If you make a few small changes to your CV / Resume you will find that it pulls more interviews. Here are some of the key things you can do to make your CV / Resume more responsive. And with a little generalising most of this will work for any document.
1) Understand What a CV / Resume is for?
Many people have the mistaken believe that a CV / Resume is about them. It isn’t. It is about your relationship to the role and the company that you are applying to. Also people need to recognise that a CV / Resume is a sales document for a specific sales process.
The purpose of a sales document is to get you to the sales meeting (the interview) and set the framework for that meeting.
When you are writing or modifying your CV / Resume always write from the position of the recruiter. Imagine the person in the company that is making the judgement to call you in for interview or not. Then step into their shoes and write your CV / Resume through their eyes.
This approach will give you a better idea of what is important, what is useful and what you should leave out.
2) Make Your CV Stand out Enough
I like designing things to work in the worst possible situations. I like to imagine that there is only one position, five hundred people have applied and the recruiter only has an hour to get through all the CVs / Resumes and shortlist five people for interview.
You should design your CV / Resume to withstand this test. A couple of things you can consider might include:
- The type of paper you use
- The borders, boxes, fonts and colours (but be careful, you want to stand out enough without looking weird)
- Matching the company values
- Linking Key experiences and achievements to specific job criteria
- Making sure everything that is important about you in relation to the role is clearly readable on the front page
3) Choose Your Words with Care
Everything you say on your CV / Resume sets the recruiter up with an impression of you. For example when I see the words, “Work Experience” I immediately think of a sixteen year old looking for a week away from school to find out if they want to be a vet.
When I see the words “Professional History” I think of someone that is a professional, has some gravitas and experience.
When your CV is being read by a recruiter how do you want them to picture you?
4) Less Duties, More Results
When people list their Professional Experience they tend to explain in detail the duties they performed in whatever role they are describing. Often if they are going for a related job you can assume that the recruiter will already know most of the key duties. And in any case mostly it is spectacularly irrelevant.
As a recruiter I don’t really care what your duties were (remember point 1). I want to know what you can do for me and my company. As such you CV / Resume should reflect Key Achievements that demonstrate how much you have driven the business forward, how much money you have made or how much money you have saved the company.
And as an added benefit you might tailor these key achievements to specific parts of the job advertisement. For example if the job role calls for a strong team player I would expect to have a key achievement in my professional history that is all about a fantastic result created by contributing to a team.
Or perhaps if they say something like, “This role is ideally suited to a self-motivated individual that is independent and can seize the initiative.” You can bet I will have a Key Achievement on my CV / Resume that is all about a fantastic result from a project I started based on a problem I spotted or How I have developed and ran a sideline business in addition to a full time role.
5) Who Cares What Football Team You Support?
I often find people that are more invested in the second page of their CV / Resumes. They list all their training and qualifications from twenty years ago, include the names of all the family pets and how proud they are that their baby son or daughter is now potty trained.
I want to work from the assumption that the recruiter does not care about you at all. They are only interested in three things, do you fit in to the company culture, can you do the job and what are you going to do to move the business forward. As a rough rule thumb if the entry on your CV / Resume does not reflect one of those three points then you should probably leave it out.
With hobbies and interests unless directly relevant to the company or the role just leave a couple of interesting talking points that an interviewer can use as small talk. I would leave out anything that can possibly be contentious…including your favourite football team. I am sure most recruiters are professional in their approach but you don’t want to be rejected simply for following a different football team.
CV / Resume Writing the Easy Way
There is a little more than this to writing a CV / Resume and it may take anything from a couple of hours to a week or more to get a framework. But once you have that structure and you know what you are doing you can modify your current CV / Resume in a matter of minutes to apply for the latest job.
If you want the easy way of doing this have a look at the Persuasion Skills Black Book of Job Hunting. It not only takes you through writing a CV / Resume step by step it also shows you how you can use the CV / Resume to set up your interview so you can cover any question with a hypnotically persuasive answer. And as a bonus you get a tried and tested CV / Resume template as a word document. All you have to do is go through the exercises in the book and then cut and paste your answers in to the template and your CV / Resume is complete.