The whole process of job search can be as drilling as Navy Seal Boot Camp and this is something people forget to mention after you decide to go hunting for the perfect one for you. Writing an amazing CV that will help you get an interview can be as challenging as the entire job search and it is definitely one of the most neglected parts. Knowing employers spend as much as 7 seconds while reading your resume, makes you wonder how they even choose who goes to the next round. Well, they search for the ones that pop out. So let me ask you this:
Is your resume the one which pops out?
Think about it! What makes your CV good? And here is a little hint: it is not your experience.
IT’S HOW YOU SELL YOUR SKILLS
I have been in the recruitment part of the business for a while now and what I can tell you is that people often make a mistake thinking that by putting more words on the resume is better than having only one page. It’s not. There is no need to stress over small details as they will get you nowhere. Think about it: 7 seconds per CV and yours is 3 pages long. Nobody will read the details as they have around 200 people who answered the job post. And the ones that the employer does spend more than 7 seconds, are not writing about they experience, but how their skills can be of benefit to the company.
Let’s be real, there will always be that someone who has better or more experience than you. So, what can you do push through?
Push their facts aside and make room for your skills.
The reason we all state as much facts as we can is because by now we know them so well and we have repeated them as we know how little time we have when the question: ¨Tell me about yourself¨ hits our ears. It is like there is a stopwatch and the time starts now, so we might as well say as much of words as we can. Well, STOP. This is a moment you need to invest time in as it will get you through the door to the hiring managers and recruiters. So you might as well invest time in your craft, skills, competencies and how you present them because it is not only about finishing a degree and expecting the world to give you back all your effort and praises which include benefits on amazing job positions. The hard truth is that the world doesn’t owe you anything, you were the one who decided to go through all that. And this is not me being mean, this is me telling you about the situation on the market. After all I have been where you are and it is brutal if you don’t know how to handle yourself.
Before we get into all of the skills facts, let’s clarify some aspects of CV writing.
Let’s start of with an example:
You walk into a tech store and the sales guy tells you:
¨We have this Samsung TV. It’s UltraHD.¨
Are you going to buy it? It doesn’t make a difference if you went into a thousand stores and all sales managers told you the same. (It’s Samsung. Buy it.)
I wouldn’t. I would go somewhere else.
But if the sales guy let’s call him Ron, comes to you and tells you:
¨We have all brands of TVs but if you are interested in more than a TV but rather a way to spend time with your family and watch movies together…¨, and tells you a story about how that TV will benefit you and your family. It actually means he spent time and dedication while listening to what you said you wanted in a TV and he dedicated his time to present the full story without taking shortcuts. This is where his communication and active listening skills came to good use.
It is absolutely the same with you selling your own experience to the employer who goes over thousands of resumes in his daily routine.
He will not focus on what you said, but how it can be of benefit to him and his company. After all he will be the one employing you so what you do will reflect on him.
So the big question now is:
WHAT STORY WILL MAKE THEM REMEMBER YOU?
This is where research comes in handy. Because you can’t really just go to a job interview and not know anything about the company you are applying to. It shows lack of motivation and interest and frankly I wouldn’t hire you either. I have sat in job interviews where potential employees came unprepared. So when the time came for them to say what they know about the company, sadly they showed lack of interest, lack of motivation and lack of drive by answering either that they didn’t find the company online (BIG FAIL!) or that they didn’t quite have the time to read the job description even where it is fully described. Naturally those people didn’t even make the second round. Don’t be that person. It doesn’t take more than a half an hour to read through the website of the company and see what they actually do.
So here are a few tips on how to approach a job search:
- STOP GENERALIZING YOUR CV
One of the mistakes we all make when we are just starting is to make one general resume for all the companies you apply at. I know it is a lot easier to just always send the same resume but let me tell you why you should stop doing that.
The story you are crafting needs to be made specifically for the company and job description you are applying for. It needs to showcase a wide range of values, principles you share with the company so they would know you strongly fit in their job description.
Also, stop writing how the company can help you further your career, they aren’t looking for people to help get their career started, but potential employees they will know how and why will be a good asset to them. Invest time to research the company and use the job description to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. And while doing that, please, stating you have good communication skills (like half of the world), tells them nothing. Take the time to write how you gained those skills and how you used them on the previous job position.
It will get you one step closer to the door.
- FOCUS ON THE RIGHT JOB POSITIONS
There is no need to tell the employer about all the positions you worked on. Again, it will make your CV three pages long in some cases, and the employer has to go over hundreds of resumes and the unnecessary information that goes for pages and pages, will not be the one where they stop and say: ¨Wait this is the person we are looking for. ¨
In this case less is more. Keep your CV short and up to 2 pages maximum. If you have a lot of experience or you changed jobs often, choose to include the ones that have a lot in common with the current job application. This is why you should update your resume often and for each job you apply for. It will give you plasticity you need to adopt a good way of editing your CV. It is all about editing previous job positions what will benefit you more when they go over your resume. The rest of the positions you can list bellow with short facts about your achievements in a couple of sentences.
This will be more than enough for the employer to get the big picture of your skills and competencies.
- DON’T LIE
There is one simple reason why you shouldn’t lie on your resume or during an interview.
WE ALWAYS KNOW WHEN YOU ARE LYING.
See the interview process consists of us reading your resume, giving you tests, talking it over with our colleagues and really just seeing how you fit in our position. It is nothing personal.
You might think everyone lies on their resume, but it is actually not correct. Saying little white lies on your resume takes away the space for the narrative you can craft that will actually get you the job. In the case of your CV, it only gets you through the door, it doesn’t actually get you the corner office.
As a recruiter, I faced a couple of potential employees and straight on caught them in a lie. It was a completely unnecessary lie, so why ruin your image on the interview and lose the position completely?
- BE PROFESSIONAL DURING A JOB SEARCH
Every resume you make needs to have a copy in both Word and PDF version.
Well as we discussed above, you need to constantly keep it new and adjustable to the job positions you will apply for, and because sending Word documents to employers doesn’t make you seem professional. I know you are probably thinking what has that have to do with anything but, this way sending your PDF CV will show you invested time to go over everything you wrote, how you said it, and how you crafted your final word before you sent it.
It shows how you approach your work, and how much respect you have it. Those are amazing qualities to have in an employee. Just saying.
- CHECK THE GRAMMAR ON YOUR CV
As we already overemphasized the volume of CVs the employers get, we don’t have to explain the necessity to not give them an excuse to dismiss your application due to avoidable mistakes in your CV. And yes, I’m talking about grammar. That subject we all ignored in school and yet showcases our literary abilities.
Grammar slips do happen. Take the time to double-check your writing after you completed and turned your resume into the one you are proud of.
- DON’T EAT EVERY APPLE FROM THE TREE
Of course, this metaphor is about applying for every job you see out there. Sure, you don’t have anything to lose, but you are wasting your time, energy and motivation while applying for jobs that are not very likely to come your way. This is why you shouldn’t do that:
- there is a high probability you will not even get an answer when you send you CV
- your motivation will get a punch in the face
- you will have to waste time on crafting a CV that won’t get more than 7 seconds chance
- you won’t invest energy so why do it?
Your mind and energy would be put to better use to actually find a job that you will have an opportunity of getting. So the time put in creating that perfect CV according to the job post and your skills, will be of benefit because you will create a better work habit and you will feel proud of yourself for working on your own future and development in a positive way.
Finding a job that is right for you is a process and like every other process, you have to be patient and plan your steps. The way you approach to tackle your job search will showcase your skills and competencies that employers can use for the new job position. Finding the right job for you includes preparation but it is about you and what you can do for the company and the job opening, so tap into who you are and what you can do then present it to the employer as the skills he needs. This sounds easy to write but has in mind that all the advice above and the tips I used were tested as a job seeker and a recruiter. So from both sides, I can tell you that this process is brutal but it can be fun if you concentrate on yourself and just try to have fun with it all.