1. Well known companies and name Brands

It may go against your grain but name brands still carry weight in the world of work. Prestigious schools and innovative companies carry the assumption that you are worth investing in as an employee. This of course does not mean that if you have gone to a lesser known school or worked in your dad’s startup that you won’t get noticed…it just means that well known brands are easier to recognise and carry a certain element of familarity for the recruiter and the employer.

If you have gone to a great school or been a part of a great company make sure you put it into your CV. Even if you have done some courses through a great educational institution make sure you write it down. Do not panic if you haven’t got anything famous on your CV! There is a lot more that people look at…

2. Keywords specific to your industry and experience

Recruiters deal with thousands and thousands of CVs in their databases at any given time. In order to sift through to the perfect match, they use something called boolean searches. This is when a few key words are used as filters and every inch of thousands of CVs are combed for those particular words. This is why it is important to be detailed in breaking down the specifics within your last few roles. It is seldome that two job titles with the same name have the same responsibilities and skillsets required. Thus, by labeling the specific skills that you need to fulfil your current role, you give the recruiter a better chance of coming across your CV for evaluation.

An example:

Job Title: Marketing Manager (June 2015 – Present)   (BAD)

  • Marketing Strategies
  • Manage online presence
  • Client Relationship Management
  • Makes campaigns to client specifics
  • Marketing Campaigns

Marketing Manager (June 2015 – Present) (GOOD)

  • Develop & Implement Successful Marketing Strategies across multiple platforms
  • SEO management of Twitter, Facebook, Website & Instagram
  • Client Relationship Manager (CRM)
  • PPC advertising (CPC)
  • Basic UX and RSS experience
  • Google Analytics insights
  • Manage R250,000 annual budget

The second example used specific keywords and responsibilities that a good marketing manager would know and engage with. These words not only explain more about the individuals skillset but also create a stronger likelihood of being picked up in a boolean search. The first description is too broad and could easily be a trumped up description of a 12 year old’s Lemon Stand marketing strategy that has no budget. Think about it.

3. A timeline that makes chronological sense

This is a big stumbling block for many candidates. A timeline that makes sense and is easy to read shows that the candidate thinks logically and understands the recruitment process. Always go with the most recent job first and work backwards. Recruiters begin by looking at the current position and assesing it against the vacancy at hand. Then it is a case of scanning for gaps. Are there short stints that show a lack of staying power? Is this candidate a jumpy hire that is going to be a bad bet to guarantee. Remember that recruiters are putting their reputation next to your name and it is more than just getting you in the door – they want you to stay the duration of your contract as well as this will mean more work for the recruiter.

It is not a problem if there are short gaps where you did not work or volunteered or travelled as long as the gaps are shorter than 6 months. Anything longer than that it is worth putting in your activities and being ready to properly explain what you were doing. Gaps carry a negative connotation and may cause a recruiter to scrutinize the reason you left your previous employer.

4. Mistakes

Nothing puts recruiters off your CV faster than seeing spelling errors, poor formatting and erroneous information. You might think this is a harsh point…but think about the fact that each recruiter might be sifting through hundreds of CVs looking for that perfect candidate. Mistakes but a filtering grade that you need to pass! Proof read your CV. Give it to your roommate, your spouse, your hairdresser and your dogwalker. Ask them to double check it for mistakes. Don’t give it to your mom! (She will most likely tell you how proud she is and suggest you put down your grade 2 participation awards! Don’t do it. We love moms!).

5. Potential and initiative

Our grandparents probably worked at the same job for 40 years and retired with a company watch. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Statistics SA reckons that they average person stays at a job just under 5 years before moving to better prospects (http://www.fin24.com/Economy/People-staying-in-jobs-for-longer-Stats-SA-20150210). Moving jobs is not necessarily a bad thing. There might be a better opportunity with more responsibility, growth options and higher salary. However, there needs to be a good reason that you would be proud to share when asked. Recruiters are looking for people that are growing in their career. Career moves that don’t show increase in responsibility might trigger a “gold digger” alarm and may signal to the recruiter that you are probably overpriced.

 

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