The new year is a peak time for job hunters, as those New Year’s resolutions about improving your career, achieving a better work-life balance and earning more money begin. It’s an extremely competitive time, so make sure you don’t fall on your first application. By brushing up your CV now, you can prepare for the new year’s rush. Heres how...
The ATS Format CV
Hiring Managers and Recruiters will be using ATS software in 2019 to scan CV's and filter out relevant profiles. That means your CV is scanned and mathematically scored based on its relevance and either selected or discarded before a human even sees it. So come January, it’s vital to choose a format that maximises your chance of selection by both a human and the ATS Robots.
The best way to save your CV is as a Microsoft Word file. This is the most common file type and therefore readable by most ATS. If you save your CV as a PDF, you risk introducing formatting errors when the CV is parsed. For a professional format which appeals to humans and computers, use a simple layout, left align text, no tables, use clear titles for each section and dont't use headers, footers.
What you should include
A traditional Chronological CV includes the following sections:
Profile, Key Skills, Career Highlights, Career History, IT Skills, Languages, Qualifications, Certifications, Memberships, Personal Details and Recommendations – are still very much required. As business becomes increasingly global and digitised, ensure you also mention any languages you can speak and any IT applications you’re confident using.
Career Highlights are often an overlooked way of setting yourself apart from other applicants. Career Highlights (your biggest and best achievements) are what will set you apart from your competition. It's your opportunity to provide hard evidence that you are good at your job and turn your CV into a sales document/business case rather than a list of jobs with a raft of unsubstantiated statements. An achievement is something that you have been involved in where your actions created a tangible and positive outcome (delivered business benefits). You should use specific examples and ensure the examples that you chose provide relevant evidence in line with the role that you are applying for.
In order to construct these examples, Bigger Fish uses a framework known as STAR, which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Actions and Result. Situation gives background to the example i.e. what was the problem; Task is the overall purpose of your involvement or capacity in which you were involved (which part of the situation/problem did you own?); Actions are the specifics of what you did (4 or 5 is just right); and Result is the outcome, ideally in statistical measurable terms using pounds, percent or any other quantifiable term.
Keywords will be an important component of CVs in 2019. Don’t just assume a recruiter will understand your everyday role based on your job title, skillsets can vary from role to role and different sectors require different knowledge. Look into the corporate culture of your intended job and establish the traits that a hiring manager will be looking for.
Analyse job adverts to see what keywords and keyword variations are required. Then, make sure you cover all of the relevant points in your CV to stand the best chance of landing an interview. You can also use LinkedIn to research roles and keep up to date with the latest industry buzz words.
A Project Manager, for example, will need to include risk management, budget control and stakeholder management. You may think this is obvious as it comes with the territory, but neither humans nor the ATS will know you have this experience if you don’t state the obvious.
Bigger Fish suggest inserting a section called Early Career and any jobs older that 10 years should be bullet point listed in this section. Recruiters are mainly interested in what you have recently worked on. Use 1 line to summarise each role:
Dates: Company: Location: Position Title
Including this section wil keep your CV neatly on 3-4 pages and as a new position comes into the top, the oldest position can be added to the Early Career section.
For more top tips from Lee Woodrow, make sure you subscribe to his mailing list here: www.bigger-fish.co.uk