I remember some years ago after graduating from university thinking to myself, how come so many people after receiving their degree were not able to find a job, even if they had good grades and working experience?
University professors were not helping to answer the question and instead were always telling us how hard it is nowadays to find a decent and fulfilling job.
In the beginning, I was expecting to be bounced or to not get any responses but, instead, to my great surprise, I started to get answers and to get invited to do interviews for various companies around Asia.
I did the interviews and here I am 3 years later, becoming the CEO of one of those companies. My company helps students from all over the world to gain a valuable internship in Asia.
During my time at this company, I realized why many people failed to get interviews and so they end up in a constant job hunt.
Unfortunately, it seems that in many universities nobody teaches the students how to create a decent CV and when they do, often they teach the old school CV methods that are not even formatted for today’s HR standards.
Here I will give you 5 tips on how to make your CV employment ready:
1. Tailor your CV for the position you are applying for
Most people don’t do this and actually, it is probably the single most important thing that one should take care of when drafting a CV.
ALWAYS consider the position and the requirements of the company you are applying to. Don’t just draw one CV and send it over to 20 different companies, in theory, 20 companies mean 20 CVs.
For example, if you are applying for a position of sales it might be great showing you had any sales experience of any kind, even if it wasn’t in a real company but in your backyard or as a part-time job.
Projects you completed in university, for example, can be used to show you have leadership experience and you are able to work in a group.
Other examples that can be used are sports, social activities, part-time jobs, and hobbies. Even the laziest and boring person has something that can be used on a CV.
2. The CV is not a resume keep it simple
Many people tend to write long bios and/or overly complicate the structure of their CV’s by adding unnecessary information that draws the reader away from the interesting content.
Another error that people sometimes do is to include graphs to give an idea of the level of their skills, which makes their CV really confusing and unprofessional.
A CV has to be simple and concise, well organized and easy to read by skimming through the various points, no more no less.
3. You’ll be judged
When a recruiter reads your CV, they will inevitably judge you for the things you write on it. Also, the smaller the company is, the more that other staff members will give their opinions on your CV.
- if you have grammar errors or typos, it will look like you didn’t put enough effort into it.
- An unprofessional or overly complicated font will show immaturity.
- Filling the CV with color schemes and graphs will make it look like you don’t know how to fill the space and you just came out with something random just to not leave blank space...
- ...Still leaving a lot of blank space is negative since it shows that you don’t know how to sell yourself, even a high school student would be able to write a 2 page CV with his interests, hobbies, experiences, so I’m sure you can too.
- If you use a template, remove the sections you won’t use or that are not needed. For example, if you are 22 and not married, there's no need to state it in your CV, the recruiter will have it figured it out already.
- In the hobbies part, don’t be too honest. I have read CVs of people stating how much they workout or their passion for dogs and video games… Except in the case in which you apply for a video game company or for a pet grooming one, please save these things for social media, not for the CV.
4. You wouldn’t read a messy document, so why should the recruiter?
This is a thing that touches me personally, as it has happened to me many times when discarding CVs, just because of the form.
A CV is a professional document, which you can be creative with but you need to remember that this is the document that you will use as the first impression with your future possible employer.
Here is a list of some things that I think you should always care about:
- Keep it within 1- 2 pages
- Divide it into sections and organize them logically (introduction, work experience, education, etc.)
- Use bold and italic to help the recruiter reading through your CV
- Use bullet points a lot, to be short and concise, so you will have time to talk more about these things in the interview
- In the intro state clearly, your name, surname, date of birth, nationality, link to your LinkedIn profile, etc.
- Add a picture of yourself dressed in a professional outfit
- In the working experience, remember to put any experience you had in the field you are applying (if you’re applying for an IT job, it is of no interest to display your cashier work at 7-11, but it can be of interest if you’re applying for a retail or sales position)
- Don’t overcrowd the Education section, only put your bachelor and master studies, as most recruiters don’t really care about high school
- Don’t list languages you are not able to speak fluently, as this is one of the most common things people check during the interviews, so don’t lie about this
- Add references at the bottom if you have any
- In the interest and hobbies section, try to align it with the company culture. If its a law firm made up of employees much older than you, then video games and traveling won’t be seen as great qualities. However, in a tech startup, it could align you with the rest of the team.
5. Always go for the Overkill
So you finished your CV and you are ready right?
You can already see the delighted face of the recruiter smiling and nodding while reading your perfectly drafted CV. You are confident this is really good so what else can you do?
Well, this last one can’t be applied to all jobs positions and to all companies but usually, you can send other documents with your CV. A good idea is to lay down a strategy or a set of suggestions related to the position you are going to apply for. This shows that you put some real actual work into it and that you documented yourself regarding the work of the company.
Your suggestions/strategies might be wrong because of lack of information but will definitely show to any recruiter that you did your homework and that you are really interested.
Most people don’t do this and they limit themselves to the CV, so this actually if done well, will really boost your chances of securing that interview.
6. (BONUS) Learn your CVs
This is a small bonus for when you eventually make it to the interview. Remember, usually, the initial part of any job interview is about introducing yourself and going through your CV. Don’t commit the error that many people do of not being able to talk about what is on your CV. From the first to the very last section of your CV, you should be able to explain the reason why you included a certain part of the reason why this thing helped you or would help you in your future job.
I hope that these points help you in your future job hunting, good luck!
Daniele is the Managing Director of Asia Internship Program, a company that provides internships to students from all over the world in companies throughout Asia. He has an IT background and he is also passionate about psychology, sociology, and marketing. His greatest passions are traveling and exploring new cultures, these brought Daniel to Asia where now he lives.