Gustavo Linares
Founder
TalentHow
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Startup Contributor

How to Stand Out With a Strategic CV

By Gustavo Linares | Mon, 07/27/2020 - 13:24

According to the International Labor Organization, millions of people will lose their jobs this year due to the ongoing crisis. As the unemployment rate increases, many people are starting to apply for new positions almost everywhere. As you begin your job hunt, ask yourself these questions: When was the last time you updated your CV? Is your resume free of grammar and spelling errors? Are you using the right format? Are you adapting your professional work experience in every application you are submitting? Is your CV following the local labor laws of the country where you are applying? If you answered no to even one of the above questions, this article will be of great interest to you.

Your CV or resume plays a vital role in any recruitment process and will help you get the job that you want. However, it is also important to clarify that although the CV plays a vital role in helping you get the job of your dreams, there are other factors in the selection process that you need to consider, such as interviews and technical examinations. However, a good CV is the first step to getting you an interview, hence its importance. Your CV/resume is your first opportunity to make a good or bad impression with recruiters and companies. With that said, you should bear in mind that you don't have much time to make the impression. A recruiter reads hundreds of CVs/resumes a day and takes less than 10 seconds to evaluate each one. In fact, in my experience, it takes me three seconds to know I am visually attracted to the CV and detect any mistakes. Unfortunately, an unprofessional or disorganized CV/resume can lead you to the rejection pile, while a good resume will help you continue in the recruitment and selection process. Don't get me wrong, recruiters don't do this to be harsh. They do it because they receive hundreds of CVs daily, and if as an applicant, you are not making an effort to excel in your CV, the recruiter will not be bothered. Now is the time to fully stand out with your CV and gain a competitive advantage over other candidates.

The first step is to identify the ideal CV format for you. Currently, there are many formats to create your CV. From the American Curriculum Vitae (Resume), European Curriculum Vitae (Europass), Basic Curriculum Vitae, Standard Curriculum Vitae, Chronological Curriculum Vitae, Functional Curriculum Vitae, Combined Curriculum Vitae, Infographic Curriculum Vitae, and even Video Curricula. Why is it important to choose the correct format? It is essential because not everyone has the same work experience or simply because the position or country you are applying to requires certain personal information that you perhaps wouldn't put in your current CV. For instance, while in the US it's not illegal for you to include your personal data, such as nationality, age and race, or to add a professional photograph, many recruiters and hiring managers will pass on a resume that doesn't have this information displayed because it can make them liable to a potential discrimination lawsuit. However, based on my experience while working in Dubai, U.A.E., recruiters expect to receive a CV with a professional photograph along with nationality, age and other personal information. You must try to adapt your CV to each country you are applying to as well the language. In addition, some professions, like graphic designers, UX or web developers, tend to use an infographic CV where they can portray their creativity and design techniques. In other careers, such as accountants, HR professionals and financial advisers, experts recommend using a chronological CV, which is used by people who have vast experience and industry knowledge. This is the most appropriate format to use when your experience and skills closely match the requirements specified in the job posting you are applying to compared with a skills-based resume that emphasizes hard skills rather than your job history.

Now, let’s focus on the information you should strategically put on your CV. Start by collecting and writing down all of your work experience and determine what is still relevant and what you should remove. For instance, if you are a software engineer with over 10 years of experience but keep adding your first job as a bartender, I would recommend taking it out and using that available space to add more detailed information of your experience as a software engineer if you wish to continue on that career path. It is also essential and strategic to adapt your CV/resume to the job description you are applying for. Remember that most recruiters take 10 seconds to determine if you could be a good match initially. If the job post you are applying to states that they need an analytical person with leadership skills, and you do have those skills, but you fail to mention those required skills on your CV, recruiters might pass on to the next CV because of the large number of CVs they have received with perhaps the same working experience as you but not with the same skills or competencies. In other words, you can compete with 100 applicants with the same work experience, but not all of them have learned or acquired specific competencies and skills you might have that hiring managers are looking for. 

Adapting your CV will give you a strategic competitive advantage. And I know, adapting your CV to several job posts can be tiring and frustrating, but trust me, it does make a difference, and if done correctly, you will end up getting a job sooner than you imagined. It is time to focus on your CV and stand out from the rest. Stay positive and start your job hunt on the right foot. Never make the mistake of underestimating the vast power of your CV/resume in your job hunt.

Photo by:   Gustavo Linares