Monday, December 24, 2012

Job Search: What Your CV Must Say

“…but I can do that.” Words we have heard all to often as candidates try to defend themselves, when we tell them why they were not put on the shortlist, or why they were not chosen to go for the final interview. Ever find yourself in this position?

Make it easy for yourself to get a job by ensuring that you have the right language on your CV. This is critical if you consider that some Human Resource Managers receive anywhere between 50 and 5,000 job applications for a vacancy and the time spent on reviewing a CV is usually less than one minute.

Let’s look at how you can avoid finding yourself in this situation. When we receive your CV we scan it looking for words that help identify you as a potential candidate so we may put you in the shortlisted group of candidate. To be one of these hopefuls there are a few things your CV must say.

Make sure your CV has the right keywords for the position that you are applying for without this it will be hard for the recruiter to tell that you are relevant for the job. Here are simple ways to find what should go on your CV.

1.    Pick word from the Job ad. The job ad defines the job title, experience, skills and qualifications that are required by and employer. When going through the job ad ensure you highlight these to put in your CV.

2.    Research the Job Description. Key in the information on the job online, you will notice common words appearing which you can use, where appropriate in your CV. Be careful that you use the words that correctly portray your work experience, or you will find that the words you are using have overshot the mark. This means you write skills and experience that you are not yet able to do. This may put you in a negative position when you are interviewed on the basis of your CV.

3.    Research the Company. Go to the company website, if they have one and look at the language that is used in that field or industry. Once you find common terms from this search you may find a way to work them into your CV.
Chances are you may already have some keywords on your CV, but for maximum impact, consider the following:

•    Positions/Titles - Employers are searching CVs that contain a matching title for the open position or a level below the position to secure candidates with the relevant experience and skills. Whether you are applying for an “Administrative Assistant,” “Marketing Manager” or “Software Engineer” position, make sure that your work experience can easily be related to this position as you write the prior experience to show you have this skill present. If you happen to have a title that is unique or a less commonly known term, change it to reflect the common term employers will understand and that is the functional equivalent to the position you held.

•    Previous Work Experiences or Professional Skills - While detailing specific achievements and accomplishment with each of your previous positions have these keywords in your duties and responsibilities. This will convince them that you are familiar with the skills they are looking for and have the right approach.

•    Education/Workshops and Training - Certain employers seek candidates that come from specific institutions for instance, a client may ask for an accountant that is a CPA (K) and will not be willing to take a CPA Finalist. This may be because the duties that the CPA (K) can perform that Finalist cannot. Part IV candidate. Again ensure that the  “Education” section of your CV has the appropriate wording. It’s also helpful to include specific certifications you have received from training that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

•    Key Skills -  is a section on the first page of your CV. It should highlight the experience that you have that makes you an efficient employee and also mention the skills that make you a good match. This should also have keywords and should be extracted from the duties and responsibilities of your previous employment.

The more often keywords in your CV match with the requirements the greater the chance your CV will be reviewed and considered. Take caution however not to use so many keywords in your CV that it stops making sense. When you are able to use key works in your CV it will be as if you are speaking their language and it is more likely that you will be chosen to fill the vacant position that you seek. Make sure you review your CV for keywords before sending in your application.


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