Why is my résumé so important? Why can’t I just impress the hiring person in the interview? Why can’t people see past my rough résumé, and see me for who I really am? What value does this piece of paper hold … well truth be told … that “piece of paper” is probably the single most important document when searching for a new job. A resume, used properly, is a powerful marketing asset and just as important as any other job search tool. It serves as your … to attract attention, get the interview and/or get the job.
In all likelihood your CV is bound to make the perilous journey across the desk of a recruitment consultant or HR manager on its way to the decision makers for the position you want. ‘Perilous’ because very often the calibre of your CV determines whether your application makes it to the starting line or gets eliminated in the try-outs. In order to ensure you have a fit and fighting chance and qualify to be in the running for a position, your CV has to get over the first hurdle of cracking the nod with a recruitment consultant or HR manager.
Think about yourself as the Hiring Manager or Recruitment Consultant representing a Corporate … a vacancy becomes available in your department and you have to find a suitable candidate. You place an advertisement and get an overwhelming response of candidates. The next step in the process would be to take on the tedious task of reviewing and short listing candidates based on information in their CV’s.
Whilst finding the best resource to do the job is essential to the hiring manager, the recruitment process is probably a dreadful activity which he/she would like to get over with as quickly as possible. In my experience, CV reviewing and short listing becomes a daunting task because majority of CV’s are either too long, CV’s does not match the job specification, information is scattered, information is missing, etc. So how do you ensure that your CV stand out from the rest? Here are a few tips:
- Best foot forward: Structure and order of presentation. It is important to prioritise the information on your CV so that what is most important catches attention first. Some guidelines for the sections of your CV should contain and the order in which it is best to present them are as follows:
- Target profile or high level overview
- Key characteristics, achievements and/or key career highlights
- Previous positions
- Personal information and contact details
- Qualifications, professional memberships and specific technical competencies
- Industry awards
- A CV must be written for the reader within a specific context and with a view to achieve a specific result. Look at the job description and draw the experience and achievements to speak to that on the front page. Although the basic content of your CV will remain the same because it is based on fact, you should be willing to adapt, edit and arrange the information according to each specific job you apply for.
- Your CV should justify your ability and right to function within a specific industry and designation, and at a certain level, based on evidence that you have successfully done so before. It should succinctly and efficiently qualify you to do a particular job for certain market related remuneration.
What do consultants and clients want to hear?
- Money saved;
- Money earned;
- Time saved;
- Increased efficiency and thus productivity;
- Experience at managing large projects and teams successfully; and
- Customer satisfaction.
And all of the above should be presented in percentages and figures related to bottom line.
A CV, used properly, is a powerful marketing asset and just as important as any other job search tool. It serves as your marketing tool to attract attention, get the interview and/or get the job.