EMBRACE CHANGING TIMES FOR CV SUCCESS
The new year is a peak time for job hunting and for businesses to recruit new talent. We know that you are likely to be searching out those opportunities to progress your career and it’s a good time of year to address and rebalance a better work life balance. You may be looking at ways of increasing your earning potential.
It’s vital that you don’t fall at the first hurdle and a well thought out CV is still a very important part of that journey.
TECHNOLOGY IS PLAYING A BIG PART
Businesses and recruiters are using applicant tracking systems (ATS software) more than ever to sift CVs before they are presented to a recruiter. The software is designed to scan and analyse your CV for certain words which will lead your CV to be selected or rejected at that early stage. So, your words, format, style and content become more critical than it ever has been.
In short, not all companies are reading CVs as they may have previously. The human element is changing. So let’s look at the basics of applicant tracking systems and how you can optimise your chances of your CV being ranked highly and you being invited to interview.
THE ATS IS:
- Searching for applicants based on specific criteria and key words.
- Working to support equal opportunities and discrimination prevention in hiring.
- Categorising all applicants to be looked at in the same format.
- It is suggested that 70% of CVs are not formatted in a way that is matching the format required for the ATS.
With that in mind, you need to reach the top of the rankings in order to be considered for interview. So, you need to get this right.
- Applicants don’t match their CV content to the job description key skills
- CVs are saved as PDFs rather than word documents making it harder for the system to scan
- Coloured text is used rather than black
- Unusual fonts are used other than Arial or Calibri
- Graphics or text boxes are used which confuses the formatting
INFORMATION YOU SHOULD INCLUDE
Focussing on the basics is always the best approach – the critical information is;
- Clear and full contact information
- A concise personal profile
- Your education and qualifications
- Specific skills and your work experience
- As business becomes increasingly global and digitised, ensure you also add in multiple languages you speak and the IT systems that you’re confident using
What you have achieved is frequently overlooked and this is what sets you apart from other applicants. Think about times where you’ve gone above and beyond in your job, times you’ve added real value, awards you’ve won an what you’ve delivered to a business or team. Back up your achievements with numbers and proof of the success where possible. Being able to prove your claims with evidence, is essential.
Make sure that the reader fully understands your role and everyday duties as well as your job title, which can vary from company to company. As mentioned, it is crucial to match keywords which relate to the job description that you’re applying for.
Match your key skills to the type of role you’re targeting and carefully read the job advert to see what is being asked for. Then, make sure you cover all the important points in your CV.
What do you need to leave out?
It’s less common to add in personal interests and hobbies. They rarely add value to your application so consider not putting them in at all. If you do want to include something about your personality and interests, then make sure they are just adding a flavour of what you enjoy doing outside of work but without being too in depth or likely to cause too many questions!
Ensure you tailor your CV
When you’re happy that your CV reflects the very best version of you, go back through and check again to ensure that it reflects the job that you’re applying for. Check on keywords and the similarities in what you have to offer versus what the job specification is asking for. You want to be sure that your application mirrors what is required as much as possible.
Do make sure you have checked spelling, grammar and layout. Make sure someone checks it over for you before you press send – a fresh pair of eyes is important.