14 Tips To Improve Your CV and Ace The Job Interview
Read on for tips on how to improve your CV and ace the job interview.
Tired of job application rejection emails? You’re in the right place.
Over time, I’ve seen many job seekers repeat the same mistakes when it comes to their CVs and the interview process.
In today’s Letter, I want to share a few tips on how you can increase your chances of landing the job.
Let’s dive in. 👇🏽
(P.S. Get one of these posts each week:)
14 cheat codes to land your dream job
Remove your home address from your CV.
Not only is it unnecessary, but it can also work against you depending on the biases of the hiring manager.
It’s also not safe to share your home location willy-nilly (identity theft, anyone?).
They can know where you stay once they’re actually helping you pay rent.
Unless you were a straight-A student, remove your GPA and high school grade marks from your CV (remove anything related to high school).
Seeing those D's and E's can negatively alter their perception of you.
Furthermore, nobody cares that you got a C in English or Setswana — and unless you're applying for a scholarship, nobody in the real world will ever ask about your GPA. I promise.
Include links to your website, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile where appropriate.
Linking to your website or portfolio — especially if you work in the creative arts — shows that you have actual experience and boosts your chances of getting the role.
Linking to LinkedIn ensures that whoever lands on your CV can always view your latest work profile no matter what your resumé says.
Clean up your social media accounts and set everything to “Private.”
Employers can and will check your social media profiles — it doesn’t matter whether you think this is “unfair” or “unethical.”
You can complain or beat them at their own game. Your choice.
Get active on LinkedIn. It’s one of the best ways to establish your voice as an authority in your industry.
I highly recommend reading this piece about improving your online visibility.
Nobody cares about your hobbies, Linda. We all like to swim and "hang out with friends."
Unless you have interesting hobbies that’ll spark up a conversation with the hiring manager, save the space for something more important because…
It can all fit on one page.
Keep it relevant. If you're applying for a management position in your sector, nobody cares that you were a waitress for 2 months in 2011... unless you're working in the hospitality industry.
If necessary, create multiple versions of your resumé with related roles grouped together.
For example, you can have one for Finance and one for Media if you’ve spent some time in both fields.
99% of the other applicants will submit uninspiring Word templates, and HR has seen them all. A different design will catch their eye immediately.
Keep it simple design-wise, label each section clearly, and avoid fancy fonts.
Most importantly, include the keywords most commonly used in job descriptions in your field.
Because many companies today use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter out CVs and decide which ones to move forward with.
From the linked article:
“If a recruiter is hiring for an Administrative Assistant position out of 400 resumés, their first step will probably be a search for “Administrative Assistant.” This will [return a list of] candidates that have done the exact job before. Anyone that doesn’t have that exact term in their resumé is out of luck.”
You don’t want these programs tossing away your CV because they couldn’t find the right keywords.
Here’s how to optimize your CV (and LinkedIn profile) to beat the ATS:
Type [your role] + vacancy into Google. E.g. “finance manager vacancy”
Scan the results and take note of which keywords keep cropping up.
Include those words in your CV.
Go the extra mile. Gunning for that web design position? Do an audit of their website.
Applying to be a social media manager? Gauge their engagement, content strategy, and competition.
Show up to the interview with questions about the company, its processes, its big wins, and its bottlenecks.
This shows that you’re a smart, diligent candidate who does your homework. This will 100% improve your odds.
Track every job application in a spreadsheet like this one. Doing so helps you know which applications are active, inactive, or declined.
Always tie your pitch to their bottom line.
If you have a plan to increase sales, they will listen. If you have a plan to improve their marketing, they will listen.
By definition, this requires you to do your homework about the company. See #10 above.
They can smell desperation. Know your worth — and never accept the first salary offer. They expect you to negotiate, so take advantage of that.
Take whatever number you think you’d be comfortable with and add 30%. The final figure should make you feel uncomfortable.
That's your impostor syndrome rearing its head.
Read this excellent piece on how to negotiate compensation during a job application.
Applying for jobs is a number’s game.
In marketing, we work with a 3% average conversation rate.
This means that for every 100 applications, you might get a positive response from just 3.
(Unless you’ve got industry connections, in which case your success rate rises).
This is why having a job tracking spreadsheet is so important.
You can know at a glance whether you’re applying enough.
Remember: finding a job is a full-time job. Treat it as such.
Good luck with your job search.
Need to talk about your brand, career, or project? Get in touch.
Hit the heart ❤️ button for good luck.