How-to Guide: 5 CV writing tips to get you more interviews in 2021

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It’s that time of the year again, new year, new expectations and for some new opportunities. Speaking of career opportunities, maybe you’re looking for a new job this year or maybe you’re not, either way, it’s time to get your CV updated and looking fresh.

The world is rapidly changing every day, especially in the labour market. The competition is getting stiffer, professionals are acquiring more skills and hiring managers are paying more attention to the little details when hiring remotely. Things are not as ‘easy’ as they used to be but it doesn’t mean you cannot overcome these hiring hurdles.

Let’s start with your CV. This is usually the first document any hiring manager will see before you will be called for an interview and when applying online, your first priority is that your CV gets you that interview.

Why is your CV structure critical?
Before your CV lands on any recruiters’ table, it would probably go through a bot. This bot is called the applicant tracking system (ATS) and what it does is sieve out the relevant CVs from the hundreds that the recruiter would have gone through without the ATS.

What the ATS does is collect all CVs and applications, compare them to the job posting and then rank the top qualified candidates based on the matching keywords from the CVs and “knock-out” questions from the applications.

Then your CV will get to the recruiter; they don’t see you, they probably won’t hear from you but they will see the 1 or 2 pager CVs that have passed the ATS.

Simply put, you’re not only writing for the readers, you’re also writing for the computer too.

So how do you beat the ATS and seize your next opportunity?

First Critical Tip – Always edit your CV according to every job description. Don’t have a one CV fits all. This is important because the ATS filters CVs based on the requirements of the role. If you want to pass this initial electronic screen, your professional CV needs to be tailored for each specific position.

What CV writing methods should you adopt?

Use relevant keywords related to your field and the job you’re applying for – CV keywords and phrases are specific abilities, skills, expertise and traits recruiters and hiring managers look for in a candidate. Keywords are important because the majority of companies pre-scan applications electronically with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which screen specifically for keywords and phrases related to the job. So when you don’t get called back for interviews, it’s not that you aren’t good enough sometimes, but your CV isn’t good enough to pass through the ATS before even getting to the recruiter.

How can you optimize your CV to include the right keywords?
When we talk about customizing your resume to fit each job listing, we don’t mean that you should write a brand new CV and cover letter every time you submit an application. Instead, it’s about adjusting and choosing which parts of your career story you want to be highlighted.

If you want to successfully fit each job description, you’ll first need to read it — thoroughly. Let’s take this Marketing executive JD for example –

Responsible for the company’s marketing initiatives. Uses market research and analysis to direct marketing strategy and planning. Production of all promotional materials and marketing campaigns. Reports marketing and sales results to senior executives.

Requirements
– Develop strategies and tactics to get the word out about our company and drive qualified traffic to our front door.

– Deploy successful marketing campaigns and own their implementation from ideation to execution.

There are several keywords here, see how you can translate it to your CV below –
Develop strategies – Strategists,
Responsible for the company’s marketing initiatives – Proactive, Researcher, Effectively developed marketing strategies
Reports marketing and sales results to senior executives – Effective Communication skills

Read between the lines and take a dive into the mind of the employer. Once you read any job description, ask yourself – “What are they looking for and how can I fit into this position?”. Don’t let desperation and the notion of “I want to be the first to apply” allow you miss out on these critical points that could either make you the loser or the winner. When you speak the hiring manager’s language, they’ll see that you’re the right fit. You can also look through the organization’s website, this provides you with more keywords that reflect their brand and values. Using these keywords, provided they fit your own values, will show you’re a good fit for the company.

List your Professional Experience from most recent to the most relevant – The purpose of a resume is to quickly communicate your qualifications for a job. The professional experience or work history section is one of a few key sections employers will look at to determine whether or not you might be a good fit.

No matter your position or level of experience, you should always place the most relevant and important qualifications at the top of your CV. Here are some ways to effectively organize your CV.

Chronological resume: For candidates with rich, consistent professional experience. Start with your most recent experience and work your way backwards. Feel free to briefly list out experiences that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying for.

Functional resume: For candidates with several gaps or changes in their career. If you have experienced career transitions and gaps, then you might want to list your experience in order of relevance rather than the most recent.

Combination: For candidates with a diverse background of experience or when skills and abilities are more relevant than work experience. This format works for fresh graduates or individuals that have been unemployed for a while, it puts more emphasis on your transferable skills and abilities may be more beneficial to potential employers. In this format, you focus on highlighting your skills rather than any actual work experience.

Throw out the irrelevant information – When writing your CV, ask yourself one question; “If I was the employer, what information would I be interested in?”. It’s 2021 and a lot of people still have so many irrelevant information on their CV. Let’s give you some examples –

REFERENCES – Available on request (This is so old school)
INTEREST AND HOBBIES – Getting to meet people and having a better knowledge of human nature. Driving, Travelling and Singing (No, no, no)
SCHOOLS ATTENDED – Nigerian Secondary School, Lagos First Nursery and Primary School, Lagos (We only need to know about your tertiary institution and above)
Multiple phone numbers
Unprofessional emails e.g hawtgirlcyn@gmail.com

Do what’s best for you and take these out right now. Recruiters only need information that will help them determine if you’re a good fit for the role or not. Narrow down your CV to fit only vital information; nobody wants to go through a 3 page CV that could actually be summed up in less than a page.

Your Career Summary/ Personal Profile should be enough – A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, career objective and professional profile, is one of the most important aspects of your CV. This brief paragraph should sit under your contact information, before your professional summary. You should tailor your profile to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to the role. Aim to keep your personal statement short and sweet, and no longer than a few sentences.

To make the most of this section, address the following:

Who are you?
What are your key skills and achievements?
What can you offer the company you’re applying to?
What are your career goals?

Don’t forget to write in the third person e.g instead of “my name is Eseosa and I am a copywriter and blogger” – try “ A steadily progressing content creator and blogger with over 3 years of experience….”

Get a professional’s touch – Writing a global standard, door opening CV is much more complex than you think. Now if you simply can’t do it or you just don’t have the time, we strongly advise you get a professional to do it. Don’t leave it to chance or hope your crappy CV is enough to get you a good job. A genuine CV writing professional will know how to exploit your skills, achievements and experiences in order to convince recruiters to get in touch with you.

At Jobberman, we have professionals willing and ready to give your CV the attention it deserves; our CV writers work magic, so bring it on. You can learn more about this service by visiting www.jobberman.com/cv-services.

Eseosa Osayimwen
I create content that builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.