Regardless of your chosen style of CV, what wins interviews is its content. Your number of qualifications and a weight of experience won’t be enough on their own.
There are three very clear things to show, if you want get more than the supposed 30 seconds of reading time from a busy reviewer.
- You’re a solid match to the requirements, and therefore a no-risk applicant (15 seconds).
- You’re a fit to the organisation’s culture, and therefore a no-friction candidate (15 seconds).
- This would be a great step for you both, and you’re therefore a no-brainer interviewee (no end to the time you get).
Match the requirements
This is the ‘scan’ stage. On the first cut, with between a hundred and a thousand CVs or applications to go through, a busy reviewer will be entirely focused on scanning to tick a set of main-requirements boxes.
They’re there for a reason. If you explicitly show that you meet each and every one, you can’t be rejected at this stage. If you don’t come at least close to matching the qualifications and experience required, save yourself the demoralisation and just don’t apply.
It’s vital to put things in context for the reviewer so that they can confirm your relevance. In the case of a supervisory post, you may have potential, if you’ve only ever managed two people before. However, stepping straight into a job managing two hundred might be seen as a stretch.
Aim to fit in
Now the reviewer will begin to read your CV. They’ll be asking, “Does this look like the sort of person who would fit in?” Whilst that assessment can be very subjective, the onus is on you to show that you do fit. Your writing gives an impression of your character, so:
Look at the type of organisation they are. Read any articles and blog posts, especially from employees. Write your CV or application to fit in with their behavioural style.
Your opening profile statement
Make it short, sharp and to the point by stating what you are (making that match what they want), what makes you a great fit and why they should pick you.
Avoid rambling; it only wastes both your space and their time. Show yourself as an open, direct and plain-speaking person and the reviewer will trust you more.
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Show a great story
As the reviewer now studies your CV, you’re definitely in the frame for the job. Your odds of being invited for an interview have reduced to around one in two or three. You now have a new challenge. Before, you needed to fit in, now, you need to stand out.
Change your thinking
Ironically, your CV should not be all about you. Make it show what you can do for them.
Target the organisation’s objectives
What will the person doing the job you’re applying for need to achieve? Not do, but achieve. There is a huge distinction.
Focus on achievements
In your work experience, target showing achievements which demonstrate your capability for exactly the challenges they have.
Show your potential
This is a much overused word, often poorly defined and too glibly used. To really show potential, show that you’re a person who’s made things happen. Anybody can be told what to do, but very few take the initiative, work out what to do and then make it happen. Be that person.
Above all, the story of your career should be a compelling tale of progressive achievement that makes this opportunity the perfect next step for you.
It’s truly hard work to craft such a CV, but when you have, your capabilities, potential and motivation will shine through like a beacon. If you really want this next job, put the effort in and you’ll be rewarded.
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