Tip 1. Prepare your CV
Forget most of the CV writing tips you’ve been given in the past. In this new world order, you’re going to need to stand out more than ever, and there are specific things recruiters are looking for now.
a. Tailor your Summary
It’s not enough just to include the generic summary we tend to copy and paste about ourselves onto our CVs anymore. These days, to stand out from the ever-expanding crowd, we need to tailor that all-important professional summary to include examples of our work that match what the recruiter/employer is seeking. Check the essential criteria in any job advertisement and use your professional summary to highlight your experiences relevant to what is needed.
b. Make it Consistent
One thing we see all too often is a lack of consistency in CVs. Formatting is more important than we realise, not because recruiters are sticklers for detail, but because – as human beings – we tend to be visual. When we look at a CV, it’s not the design, colour or font we pay attention to, but the layout. The cleaner and neater the layout, the easier (visually) it is for us to process and engage with. Your CV can be as plain and simple as black and white text, but justified text and dates written in the same style (eg: December 2011 – January 2017 rather than December 11 – Jan 2017) make all the difference. Bold your headings and space your paragraphs, but it isn’t necessary to separate everything into boxes and colour code them. Finally, forget the fancy templates and try to send recruiters your CV in a user-friendly Word format, rather than PDF.
c. Be Concise
Years ago, we were told to keep CVs to 2 pages. As we get more senior, or where we work in contract roles, this becomes increasingly more difficult. However, what we can do, is focus on the details that are really needed in our CV, and less on those that don’t. So, what is and isn’t needed, you ask? Great question. Yes, we need to know where you were for those 2 years, so if you took time out to travel around the world, fill that gap instead of making it appear you completed one job and didn’t get another for some time. Yes, we need to know the core duties you were involved in, such as managing a project end-to-end, and what you covered off during your employment, and we need to know your technical skillset. But we don’t need to see lengthy lists of less specific tasks that prompt CVs onto yet another page. This detail might include your “delivery of excellent customer service” or “attending meetings”. Often, it is a given that you’ll attend some kind of meeting in almost every role. And, where you are listing specific duties – and where appropriate – try to keep your description to concise paragraphs, rather than endless bullet points.
Tip 2. LinkedIn
a. Use It
For years, Seek has dominated as the place to have your CV visible to recruiters. But with the emergence of an ever-improving Linked In on the scene, Seek isn’t the only place recruiters and employers are sourcing talent. Your Linked In profile offers us so much more than a Boolean search and a glimpse at your CV. A better connection, an ability to communicate, and a more accurate search function are some of the offerings of today’s Linked In, and recruiters are loving it. Updating your profile is the first step to getting in front of recruiters and employers, particularly when it comes to your current employer, job title and location. Posting to your Linked In account on a fairly regular basis also puts you in front of recruiters, even when we’re not recruiting in your space. If we are consistently seeing your name and what you do, you’ll have a better chance of popping into our heads when we do have an opportunity that would suit you.
b. Tailor It
If you want to be found on Linked In, there are a few things you’ll need to ensure. Firstly, turn on “Open to Opportunities”, as this feature tells recruiters you’re open to being contacted about available roles. You can find this feature under the “jobs” tab on your profile, and then the “Career Interests” section. It will also help if you complete all sections of your Linked In profile. This way, a key word search performed by a recruiter has a better chance of highlighting you for potentially relevant opportunities.
Tip 3. Be Open to Options
Now is the time to consider all your options. Yes, a permanent, full-time opportunity is ideal, but could you consider a compromise on some level? If there isn’t a permanent role in sight, could you consider a short-term contract in the mean time? And could that short-term contract possibly turn into another opportunity? Could you consider a slight drop in salary to get into an organisation where your opportunities might improve once you’ve shown your ability? Or, could you step sideways for a time? We always want what we ideally want, but in this market, could you be missing out on a possibly very bright future by not compromising on your ideals? A relocation or change of industry could put you on a path to success you might not have otherwise considered.
Lauryn McGuiness is a Recruitment and HR professional with 15 years' experience who specialises in recruiting Project Professionals, Business Analysts & IT Specialists. She currently works for Connect One Recruitment