With the volume of information freely available on the web these days, there is no excuse for a poorly written CV or Resume. However, as good as these articles often are, they tend to be somewhat repetitive in content. I’ve wracked my brains for stuff that never seems to appear in these types of article and present the Wise Man Say Five Oddball CV Tips No One Ever Talks About But Which I Think Are Important. Here it is:
There is no ‘CV Master Template’ which will work in every situation. As any job seeker who has transitioned to another industry or tried to look for work in another country will know, what is good in one context can be considered a faux pas in another. Take, for example, the continental European convention of having a profile photo in top right hand side of the CV. Go without it when you are applying for a job in Paris and you will almost certainly be eliminated from the recruitment process by Parisien recruiters. Why? Because you will be appear an outsider, and to the recruitment mind that simply means higher risk of not translating into a deal. Conversely, go with a photo when applying for exactly the same job in London and you will get an identical response from their UK counter parts. Sadly, in a market like this, it makes no sense to look like you don’t belong.
Lesson: Know your audience and localise your CV before you put it out.
2. ‘Geo Tag’ Your CV
So Facebook Places is out, but until someone produces a working recruitment app featuring geographical data, Job Seekers will have to ‘geo tag’ their CV’s the old fashion way. Recruiters always search with location filters in order to source candidates who are within commuting distance of the job. This is often done through the simple expedient of inserting geographic terms or geographic indicators into a Boolean search string. Of course the recruiter will never send you a letter, and he probably call your mobile ahead of your land line, but he might use “SE1″ or “0208″ in his Boolean search string. So when you don’t put these in, you’ll be missing from the search result, and potentially missing out on opportunities. Understand there is a trade off with privacy but when you are looking for work in a hyper competitive labour market, you’ve got to balance risk and reward.
Lesson: Know how a recruiter does his search
3. Keep It Monochrome
Come on now, you’ve got to know that putting colour in your CV is a high risk move! But still, we’re seeing documents with sky blue backgrounds, red underline and purple text. I can understand the logic of seeking to differentiate, but ‘colouring in’ your CV is not the way to do it. Outside of creative industries, err on the side of caution and go with a colour palette no one can complain about. That is black and white.
Lesson: Colour to differentiate? More likely to irritate. Play it safe
4. Exercise Version Control
We all love Adobe, but PDF’s are generally not a good idea when submitting your CV to agencies, job boards or even end employers. It might surprise to know that many have not downloaded the requisite reader to open the document, and anything that adds one more stage to the process of getting your CV read might be severely limiting to your chances of getting the job. Secondly, many proprietary recruitment databases do not have the ability to handle a PDF – you might be sending the CV’s, but you’re getting dropped out the system because of technical incompatibility. Thirdly, PDF are not readily search-able documents. The strength of PDF’s is that they can’t be altered; but can also mean that they can’t be searched by recruitment databases – and all that work you’ve put in to optimise your CV with relevant key words has been a complete waste of time.
Lesson: Assume whoever it is that needs to read your CV is less technically advanced than you are.
5. Fear Printers & All Other Hardware Peripherals
Print it out and proof read. And then get someone else on a different printer to do the same. We all know how unpredictable printers can be – no matter how far technology moves on, hardware peripherals remain a law unto themselves, especially in how they want to display your CV. Whilst it’s true that CV’s are mostly read on screen, its equally true that CV’s are always printed out if you get further in the recruitment process. What you don’t need is to put in the hard work of crafting a great CV only to see out of the corner of your eye a mangled document clutched by the unimpressed HR Manager just as you interview for the job.
Lesson: Printers are evil and the enemy of Job Seekers everywhere. Treat with respect and caution. Or with a hammer.