The job market is becoming increasingly competitive each year which means the traditional ways of applying for a job might not cut it anymore. Aside from being proactive and inventive when on the job search, you also need to pay closer attention to your CV. There are a few tricks that can boost your CV and help you stand out.
But before we jump in and look closer on the details, let’s talk a little bit about the important and often overlooked step to progress your application.
Research companies and jobs that you like
We’re so used to finding a job board, scrolling through job postings, and applying for anything that sounds at least a little exciting or suitable. But if you’ve made the difficult decision to change your job or even career path, it’s essential to start from a different place. Research the companies you follow or like, check their career and about pages, blog, podcast, etc. Then, try to answer these questions for yourself:
- What do I like about this company? Why?
- Have I ever used their product or service? What do I like about it?
- Is there anything I’d change if I was in a position to do so?
- Why would it be great if I had a job there?
After answering the above, choose 2-3 companies you really like. Now it’s time to upgrade your CV…!
1. Focus on impactful and concrete results
We’re used to hearing that the experience section on our CV needs to show the impact we had in our previous roles. You can use the famous formula from Laszlo Bock when writing each bullet in your experience section:
“Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]”
This formula turns everything into a much stronger statement. The secret is, don’t just apply it in your experience section. Use it when describing your skills or accomplishments. You’ll add a huge amount of credibility to your CV.
2. Tell your story
Curriculum vitae (CV) is a Latin expression which means [the] course of [my] life. In other words, your story. And so a resume should show your experience and achievements in your both your personal and professional life. We often forget the personal, when it comes to CVs. We feel it’s not professional enough if we mention some personality here and there. But employers focus on their company’s culture much more than before and they look for candidates that would fit into their team. They don’t only want a talented and experienced person, but also someone who is a good personality fit for their team and company’s voice. That’s why you need to show it to them! Tell them about what makes you proud, what you do in a day, or what you love doing in your free time.
This is another reason to check the company before you even apply for a job there. You’ll be able to see whether anyone on their team has similar passions to yours, which will make you more excited to work with them, and it will make writing your CV easier.
3. Show you’re passionate
In addition to your life story, it’s important to show your passions no matter how qualified your are. Not only briefly discuss what you do in your free time, but also the passion for the job or industry you’re applying to work in. You can do this through a few sections.
For example, volunteering. This is helpful especially when you’re planning to change industries. Imagine you worked in banking and want to move to a tech startup. You can show your passion for tech by volunteering at tech conferences as an event organizer, for example.
Why not show off your passion through side projects? Maybe you have your own podcast or a blog where you talk about something that’s relevant for the new job or industry. Or you organise events together with a group of friends. Whatever it is, it’s a valuable information for your potential employer.
Another way to show passion is sharing what books you love to read.
The most important part when sharing your passion is to keep it suitable for the job/company/industry you’re applying for. Leave the unnecessary out and focus on what that particular employer would enjoy.
4. Play with the format
We’re so used to the traditional resume format, a single column in black and white. In 2018, give your CV a refreshing look! Add some colour and make it a double column. What you don’t want is too many different font sizes, colours that don’t match, or other elements that will make you look unprofessional. The rule of a thumb is to keep it simple, e.g:
- Make the colors similar to the company’s colors
- Use one font only
- Add a few visual elements
- Make it double column so that it’s easier to read
5. Apply with confidence!
After you’ve finished writing your CV, it’s time to apply for that dream job with confidence. You can do this in two ways. The first one is to skip through the application process and reach out to the head of the department you’d like to join. It’s easy to find them nowadays as most of them keep their Linkedin profile up to date. Message them directly, explaining who you are and why you’d love to work with them.
The second strategy is a bit more time consuming, and it’s called networking. You can follow the company you like on all social media platforms and see whether they’d be a part of any upcoming events. Once you spot an opportunity, make sure you go to that same event and try to talk to them. You can even bring your CV with you and hand it directly to them.
Both of these steps will show that you’re confident in yourself and in what you have to offer.
That’s it, but…
Writing your CV is not an easy feat and oftentimes it feels intimidating and can be somewhat of a struggle. But if you look at it through a different lens; the 2018 standard one, it can actually be a great journey of self-discovery. So stick to these simple rules for success. Be honest and keep your audience, e.g. your employer, in mind at all times.
Have you tried any of the improvements I mentioned? How did it go for you? We’d love to hear your experience!
By: Tatiana Rehmova, Media Relations and Content Producer at Enhancv