Getting your CV read is essential to getting your foot in the door, landing that dream job, or vaulting into the executive. Thing is, no one wants to read it. Well, they don’t want to read it unless they know it fits all the criteria required for that job.
I like to think of it this way: I’m a huge Stephen King fan, so I’ll read pretty much anything that he writes. Doesn’t mean that I like them all, I couldn’t stand “IT” and never came close to finishing the book, but because his name has cache, I, and many other readers, will give his writing the benefit of the doubt. Conversely, when finding a new author to read, I scour Google for reviews and recommendations regarding different authors before even giving them a chance (and this doesn’t even touch on the fact that I only watch the same ten movies/shows on Netflix over and over). I would never just pick up a book and read it because, frankly, I don’t want to waste the little time I have for reading on a bad book. Maybe I should roll the dice, but I don’t.
How does the above anecdote relate? Many companies are now using some form of automated keyword searching and parsing tools to review CVs before they ever hit the desk of a human. Companies don’t want to waste employee time sifting through CVs that don’t meet the requirements and attributes they are seeking. They value their employees time, or at least the money they are paying for their employees’ time, and only want them to review “relevant” candidates.
If you are pumping out generic CVs, you are probably seeing a lot of rejection emails. That is because you are falling prey to the uncaring, unwavering, unsympathetic eye of automation.
You have experience with the “MS Suite of Products” but the robot is looking for experience with “MS Word” and “MS Excel”? Too bad! Eliminated!
You have lead projects through all phases of the SDLC but the robot wants to see experience in “Requirement Gathering, Designing, Coding, Testing, and Maintenance”? Tough luck! Tossed!
I, personally, don’t use an automation tool when reviewing candidates because, in my experience, if someone can put together a presentable CV, has demonstratable experience relevant to the role I’m sourcing, and is open to having a conversation, I’m going to get a lot more from talking to them for 15 minutes than I would ever get from a CV. People aren’t books, and they deserve my time.
That said, most companies will not put in the time to find diamonds in the rough. So, instead, you’ll need to be the low hanging fruit.
How do you make your CV the plumpest, shiniest, juiciest, easiest to grab fruit on the tree? It really doesn’t take much:
- Have a solid boiler plate CV – it needs to have a nice profile about you, highlight your education, certifications and training, outline your work experience, and be in an easy to add to format;
- Review the Job Description and pull the “keywords” from the description. If they want “MS Word” give them “MS Word”; if they want “Microsoft Word” give them “Microsoft Word”, you need to speak their language, because that is what they have fed their robot;
- Update your profile using phrasing and verbiage from the company website. Again, speak to them in their own language – it’s the old trick of acting like you belong there; and
- Don’t just copy paste – Remember, once you get past the robot, a human, likely the one who wrote the job description, is going to read your CV, and if they see that it is just a copy paste then all of your CTRL+C, CTRL+V work will be for nought.
Most robots are not that smart (at least not yet). They can only work with the data they are given. Luckily for you, that data is all in the job description, so use it to your advantage! If you do, you’ll be scheduling a lot more interviews and reading fewer rejection emails.
And if you want to talk to someone that isn’t a robot, drop me a line. I’ll be happy to help with your CV, job search strategy, or even introduce you to one of MGIS’s clients.
P.S. I added the “‘s” to “MGIS’s” because I just finished reading Stephen King’s “On Writing”. Says you should always do it for clearer writing. Who am I to argue?