Two pages are all you've got to impress - learn how to make them count
According to a survey, job seekers in the UK have to apply for an average of 27 jobs before receiving an interview. In a job market this competitive, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
Searching for a job can often feel like a full-time job in itself. You spend hours writing your CV, searching for potential jobs, and filling out applications - and nine times out of 10 you don't even hear back. So, what can you do to speed up the process?
If you've been applying for jobs for a while now and haven't had any luck, it may be time to change your strategy. Read on for ways you can hit the refresh button on your CV and finally start landing the interviews you're looking for.
1. Format, format, format
It's an unfortunate truth but a truth nonetheless: recruiters do not read your CV word for word. They skim read. In most cases, it's over and done in less than 10 seconds.
Therefore, the format of the first page of your CV is crucial, because this is the first (and sometimes only) part that recruiters are going to see.
Choose a simple layout that will complement your content and avoid inserting images, graphics, and shapes. Begin by listing your contact information, followed by a short professional statement. Then insert a skills section, followed by your work experience listed in reverse chronological order and then your qualifications. If you manage to fit the first three sections, plus your most recent work experience, on the first page, you'll ensure that the recruiter sees everything they need to see at a glance.
2. The art of selling
Are you focusing on the right things in your CV? Remember that the point of a CV is to sell yourself and your skills so that you can get an interview. If you're not doing this, then you may need to revamp your CV.
To do this, focus on demonstrating your achievements on your CV, rather than simply listing your responsibilities. Show a recruiter or hiring manager what you've done, not what you might do, and shine the light on what you can offer them if they hire you.
3. Ensure your CV is ATS-friendly
Your CV means nothing if it doesn't reach the hands of the recruiter. If you aren't receiving any calls from your applications, then chances are your CV is not being scored highly by applicant tracking systems (ATS). Three easy ways to combat this include:
Make sure you feature keywords from the job description throughout your CV
Avoid inserting graphics
Don't put important information in the header or footer sections of your document
4. Keep it job specific
The first rule of CV writing is to always tailor your CV to the job listing at hand. A smart way to do this is to adapt the job title at the top of your CV to specifically reflect the job you're applying for. Furthermore, review the job description and identify the desired skills and work those into your CV too. Then, demonstrate your experience with these skills in your work experience section.
5. Relevance is key
If you're applying for a finance role, chances are the hiring manager isn't interested in your skills as a barista in college. Remove any irrelevant work experience and instead focus on shining the light on the experience that will actually land you the job.
6. Employ new strategies
Once your CV is recruiter ready, the next step is knowing where to apply and how to market yourself. If your CV isn't receiving any call-backs, it may be time to try a new approach.
Applying directly to hiring companies is great, but that isn't the only option. Make sure you're registered with online job boards such as Reed and Indeed. This will allow recruiters to find you online. Similarly, there are several industry-specific job boards worth setting up a profile with as well. For example, if you're a finance professional, consider registering with efinancial careers.
7. Timing is everything
Consider the time of day you're applying for jobs. Did you know that job seekers are 5 times more likely to get an interview if they apply for a job between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.? This increases if they apply for a position within three to four days of it being advertised.
The job market is arguably more competitive than ever before, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. If you feel stuck and aren't getting the interviews you want, it may be because you need to revisit your CV. Sure, going back and reworking things isn't the most fun, but by investing time in your CV now, you'll end up saving time later on. With the right CV and the right experience, you can decrease the length of your job search and increase your chances of finally landing that all important first interview.
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