CV / Resume & Cover Letter

 

The last 15 years have seen major changes in the world of recruitment. When I started out as a hiring manager, we advertised in the newspaper and on the major jobs websites, and CVs arrived by post (usually) or email (occasionally). CVs included a standard summary of a person’s career history, and we’d pile them on the desk and pick through them with a highlighter to extract the information we needed before calling to arrange interviews.

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Does your CV profile say something similar to this: “I’m a former project manager with wonderful people skills and organisational abilities and a passion for sustainability. Having spent ten years in telecoms, I have a thorough knowledge of the sector, and am committed to using my experience to further the sustainability agenda?”

If it does, it’s time to hit delete.

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Recently I explained why your CV should be all about the market: appealing to the market, meeting the market’s needs, using the market’s language, communicating what the market wants to hear. Now, I’m going to help you take a deep, analytical dive into the job description to figure out what the market really wants and tailor your CV to nail it.

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As a career coach and former HR exec, I know first hand what makes a resume stand out. Equally, I know what makes a hiring manager drop a resume into the ‘No Way’ tray.

Many myths are propagated in relation to CVs and resumes. It’s a veritable minefield! In today’s blog, I’m busting some of those myths to help you avoid the common traps and shape your CV into something the hiring manager really wants to see.

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How many times have you started writing a CV or resume before you did a search for your dream job?

More than once? Every time? Neither response would surprise me. As a career coach with many years’ experience inside the HR department, I’ve seen the hallmarks of this approach arrive on my desk all too often. Which is why I’m going to give it to you straight and say: “Not so fast!”

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Your resume or CV is most definitely not about you. It’s a marketing tool. Therefore, it should be all about the market: appealing to the hiring manager, meeting the company’s needs, using the organization’s language, communicating what your audience wants to hear. A CV that goes into every tiny detail of your career history is absolutely not what a hiring manager wants to read. You have to do the screening work for them. Don’t assume they want to wade through and make sense of your personal work story.

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The one-page job proposal is clever, compelling strategy to find a way into the companies you are targeting. It puts the responsibility on you to show what you can do for a company in a concise way. Rather than focusing on who you are, what you do and what you need like a traditional CV or résumé does, the one-page job proposal focuses on the company: who they are, what they do and what they need. It’s basically a sales pitch, but one that’s squarely aimed at the company’s weak spot.

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I’ve been waiting years for traditional CVs and resumes to be fazed out, and it looks like the first signs of the revolution are here! Think about it – in an age where everything is done online, why is the paper/pdf-based CV still considered standard practice? Making matters worse is the fact that most jobseekers spend days agonising over their CVs just to have them glanced at for 40 seconds by an overwhelmed hiring manager. It’s hard to stand out when your CV looks just like every other candidate’s. That’s why I’m so excited to see creative, digital CV and resume options start to catch on. I’ve highlighted four of these options below, but more are coming on the scene every day, so if you know of one I haven’t mentioned, be sure to share it in the comments section!

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