So last week I covered being kind to yourself.
This week let’s talk about the way that you sell yourself to a new employer. Yes, the dread CV. I’ve yet to meet someone who likes writing them, outside of the CV writing services. Below are a few myths, widely repeated, that should be busted. Working through these will improve your chances of at least getting a interview.
Popular myth #1
Make your CV application specific. If you are applying for a very specific role, with a specific company then yes please do, but chances are you are applying for tens, if not hundreds of jobs before you get a single nibble. So go for the middle ground, create a CV that covers the key points, skills and experience. Make sure that those are front and centre, on page one. Gather examples and base you CV on them. Find a style that suits and adjust to taste.
Popular myth #2
If a role is asking for a key skill, I can put it anywhere on my CV and the hiring manager will find it. Nope, see above about putting it front and centre. I have had the need to review over a hundred CVs in a day. Worse still they use AI to look for keywords. While reviewing those CVs, if nothing grabbed me in the first 30 seconds I would consign the application to the “Thanks, but no thanks” pile. To get your skills noticed, ask about for good examples of CVs from employers, Slack groups or even your university peer group.
Popular myth #3
Following on from #2, and this one currently splits recruiters and candidates alike I don’t need to provide a cover letter. If you have the ability to add a cover letter, then DO SO! My view is that if a hiring manager is receiving tens of applications that are all pretty much identical in skill level, experience etc, the only way to make a choice is to read the cover letter. Simply put, those without a cover letter will get rejected. Same with those that use template one from the internet or get ChatGPT to write it for them
Popular myth #4
Hiring managers won’t be able to tell if you have used a standard template or ChatGPT to produce a cover letter or your CV. Oh they will, especially if the hiring manager is a technical hiring manager. An experienced (or nosy) hiring manager will be able to tell you, at a glance, where the cover letter was created from. So take some time, find and read some good examples of cover letters and then write your own. Not very good at writing? Note down your key points then ask a friend or family member to help. If you have nobody that can help in either of those groups then Universities (if you are recent graduate) or local community groups can usually help.
With these 4 myths busted, review your CV, rewrite if you need to then get someone to read it over. If you don’t have anyone in your friend or family group there are some very good CV services out there. For about £100 you get a nice looking CV and maybe an updated LinkedIn profile. In my experience they are well worth using.