No matter how much the world of business and the gig economy is shaking up the way people choose to work, employers still need a way to see who you are; they need to see what you’ve done and what you can do for them. What can you bring to their business?
In a world where having an “edge” is essential, it’s crucial to have your work stand out against the crowd. As traditional as it still may be, a killer CV is still the best way to go — just remember to give it a punch by adding in a few modern flairs to get you noticed.
Don’t risk putting a potential employer to sleep with a boring old two-pager; your CV needs to go next level. Whether you’re looking for an internship, your first job, or your next role, here are seven ways you can put yourself at the top of the pile.
1. Get online.
Online portfolios and CV sites used to be a thing for creative industries only, but times have changed. Microsites like these are helping talent of all kind flaunt their stuff, no matter their specialty or field. Tailoring an online portfolio to list all of your experience, work samples, and testimonials gives a user-friendly, interactive way for employers to engage with your potential.
2. Showcase the experience that counts.
It’s vital you understand your own distinct selling point and make it easy for the employer to find out more about it, too. If research or study is an integral part of your portfolio, make it stand out with a domain name that makes it clear what you’re offering. Top-level domains like .study allow you to put the focus firmly on an exemplary thesis, PhD ,or area of work that you’re proud of.
Pro tip: Use your name or your industry area, and you can end up with a memorable URL, like sarahsmith.study, that tells potential employers exactly what they’ll find there.
3. Customize for the role.
It’s rare that anyone can have a single CV they can repeatedly use for every role they apply for. Smart job seekers don’t just use personalized cover letters and answer specific selection criteria; they arrange their CV to highlight the experience most relevant to the role they’re applying for.
Use the language of the job application to frame your relevant experience and make it easy for the employer to see you’ve got the goods.
4. Get the best editors on board.
Scarily enough, the Telegraph says you only have about 8.8 seconds to impress your employer with your CV.
If you’ve ever been on the other side of the recruitment process and read a pile of resumes, you’ll know there are a few quick tricks to get through them rapidly. The first step is usually a quick flick through to weed out ones with obvious errors, lack of qualifications, or those CVs that simply make it too hard to find the information you need.
Any mistake or typo brings your attention to detail into question. When you think your CV is finished, let it sit for awhile before you go back for another edit, then get someone to proofread it with fresh eyes.
5. Know when to draw the line.
If you’re still listing your high school job, it might be time for an update. Draw a line on how far back you go, and try bundling up earlier roles. The detail on older positions becomes less important the higher you climb the career ladder.
There’s an exception to this rule — if you find yourself applying for a high-level role at a company you had an internship with 15 years ago, don’t leave it out. That’s the kind of memorable nugget of information that gets you noticed.
6. Ask for help and look for examples.
Every industry can have its own idiosyncrasies on presenting CVs and the type of relevant information you include. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are bound to be lots of people in your industry doing great things with their own resumes. Why not ask for help?
Be bold and ask a company you want to work for what they want to see in a CV. If you’re unsuccessful in a recruitment process, ask for specific feedback. You might be surprised at how generous people can be when you ask for advice.
7. Change the conversation.
As the workforce shifts in favor of a gig economy where more people are working for themselves on a freelance or contract basis, an online presence is about more than convenience.
A proactive online presence highlighting what makes you special, like research or study in your field, allowing you to build an online footprint that works for you 24 hours a day. It shifts the objective from you searching for a role to positioning yourself so the employer seeks you out. Smart CVs and online positioning can change the game and make you the prize in the recruitment process.
The traditional basics of being readable, succinct and including relevant experience and achievements in a resume haven’t changed. But how you choose to present or promote them has. How are you showcasing what you’ve got on offer?