Why Your CV Is Getting Binned And How You Can Change That
So, you've decided to take the plunge and look for a new job! Congratulations. It'll be easy, right? Just fire off a few CVs, turn up to a few interviews and take your pick. The world is your employment oyster.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work quite as easy as that as competition for jobs gets more and more fierce all the time. Of course, that doesn't mean you should give up on your dreams. Oh no.
What it does mean, though, is that you'll have to invest a little bit of time pruning your CV and brushing up on your interview skills. A little investment now can pay off big time in the long run.
Top tip: The person reading your CV will do so for about seven or eight seconds before they decide if you're suitable. Ever heard of first impressions being key? Exactly.
So, what are they looking for? Put yourselves in their shoes, and imagine your CV is one of a hundred, a thousand or a million they'll read that day. What makes yours different?
- Keep your experience formal and professional, but tell them about you as a person too. Go beyond 'I like socialising with friends and reading'. Who doesn't?
- And kill the Microsoft Word templates. Again, you want to stand out rather than conform. We aren't recommending you style your CV on a birthday party invite or produce it in the format of War and Peace, but individuality is key.
- And check it. Any 'I could of' or 'I worked their...' is likely to see your application, and your dreams, in the bin.
- Don't hide experience you believe is irrelevant, or any gaps. And keep your current position at the top of your CV! Recruiters want to see how you've progressed throughout your career. And if you work in Asda and want a job at the BBC, you'll have learnt more transferable skills than you think. If you took time off to raise children, no need to be ashamed!
- Some of us aren't lucky to have household names on our CV. That's natural. Get around this by linking them in. So if you worked for a small PR company, for example, don't restrict yourself to: 'I worked for four years for SmallFirm PR'. Instead, try: 'I worked for SmallFirm PR, on an account for clients including Google, Microsoft, Apple and the planet Jupiter'.
- Don't lie. Unless you did work on behalf of planet Jupiter, then go to town on that. But stick to the truth. You'll always get found out in the end if you don't.
- Don't just focus on your CV, either. If you have a bad cover letter - or, even worse, don't bother with one at all - your shiny, carefully crafted, entirely-truthful CV might not even see the light of day. This is your chance to 'grab' the employer. Pack tons of interesting detail in and please, please don't just re-hash your CV. Make it personal and tailored to the business; tell them why you want to work there, rather than working anywhere. There's a big difference, and mastering it could be the key.
Good luck! Lord Sugar will see you now...
Want to spruce up your CV from the ground up? We’re hosting a series of CV workshops for our students at our North Street training centre, Swords. Our next one is coming up on 31st March 2016; if you would like to come along or just want to know more, give us a call on 01 8404075 or email email@example.com.