Top CV Writing Tips You Need To Use Post Lockdown
Thrive In The Digital Age
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
TOP CV WRITING TIPS YOU NEED TO USE POST LOCKDOWN
If any of us have learnt anything whilst we’ve been working from home during the coronovirus lockdown, it’s the obviously huge reliance upon the use of digital technology we have in our working lives now; a reliance at a level that has historically never been more crucial; and that has without a doubt been accelerated by the COVID-19 situation.
This reliance on technology, although from our experience was already the case, has now recently become even more apparent with those also looking for work. Not only is a huge proportion of the job hunting process done online, but we write our CV’s using software and technology, submit them to online jobs boards, and even recruiters use automated AI technology to find and scan CV’s for the predefined skills and experience they’re looking for their next hires to possess.
Of course, the AI we’re referring to here are Applicant Tracking Systems (or ATS), which a vast number of recruiters use to eliminate human bias and streamline the recruitment process. However, despite the immediately apparent benefits of ATS to recruiters, it does, understandably, leave several job hunters a bit confused as to how best to create a CV to increase their job searching success.
While in reality a human recruiter or hiring manager currently still makes the final decisions, it’s a good idea to know the best practices for writing a CV in this new digital age we’re all in now. We really can’t emphasise enough, taking the time to do your research and optimise your CV will undoubtedly contribute to you reaping the benefits and job hunting success.
Let's look at each of these tips in a little more detail…
1. Use Online Resources To Do Your Initial Research
Just about all of us use it daily, from simple queries such as what the weather will be like today, reading reviews on those next ‘must have’ running trainers we’d like, to the more complicated fact finding queries for say a project we’re working on, the internet is a wealth of human knowledge, unlike anything we’ve had before in history.
The same is true of the valuable information you can find out about a company you’re applying to, and of the specific role within it.
Start out your research process by first visiting the company’s official online resources such as their company website and social media pages, this will more than likely give you a good indication as to the company’s values and ethos, and allow you to assess whether that’s a good fit with that of your own.
If you feel you need to go a little further with your research you could also for example, take a look at current and previous employee reviews on the company on sites like Glassdoor.
Not only will taking the time to do this online research help you decide if the role is really right for you, it will also allow you to be equipped with some valuable information when it comes to sitting down and writing your CV, and possibly, if successful, an interview too.
2. Tailor Your CV To Each And Every Job
You’ve heard it from us time and time again, but honestly, we can’t stress enough that each and every CV you submit really does need to be tailored towards the specific job role you’re applying for.
While a hiring manager can easily pick up on and discount 'templated' CV’s, recruitment ATS software is also likely to do so, especially the CV you’ve submitted just doesn’t match well enough with the job description.
In today’s ever-changing digital age, most job vacancies are posted online, think about it for a minute, ask yourself when was the last time you saw a “staff wanted” sign anywhere? Ah, the good old days of being able to just walk into a workplace and ask for a job?!
Nevertheless, despite these changes, the good news is that online job postings are much easier to directly apply for, as most naturally outline exactly what the perfect candidate for the role(s) look like – giving you the opportunity of deciding to apply or not at your own leisure.
The trick / tip here is to ensure that when you’re writing your CV, you check off any stipulated requirements a successful candidate must have, by using the exact keywords for that requirement from within the job post itself, this way if any AI is utilised in the pre-screening process, it will pick up on it – just make sure you can truthfully fulfil those requirements. There’s nothing worse than claiming you can do something on your CV and then you find yourself really struggling when it comes time to do the job itself.
3. Be Specific In The Detail
Throwing industry specific buzzwords into your CV can be great, but not when they’re not substantiated. If for example, you’ve got coding experience, what type HTML, PHP, JS? and how many years experience do you have?
Do you have a habit of using abbreviations or terminology that isn’t necessarily common knowledge within your industry? Is it clear what you mean? You need to craft our CV in a way that any AI and, more importantly, recruiter / hiring manager, who will eventually have to read your CV, can easily understand what you mean throughout the content.
A good way to keep things simple but specific is to back up your claims with stats - for example, how many people you managed within your team, what percent you boosted sales by over a specific period, or by what specific amount did you make cost savings within your department (one of particular interest at the moment!).
One of the best ways to take advantage of the digital age in your CV is to include links to any work, like a website design or digital portfolio, which highlights what exactly you can bring to the table. It can also worthwhile thinking about linking to your professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn, or even to work-related blogs and social media channels, in order to provide extra sources of information.
To help you improve your LinkedIn profile we've created a complete guide to getting it right, just hit to button below to read more.
On top of that here are some handy do’s and don’ts for your LinkedIn profile that you might want to keep in mind:
4. Spelling, Grammar, And Of Course Formatting
If software and/or technology is going to be the initial thing to read your CV, it has to be able to clearly see it, right?!
We often seen it in action, CVs with less than traditional formatting do unfortunately run the risk of being rejected by some of the less forgiving AI systems.
So to avoid becoming a victim of mis-rejection by the AI systems, we suggest the safest way is to write a CV is to use standard fonts in commonly used sizes, and stick to a simple layout.
And don’t forget to proofread your CV for spelling and grammar mistakes once you’ve completed it, typos can cause a hindrance to AI being able to accurately read the document – read it in person also, don’t just rely on the automated checks software such as MS word can do for you.
5. Be Truthful With Your Content
Don’t forget that any of the current AI or ATS software utilised in today’s employment industry that reads your CV, doesn’t make the final decision, that ultimately resides with a human; a recruiter or hiring manager. Its sole purpose essentially is to assist them in the initial stages of the recruitment process, its still paramount that your CV is capable of making an impression on the recruiter to allow you to get to the next stage on the process.
So, with that in mind, it’s essential that you write for a human, not a piece of technology. In particular, be truthful with any information you provide, because while AI might be fooled, it’s easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to do a few extra checks and catch out where you might have exaggerated about your experience for example.
At the end of the day, you need to cleverly use your CV to show why you, not just numbers and abbreviations, are right for the job, and why you should be selected over your competition also applying for the role!
While writing a new CV can seem daunting, if you know the top tips and guidelines to stick to, this new digital age we’re all now entering, which has largely been accelerated by the coronavirus situation, can actually become something to take advantage of rather than something to worry about.