Most of us have gone through the heartbreak of getting rejected for a job opening that we felt we were ideally tailor-made for. This may be because your CV failed to reflect the qualities that hiring managers hunt for.
That is why it is very important to identify what companies are looking for in a potential candidate. If you want to succeed at getting shortlisted for interviews, you have to see your CV not from your own perspective but from an employer’s perspective.
Here are 7 things recruiters MUST see on your CV and how you can succeed at showing it to them.
You need to be a good match for the job posting to get shortlisted. Your CV must show that you have work experience which relates to the job for which you are applying. What companies are searching for is this – Can you produce the required results for the post you are being hired for?
Unless your CV points in this direction quickly and accurately, the person who is shortlisting will skip your CV and go to the next CV in the pile.
Your suitability can be shown through your work experience and achievements. Your CV must show your knowledge, understanding and hard core experience in producing results in the shortest possible time.
# To help a recruiter notice your suitability quickly, show it right on top.
Make a short overview/ summary right on top of your CV with 3 to 5 bullet points expressing how many years of experience you have, your designation and your core expertise.
Once they glimpse your suitability it helps them connect with you and encourages them to read your CV further.
2) Real Experience
Experience is about the functions you have handled in your job during your career. However, job seekers fail to show this effectively and tend to give a detailed report on every single thing they do. Hiring managers find this utterly boring to read and they usually skip it. This is a crucial aspect of the CV, and must be effectively shown.
To show your experience more effectively, stop giving obvious job descriptions. For example: “I am a sales person and I sell” OR “I am an accountant, I do accounting” OR “I am an architect, I design buildings”– along with all the jargon that goes with it. None of these statements say anything about what makes you good at your work or what makes you perfect for the job.
What you really need to do is to show how your experience qualifies you for the job. Talk about your real accomplishments!
Instead of saying, I am a civil engineer, give details of what you have actually built – “a 2 km long bridge across the river OR “a township spread over 400 acres” OR “A school building in the neighborhood”. If you are a sales executive, “I sold 1 million worth of products in 1 year” is better than “I handled sales and marketing.”
# Talk about what you have delivered. Giving relevant facts will also help in making each company / employment on your CV different, more informative and interesting to read.
However good you are at your work, it does not matter unless you show you are able to produce results and achieve the company’s goals and targets.
Saying “I am good” does not matter – that’s your opinion. You have to prove why you are good.
A lot of job seekers only give a list of awards, achievements and appreciations from the company. For Example- “Got Best Salesman reward and won a trip to Honolulu” OR “I was given a letter of appreciation & increment for introducing cost saving methods”.
A better way to convey your achievements is to say “Won trip to Honolulu because I sold XXXX worth of products, more than anybody else”.
Remember, achievements also include those aspects of doing a job well for which you may not have got a special recognition. For example – “Over the past 5 years in the company as a safety officer there were no accidents” OR “I met the sales target year on year” OR “I achieved a 98.9% success rate – of patients not dying after a surgery performed by me…”
# Achievements have to show how you contributed to a company goal by doing your job well or excellently. But you may or may not get a reward or appreciation for it. Simply doing a job well can also be shown as an achievement. But this must be shown in a brief and precise manner.
Companies want people who can use their brains to find solutions and make contributions that benefit them. Creativity is a real asset for all employers. They are looking for people who can add surplus to the job.
So as a job seeker you must make sure that your achievements also reflect your creativity.
For example, increasing sales in your supermarket outlets by 50% each year is a good achievement – introducing uniforms for staff in your store to make them identifiable by customers shows creativity – both are good points to use. But the second achievement highlights creativity.
You can show creativity on your CV by highlighting instances where your ideas have benefited the company. For example, you have achievements that make you a good HR manager, but introducing bio-metrics or computerization is creative. Or, as a warehouse manager, you have great achievements but the fact you decided to implement a bar code system to replace manual checking in your warehouse is creative.
Even if your job is mechanical and routine, creativity can be shown. Did you find a way to do the same work in an improved manner? Creativity does not have to be a profound idea – Just one that leads to improvements.
# Being creative must also show in your achievements.
Did you think of any new ideas that resulted in reduced costs, improved processes, nurtured growth, solved problems, saved time, increased revenue?
Show it clearly on your CV.
5) Skills and Competencies
It was a good idea once upon a time to give a great list of skills – But today doing so will lead to recruiters skipping this section.
If you have a specific technical skill – like software or use of a machine or instrument –list it.
But if you are planning on listing general skills like SCM or design or sales – it’s passé. It’s redundant for an accountant to say I know accounts, trial balance preparation or bank reconciliation. Or, if you are an IT professional, it’s silly to you are an expert in MS Office, when even a school kid is an expert. If you decide to mention or list your skills then make sure it is specific to the requirements of the job applied for.
Avoid saying general things like strong negotiation skills, team player, hardworking, keen learner, self-starter … really, it’s a waste…Instead of saying that you are a team player, talk about how you handled a team of people and successfully launched a new product or achieved a deadline. It becomes real then.
# Direct attention to specific skills that are important to the employer. This may include a technology platform, a software, a methodology or a specific knowledge that is important for the post, and leave out generalities.
Or if you can show something specific for example a language, familiarity with a territory and country or a specific qualification that you think would be advantageous to the employer – show that.
6) Good Communication
Good communication skills are a basic requirement for all jobs. So, your CV must show how good a communicator you are – both verbal as well as written.
# A well written resume with good language, no grammatical errors with clear thinking and presentation reflects a person with good communication, language and written skills.
You have to project yourself as a confident person and your CV is a direct platform for showing your confidence.
There are many ways to project confidence. Your expertise and success must be clear – and visible. A poorly made CV shows low self-esteem and reflects poorly on your presentation skills and professionalism. Are you proud of your CV?
Also make sure your LinkedIn profile and your CV are updated and well presented. You must look smart & professional everywhere and all the time. No one wants to hire someone who can’t take the trouble of creating a good CV.
# Confidence is an intangible quality that shows because of a smart CV. Make sure you show it.
To know what your CV reflects to recruiters and hiring managers — get a FREE EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK of your CV, by mailing your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, and get tips and advice on how you can improve the impact of your CV and boost your job search.
Also feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/limasehgal?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search.