I’ve reviewed a lot of CVs throughout my career, but every time we advertise for a new addition to our team I am surprised by the small, often simple and straight forward things that people do not do to secure their position on the interview short list.
Like most organisations, we advertise online and for every position we’ve advertised over recent years we have received over 100 applicants per role. The person who has the laborious task of reviewing those applications has to reduce those applicants down to about 5-6.
I use a simple traffic light system when reviewing applications: red – a definite no, green – definitely on the short list, yellow – has potential (and pending on the number of applicants on my shortlist, I will review and explore further to determine if they should be green). It may sound brutal, but employers will have a list of criteria they want their shortlisted candidates to meet. You need to be able to succinctly demonstrate the value you can offer the organisation and that you have the experience and expertise to fulfil those criteria.
To ensure you put yourself in the best position possible, here are a few things from an employer’s perspective I would suggest you focus on:
1. Call the organisation and show them that you are serious about applying for the role. At a minimum ask them for a copy of the position description, so you know the full extent of the role and whether you have the experience and capabilities to be considered
2. If you are asked to submit your CV to an actual person (where their name is included within the job advertisement), make sure you address your application to them. Particularly if you are submitting an application online as it shows you are not just applying for just any random role
3. Start your resume with a brief summary, essentially highlighting why you are a worthy candidate for this role and what value you will bring to this role
4. Keep your CV and cover letter concise. The person who will be shortlisting the application will work out within the first few seconds if you are a potential candidate or not – so don’t provide them with a 15 page summary
5. If you have a long employment history, only include the details from roles within the past 10 years. List your employment prior to this date, but if your future employer wants to know the details of these roles, they will ask
6. Ensure your CV and cover letter cover the key areas of experience and expertise highlighted within the advertisement
7. Ensure you have a LinkedIn profile and that it is up to date – if you haven’t quite convinced your potential employer you should be a green, and not a yellow then this is a must!
I love reviewing the applications, waiting to come across one that stands out and ticks all the boxes, like finding those potential pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. We have built a fabulous team who I love to work with, so finding someone new to join our team is a big deal. Employers invest a lot of time and money into finding and training their employees and we want to get our recruitment right.
I know that there are many recruitment and HR experts out there advising what you should do with your applications, but hopefully I have given you a few tips from an employer’s perspective to assist you in approving your job application so that you can secure an interview.
If you are serious about finding a new role and submitting a successful application then take the time to do your homework, find the right role and nail your application.