I have just been made unemployed after 30 years in the same company. I am not at all sure about how to navigate the new world of job applications and am struggling with online applications in particular and the notion of keywords. What are the main ways that things have changed and how should I adapt my cv to fit the application form? Any help is much appreciated.
This question is increasingly common – things have changed over the years, but reassuringly some things haven’t. A CV is your self-marketing document; it’s what sells you with the aim of getting you an interview. Nowadays a LinkedIn profile is more important than a CV – it should be consistent with your CV, but it’s the algorithms which will get you noticed by recruiters and there’s a number of top tips that’ll help. Here’s a link on how to get found by recruiters. LinkedIn is the 2nd best way to find a job.
The most proactive way to find a job is through your network – over 75% of roles come through a networking connection, so my advice would be to spend time networking; getting in touch with former colleagues, suppliers – people you trust to let them know of your career aspirations.
If you are applying for an advertised job online applications are typical and they can be incredibly daunting with many intimidating open questions which always seem to have very large spaces waiting for your answers. Questions like these, often behavioural or competency-based, are very popular ways of testing a candidate’s suitability, but they are also your opportunity to sell yourself. Here are some key tips:
When you look at the job description, highlight the keywords i.e. what the employer is looking for. Then reflect how you can demonstrate how you’ve done these keywords in a variety of situations. It’s always best to mirror the language of the job description so make sure to include these exact words so they can compare like for like. This is especially important if a robot does the first search online which is increasingly common. If you don’t have certain skills in your CV/application, your profile won’t be a match and you’re unlikely to get selected.
How to get your CV noticed
You need a CV that works for you. It is your marketing document, but you should be aware that the average recruiter is likely to spend no more than 2-3 minutes reading it. Recruiters spend most time looking at your current job, job title and length of time you were in post and the previous one plus your education.
Spending time on your CV will focus your mind on your skills and achievements – and is useful to remind yourself of this in advance of those networking and interview meetings. Networking and getting in front of the relevant “point of purchase” person is your Number 1 priority.
A CV is never a single, finalised, document. It is an organic document that grows with you. A CV is always rewritten for a particular organisation or job. Make sure you adjust the profile to reflect the role you are applying for; and you may need to adjust your achievements to reflect the needs of the organisation or role. You should adapt your CV to fit the application for in terms of the language used.
Tips to create an outstanding CV:
Remember the CV is just one of a number of tools available to market you…
*Liz Sebag-Montefiore is a career coach and Director of 10Eighty, a strengths-based HR consultancy. For more information, please visit www.10Eighty.co.uk.