job requirements, particularly the essential skills, as the framework for your description. Use multiple examples, and if possible show how your skills developed through your work history, making clear your level of experience. Describe in most detail the job experience which are most relevant to the job. If you are applying for a position as an accountant, although working in McD when you were younger might have thought you persistence, punctuality and attention to detail, it would still not be the key to depicting these qualities.
Achievements added on to the work history as part of each job description are a real positive, only when you show obvious relevance and value to the employer. Use examples that are clearly related to the new job application. Use clear metrics (40% saving, 75% increase of visibility, etc). Put those in the front of the sentence, so that they can stick out.
Job offers do have a list of required qualifications. You must report straight forward how you fit in the profile. Difficulties sometimes arise when you have similar qualifications, but you are not sure if they match the requirements. There is no need to guess. Make sure they do, preferably by email, and get a definite yes or no.
Your qualifications also need to be spelled out in detail. Broad descriptions of qualifications mean nothing, particularly when all the other applicants will have similar qualifications. Again, spell it out, so you show clearly you are qualified for the job.
As you can see, targeting a CV is not difficult. Get the content right, and you get the job.