Overcoming the challenges of education and graduating with a great degree does not mean the end of the fight. The labour-market can be a tough battlefield, not only for the high competition, the insufficient amount of open positions or insufficient likeability of a company. The overall impression one can make on a job interview, the way one dresses, speaks and the manners that translate the nature of a person also make a difference. But before all, here comes what really makes a difference: the curriculum vitae.
The unexpected requirements of a CV you may have overlooked
The curriculum vitae, or in short, the CV, really sets the mood for the whole process of acquiring a job. However, basic requirements can differ from what one might imagine. Some information, such as the name, contact details, summary of education and experience, are unquestionable. But how these details are executed can make it slippery as well! For example, it is great to include a picture – an official one. Not from a wedding or a party. Similarly, e-mails are a must, however do not provide something unserious that does not include your name and surname (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). And eventually, avoid grammar mistakes – for obvious reasons.
Further details are nowadays highly appreciated, if not straightforward expected. For instance, a candidate should not send a general CV. It is good to adjust it to the company’s requirements. If you are an accountant applying for the position of, let’s say, controller, you should list your experience in the field of accounting, invoice processing and consolidation, and in addition, also mention where you got in contact with controlling, the projects and skills that are relevant and show your suitability for the job. Not customizing your CV for the given position is a very common mistake. If you want to step-up your game, it is advised to include facts and data about the countries you were operating in, the number of subordinates you were managing, the number of clients you were in charge of, and letter of recommendation, of course. Moreover, mentioning personal traits and hobbies became once again appreciated, because the humane factor is more important than ever in a company’s culture and recruiting.
How to style your CV without overdoing it
Recently, graphically designed CV’s became very popular as well. The question is whether the visual enhancement pays off or not. There are some fields where demonstrating creativity is crucial, such as marketing, but one must consider the unwritten rules and manners of each profession. In more serious circles, an overboard usage of colours, elements and fun infographics can take away the seriousness of the application and make the facts and information harder to understand. On the other side, smaller details such as tiny flags next to language skills, logos of software icons at IT skills are very welcome. They prove that the candidate put an effort into the preparation, made the CV more straightforward, transparent and easy to process for the reader by simplification. The bottom line is, playing around with the design tells something about the attitude of the candidate. Nevertheless, it should not take away the spotlight from the content but support it, because the content is always more important.
Delivering a CV: going loud or subtle?
The internet is full of success stories of people delivering their CV’s in disguise as a pizza-guy or through other creative ways, however it depends on the company and profession whether you can go crazy or not with the ideas, and if so, to what extent. As for technical solutions, a lot of people tend to use recruiting platforms, which make the handing-over a lot easier. On the other hand, they might lack the personal touch. Contacting the designated recruiter via call makes a strong impression and says a lot about the boldness of the candidate. In that case take into consideration that the contacted person has no chance to prepare for the discussion, so an arrangement of a further meeting is the most probable outcome. If you decide to call regardless, make sure you prepare a short but informative introduction about yourself and have 2 or 3 comprehensive questions about the job. Otherwise, the most common and preferred way of delivering a CV is via e-mail. One should shortly introduce themselves and refer to the CV attached as a document, which is usually a PDF or a Microsoft Office Word file. In case you are sending a different format, make sure that it does not lose layout formatting and stays compatible with the most common software in use. Also, be cautious so that it does not end in the spam folder, since spam filters automatically redirect unidentified formats, therefore they do not even reach the addressed person.
Tackling the suspense of waiting with a proper follow-up
After you send the CV, the company is supposed to contact you, even if they are not interested. But taking into consideration that there might be tens or hundreds of other applicants, the processing of all their information naturally takes a while, and sometimes it might be impossible to respond to all. For that reason, some of the recruiters have the capacity to reply only to relevant candidates. If you are hanging in anticipation, feel free to make a second try after 2 days. In addition, technical issues can occur from time to time and e-mails might not deliver as supposed. You should rather double-check before you really give up on a job that matters to you.
Given these tips from a recruiter’s point of view, writing a really good CV might seem a bit tricky at first, but it all breaks down to really logical requirements and successful, authentic self-presentation. Be specific, be straightforward and show that you care. But before all, it is even more important to apply for a company you can identify with, that shares the same values and culture as you do, and where you feel comfortable. Same beliefs and interests increase the chance of getting hired, and what is even more important, they also guarantee that you, as a candidate, will be able to integrate quicker and make a progress as desired within the organization. After making the right research, there is nothing else left than giving your all into a well-prepared CV.
Keep in mind that attitude is a small thing that makes a huge difference and think of all the opportunities a good curriculum vitae can get you. In that case, we wish you good luck and even better writing skills.