On most occasions, it is the CV that establishes the first connect between a job applicant and the potential employer. In a world of decreasing attention span, it is researched that a potential recruiter does not spend more than 8 seconds on reviewing a CV. This reality to a great extent, confirms that the first impression, created by the CV, could be the lasting impression of the applicant. A positive impact means that you have crossed the first hurdle of the match making process, between the employer and you.
What should one do to make the resume stand out? This challenge had a different connotation, when resumes were in hard copies and sent via post. In today’s employment market, most employers want the applicants to submit only soft copy of the CV- to be sent to an email id or at times to be uploaded on a website page.
There are some golden rules, to craft an impactful CV. First and foremost, the same should be customised to the industry and the specific recruiter. This means mentioning only those details that would be of highest interest to the recruiter. Think through the value you can add to the company’s success, and embed some of the content in the CV- even before the opportunity to have a face to face meeting.
By performing a thorough research of the industry/recruiting company, the words, language, etc that you use in the CV will stand out from the plethora of other CVs. Recruiting companies also, at times, perform key word search, as a means to shortlist the wheat from the chaff.
While the content is important, the layout and the visual appeal of the CV is equally important. Hence, information that is presented, highlighted critical content, usage of appropriate visuals, tabular formatting etc enables the CV reviewer to come to a favourable conclusion soon. It is essential that the Infographs, video series, stop motion film clips, website and such graphical material created is easy to understand and pleasing to the eye. It should flow ‘like a river’, guiding the recruiter’s eyes, without leaving out any important information. Creating profiles on Pintrest, Flickr is majorly relevant to sectors like design and photography where quality of images and design are the most important aspects to showcase. It also helps in getting audience feedback and appreciation of the recruiter.
While the CV is expected to be a reflection of all what you have studied, done at work etc, it is not advisable to reproduce ALL OF IT …your CV is not a historical document. It should focus on the most recent roles, achievements, projects/assignments, certifications, which positions you as a strong applicant for the role in a company. The details of your life and professional story can be amplified when you get a chance to talk to the recruiter. As the recruiter is not interested in your repetition of what is already on the CV, it should focus on the ‘what’, and the interview engagement to focus on the ‘why’, ‘how’ and other softer elements of your story.
The length of an ideal CV is getting shorter. One source mentions that a one page CV is all that is required to present the professional journey of 10 years. Hence, the CV should contain appropriate action verbs that highlight the contribution/results of the tasks/goals that you have performed. To ensure that you get the value of some of the work you have done, the CV could mention the link to a URL, possibly your LinkedIn page. When you progress to the meeting stage with the recruiter, you could carry an elaborate portfolio of your professional achievements/other distinctions.
A professional photograph is important, if the recruiter wants the same and/or the job you are applying for requires a certain personality, looks etc. As an example of how creative resumes could be used; a Graduate who wanted a job in his favorite magazine GQ, prepared the resume exactly like the magazine. This got the attention of the Editor, which was followed by a paid internship.
In today’s world, your professional and personal profiles are reinforced /diluted by your ‘footprint in the digital space’. You must ensure that you do not post content, images that could send a negative message. Your social media profile should be a reinforcement of your paper CV, ensuring at least that the former does not create controversy etc. In short, make your social media profile become a part of your image building for recruiters.
Some recruiters may value your CV in the video format, ensuring the contents are in proper flow with visually appealing aesthetics, with no technical glitches. You could even leverage, if relevant, your own web site. To give an example; a girl wanted to join Airbnb. To make sure that she gets noticed, she did not rely on the regular resume format; instead she did a detailed study on the company and its environment and made a website on it. She included her details, in the website, and made it appealing, using graphics. This effort got the attention of the recruiters and she got her dream job. It could be your turn next!