Rashid Jamil

11 steps to a successful CV

Your CV is like a showroom; it should display your qualification to recruiter or headhunters as they skim your CV. How do you make them choose your CV? And how do the recruiters / headhunters turn a pile of CV into just a few CV’s, including yours?

Follow these eleven simple tips to ensure your CV is among the few left when the recruiter goes back to his customer and says “I just found the perfect match!”

1. Find the type of CV wanted

The first thing you should do is to find out what form and style the company wants for the CV or what form and style is normally used in your line of work. Is it a two-pager, is it chronological? If you don’t know, then just call the recruiter and he/she will happily guide you.

2. Keep it concise

Your CV should be short and to the point, leave out unnecessary filling. Recruiters don’t want to spend a lot of time on reviewing a long CV – if you send them an encyclopedic drilldown of your life to date, they won’t find the information they want. Keep it short and to the point and save the details for the interview.

3. Target your CV to the job

Take the time necessary to adapt your CV to each position you apply for. Get some background information on company and use the keywords in the job ad to find out which skills you should use and which you should leave out.

4. Personal statement

Tie your experience and work history to the vacant position so that the recruiter / headhunter can see the connection between why he should choose you. This is best done with a brief personal statement to be sure the recruiter / headhunter sees the connection.

5. Leave out gaps

Recruiters’ don’t like gaps – if they spot a gap they will either dig deeper to find out what is this al about (more work for them) or they will just go on to the next in the pile of interesting CV’s. If you have a gap, make a positive thing out of it, give them extra experience or another twist on the gap.

6. CV must be up-to-date

Be sure that your CV is always up-to-date, especially if it is an online CV it must always be up-to-date. Regardless of whether you’re actively job seeking, every time you gain some experience or otherwise have information for your CV, make the changes right away.

7. No mistakes and misspellings in your CV

Don’t let the recruiter / headhunter dismiss your CV just because you made a mistake or misspelled something. Many recruiters / headhunters see these types of mistakes as severe. They say “If you can’t even spell right or made stupid mistakes, you probably haven’t even read the CV after you wrote it.” Use a spellchecker on the text and have someone you trust, proofread it to get a second opinion.

8. Only the truth and nothing but the truth

Never ever tell a lie in your CV as many recruiters / headhunter use references and their network to check the facts of your CV. If you tell a lie and it is discovered afterwards it is a reason to dismiss you and nobody wants that. Many times any inconsistencies are also discovered in the job by a simple Google search or at the interview and there it will be probed if they find any “lies”.

9. Remember numbers and facts

If you can – it is always a good idea to back up your achievements with numbers. Writing your work experience and achievements, don’t just tell the recruiter you increased profit; show them how much: EBIT increased 78% over 2 years, with a growth rate of sales on 30% over the same period.

10. Layout / design matters

Use a CV template that is in line with your profile. Marketing people can make something very chick and creative, but please if you are an accountant please choose a CV template that signals the right things. It all depends on the sector and what is normal, don’t use the design to make you standout in a negative manner.

11. Remember to use sector specific keywords

Today CV’s are many times online profiles, or CV’s that will be put into a recruiter / headhunter internal IT systems for indexing and searching capabilities. These systems make use of keywords to search for, just like Google like specific keywords recruiters do so to. Make the keywords 100% aligned with the vacant position and also have some extra in there that can be the extra something to make you stand out from the crowd.

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