Ensuring your CV lands on the ‘Yes’ pile and wins you the all-important interview can be a tough task, especially when there are many people with similar experience applying for the same job. How do you set yourself apart from the rest?
Writing and editing your CV can be a tedious task and one which applicants often rush without giving it enough thought. There is often a lot more focus on the interview but without a strong CV, you will struggle to get to this stage. Therefore, your CV is the most important part of the job hunting process because it’s the first impression the employer will have of you and a bad first impression will abruptly end the process. Follow these five tips to convert your CV into an interview.
1. Tailor it
Your first task is to tailor your CV so that your skills and experience cover the points desired in the job advert. This is a vital task because the employer will immediately scan through your CV to ensure you have what they need. Sometimes your CV will go through an automated online screening process before it even gets to the recruiter and then it’s even more important that your CV contains the keywords and phrases that are outlined in the job description so that it can make it on to the next stage.
Your skill-set and experience may be exactly what they are looking for but if you don’t clearly highlight this throughout your CV then how will the employer know you are the right fit? If it is not immediately obvious, you will be thrown onto the ‘No’ pile. This is easily avoidable by taking the time to tailor your CV.
2. Back it up
The next step is to go through your CV and back up your experience with examples. It is easy to claim you can do this, that and the next thing, but employers will want evidence of this. Also, by providing examples, you will show that you haven’t just copied what the job advert is asking for and you do have evidence of this experience.
Examples can cover a variety of activities: the results of a certain project; an achievement or award for your work; company outgoings reduced; budgets met; targets achieved. Remember to always include numbers to quantify your results.
3. Stand out
When writing/editing your CV, constantly think about what sets you apart from other applicants – why would you give yourself the job? It’s all about selling yourself; if you know you are right for the job then you must convey this through your CV to get yourself onto the ‘yes’ pile.
Remember, your CV is one of many that the employer will look at, so it is crucial to ensure it stands out from the rest. What makes you better than the next applicant? It doesn’t necessarily always come down to having the correct experience, it can often be that special something which lands you an interview. Highlight your unique qualities, impressing the employer and making them WANT to see you in person.
These unique qualities could be a number of things: higher qualifications, courses, memberships to industry groups, awards, voluntary work e.g. treasurer for your children’s school/ HR support for local charity etc.
Brainstorm all the unique qualities you have and include the appropriate ones on your CV.
4. Keep it concise
Keep your CV concise. Employers are very busy, especially when they are recruiting for a new role, so get to the point and only include information which supports you as a strong candidate.
Don’t waste their time by adding examples of work you did in another industry or qualifications you have which are irrelevant to the role. If you do this you will give them mixed messages about your skill-set – always make it clear why you’re a fit for this particular role.
5. Proof it
There is nothing worse than reading a CV with errors – it leaves the reader with an impression of a lazy, careless person. You could have a great skill-set and the best experience, but if your CV is full of errors, the employer will have second thoughts about you as a contender for the job. The use of grammar and punctuation is always essential when creating your CV.
Take the time to ensure your CV is error-free by reading it through several times and double checking the spelling of words when unsure. It is also advisable to ask a friend to read it through to spot any mistakes that you may have missed.
The main thing to remember when editing your CV is to always take your time as this is the first step towards getting you the job you desire. If you follow the above steps you will give your CV the best possible chance of appearing at the top of the ‘Yes’ pile.
Here at Howarth Morris, we are more than happy to work with you to tailor your CV and will always proof it before submitting to the employer – we are here to help you get you the job which you deserve.
Written by Howarth Morris, the North West’s leading independent Accountancy & HR recruiter, operating from offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington and Bolton.