Creative Job-hunting: 6 Simple Ways to Refresh Your CV in 2019
We’re told time and again to think outside the box to stand out from the crowd. Nina Mufleh did a remarkable job creating her Airbnb lookalike resume website, which achieved what she set out to do: land a job interview with Airbnb. Granted it wasn’t just the fact that the website looked really good, but also her in-depth research on the travel industry and well-thought-out ideas on how Airbnb could continue to grow and her ability to contribute to its growth.
But what if you lack the means to go all out for a single job application? While such elaborate measures are highly commendable and undoubtedly effective, they’re not always practical, especially if you can’t afford to put all your eggs in one basket. Perhaps there should be less focus on flashy or overly creative tactics, and more emphasis on highlighting the individual’s personality and unique skills through simple and clear communication coupled with a tastefully designed CV. It might not sound as exciting, but the goal is to strike a chord with the recruiter, who’s a human being just like you and I.
What it boils down to is simply this: put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. Imagine having to read hundreds of CVs or resumes for a single vacancy. How much time are you going to spend on each application? Here’s the shocker (if you didn’t already know): according to Glassdoor, the average recruiter spends a mere 6 seconds scanning a resume. They know exactly what they’re looking for, and they’re not wasting precious time on CVs that fail to interest them within those first 6 seconds.
So how do you compel recruiters to keep reading and interest them enough to want to meet you in person? We have 6 simple words for you:
Don’t complicate matters. The easier it is for the recruiter to find the information they’re looking for, the higher your chances of success. This applies to the complete reading experience: from the language used and content structure, to the way the CV is laid out and designed. The content needs to be relevant and customised to the job and employer. Only include information that’s pertinent; the objective is to intrigue, not overwhelm. Less is more.
It’s tempting to use industry jargon and buzzwords because it’s what’s commonly done. Don’t. Remember that your resume will be read by a human being. Use layman terms; effective communication means using words that are easily understood with minimal effort. It should (ideally) be simple enough that even a five-year-old can understand it.
A clearly written CV allows the recruiter to easily scan and access the information they’re looking for, which translates into bonus points for you. The same principle applies to the CV design too: graphics and design elements should complement the content rather than distract or confuse.
Get as specific as possible when citing examples of your professional achievements and work experience. Quantifiable achievements are always best as they’re the most relatable. Statistics such as sales figures, satisfaction index, growth %, team size, etc, all clearly demonstrate measurable achievements. Qualitative achievements are equally important, but should refer to specific examples, such as “Initiated monthly Job Swap Fridays, where everyone gets to do a different job for a day to encourage openness and curiosity to try different experiences, besides promoting understanding of the different departments in the company.”
It’s tempting to use the same CV for all job applications—we know what a chore it is to update the CV, much less edit it for every single application. That said, the more effort you put into it, the greater the rewards tend to be. By personalising your CV and cover letter to the specific job and employer, you’re showing initiative and a genuine desire to contribute to the company (as in Nina Mufleh’s case).
It might not be possible to do this for every application, but the more you understand the company and its challenges, the more insights you’ll have in tailoring your CV to meet their needs and expectations.
Is it (the information) relevant? If not, leave it out. The key lies in prioritising what information to showcase in your CV. Instead of overwhelming the recruiter with information overload, focus on achievements and skills that are most relevant to the job and employer. Word economy makes a big difference—time to hone those writing skills, or hire a professional copywriter to get the job done.
A tastefully designed layout with the right graphic elements coupled with compelling language can work wonders in shaping an authentic professional identity, allowing recruiters to form a personal impression of who you are. Your CV should also act as a teaser to entice and intrigue; give recruiters just enough information to pique their interest but not too much that they tune out from information overload.
Whenever in doubt, stick to the basics: keep it simple, relevant and personal. Recruiters have a tough job sifting through endless applications; the easier you make it for them to read and understand your CV, the better your chances are of being noticed.