The CV That Gets Interviews …

Yesterday I heard about a lady, who after seven months of sending out her CV diligently, is yet to even get a reply, let alone an interview, or the holy grail of a job offer. Seven months! She has consulted with a ‘professional’ who has assessed her CV and still nothing, not a single ‘thank you for your application’.
This inspired me to put finger to keyboard this morning in an effort to help you if that story sounds familiar. What can you do, what is a company looking for and how can you make sure they are looking at you.
Here is the secret behind the greatest CVs and the best information our combined years in the industry can give you.
Go for quality not quantity Sending out your CV fifty times in one day is not going to make you more likely to get a job. In fact the opposite might be true. Pick the companies you apply to carefully and know that you are a great fit for the role. If you fall in love with a company and haven’t seen the right opening send in a speculative application indicating what you can do and the strengths you can bring to the organisation because …. (fill in the blanks). Clearly mark your application as speculative and find the most appropriate person to send it to; most likely someone within the Human Resources department
Tailor your CV to each and every application I know it takes time, it is a fiddle and sometimes it will have you sat scratching your head but if you want the interview you need to look like a fit for the role. I was constantly amazed by the great emails I received from people that were the perfect match to the role I was working on, their covering emails were exactly what I was searching for. Then I would open the CV and it would contain nothing at all that was relevant.
During your career you have done enough tasks to fill a book and you are trying to pick the edited highlights for a three to four page CV. How do you do that? You read the job spec for the role you are applying for. Go through every item listed in the company’s requirements, go to your CV, create a bullet point and detail your experience in that area. Cover each point that you can. Don’t make things up, if there are two points that you don’t have at all then you will just have to miss them off, but for everything you do have, clearly list it. Do this for every role. So if you have had four previous jobs and you have been doing something relevant to the role that you are applying for in the last three, create the bullet points for each of the three. Often the other role(s) will have some transferable skills so, you will need to get creative, but with some thought you will be able to come up with an interesting profile there too.
The example I have created is for a Marketing Manager
Company ‘A’ Requirements
Your Experience
         Five years product marketing experience
         Seven years product marketing experience
         Running advertising campaigns
         Managed advertising campaigns for six products using online and paper based media
         Brand development
         Led the brand development of three new products which were brought to market to fill a gap within the B2C market
         Monitoring web traffic
         Took responsibility for managing Google analytics and targeting our efforts accordingly
         Social media management
         Created and implemented our social media strategy, driving 1000 additional unique visitors to our website per month for six months to date and increasing sales by £500K over the same period
         Customer satisfaction management
         Increased the profile of our organisation using customer retention strategies and social media to be more customer friendly and improve our engagement strategy
         Manage a team of three marketing assistants
         Managed two direct reports and had a dotted line report for our Internal Sales Executive
When the job spec from the company looks like the left hand column and the CV you submit looks like the right hand column, you look a great match. You might have done many other things that you are more proud of, or would typically list, but this is not about what you think about you. This is about what they will think about you. If the company wants what is on the left and you submit a list that doesn’t reflect that in any way, shape, or form, the fact that you have done all of the things in the right hand column will not even be clear to them. They will not be able to read between the lines that you don’t write and they won’t be psychic enough to work it out. Make it obvious. It is your job, to make their job of hiring you easy.
If you look at a job spec and you only have two skills out of the ten requirements listed by the company you are not a match and making an application is probably going to be a waste of everyone’s time. I would recommend that you have more than half of what they are looking for, so if there are ten requirements I would suggest you need six or above for the role to be a possible fit for you.
Remember there's no shortage of vacancies and there are more than enough companies currently hiring. You don’t need to try and fit your round peg self into a square hole. You just need to look for a round hole. This will not only up your chances of being hired, it will increase your job satisfaction when you get there. A key point to bear in mind; if you get the job you might be in that company, doing that role forty hours a week, for the next three or four years (or more). Is that going to be a good thing? Will it be what you want? Do you really want to make the application?
List your achievements
Make sure you list your achievements, not your job spec. A job spec is a list of tasks contained within a role. A list of achievements is what you have done in relation to that list. Make sure you list the latter. If you are applying for the role of Accounts Assistant then some things are obvious, of course you use spreadsheets, software and are good with numbers. What is it that makes you great at what you do? What have you done? Where have you been commended? What have you achieved? What do people compliment you on? These are the things that are going to set you apart from every other candidate, so list them.
It is your job to make your profile attractive to the company you are applying to. Take time to do this, do it well and you will only be doing it a few times before you get that new job!
For help creating a great CV or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at

Previous post:

Next post: