What can I do about my CV to get more interviews?
It's not you, it's them (and everyone else). Relax and don't be too tough on yourself. Here is why...
When times are tough in the jobs market, as a recruiter it is hard to know what to say when someone already has a great or even a functional CV / resume but is struggling to get noticed, I am regularly asked, “What is missing? I am not hearing back from applications. And some of the positions I am so perfectly qualified for!”.
Fortunatly I have only needed to look for a new position a few times so I know it can be emotionally draining and trigger self-doubt and anxiety especially if you have bills to pay, family to provide for, or you are really unhappy where you are!
So how much of a factor is your CV? In truth 9 times out of 10 it’s really not that much! Questions such as; 2 or 4 pages? Is my intro too long, or too short? Do I need to add my projects in there? etc etc etc. You can not change the past or read the mind of the recruiter, HR person or hiring manager. Let alone a A.I. bot if they are screening CV’s…
In a competitive market, there is too much choice when it comes to candidates. And yes, sometimes, a pretty-looking CV / resume will be chosen. And yes, sometimes, when a CV is littered with spelling and grammar mistakes, you do end up filed under “B” for bin! (That’ll be me then)
But on the whole, your CV in front of recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers is stripped back to the bare bones every time first and foremost. I am fairly certain, no one will read every word on your CV. They will see what they want to see or look for what they want to see. 1% will read your resume like a Harry Potter book (cover to cover) and 1% would be pushing it. Their mind will be made up in minutes of scanning your CV, so here is what they look at:
- Education & qualification – Where, when, what did you achieve?
- How many jobs have you had over how long? – too many, not enough?
- What have you actually done on a daily basis – for who, when, what tools or subject matter, and any achievements in there of merit?
- Where do you live and can they get to the office?
- Recruiters / HR – Are they within the budget?
- Finally, they might look you up on LinkedIn to see if you have any mutual connections to get a reference or simple sanity check you worked where you said you do or make sure the CV matches the Linked In profile.
The common factor here is you can’t control any of this at the point it’s being read.
The more questions your CV throw up the less likely you will get engagement and you do not get a chance to explain your past and bring them to the present day. In this context whether you have used Calibre 10 or Times New Roman 11 matters not.
Selections for interview are often subjective, for example if you asked 10 people to pick their perfect car, down the colour, spec, everything you would have 10 very different answers. Mine would be a Porsche 911, 997 GTS, in black, with gold rims. (I know, cool right?!) the same applies for interviews despite efforts recently to make people aware of unconscious biases .
In a jobs market like post-Covid and before the global downturn, you could have written a CV/ resume in Crayon and posted it through the mail, and you will have got an interview. Different supply and demand in the job markets dictate how much effort you need to put into searching, applying and the ratio of success you might have. If you are in a specialism where you have 100 plus people for every role, then you need a bit of lucky. On the flip side, you could be in a real niche area, where a company will be luck to have 3 people apply and still not be successful because the hiring manager doesn’t like something about “your experience” rather than your CV / resume. When I looked earlier in the year, some people didn’t like that after 10 plus years of hiring, training, and leading recruiters and multi teams that, I want to just be a recruiter. The fact was, I did not want the stress or demand of managing but to get back to hands-on recruitment, to do what I was good at once before. Then I can get home, on it to my young family to enjoy that and support my wife who has her own business.
Now, I would leave you with a few template ideas. And now there are AI CV writing services which I need to look into, the jury is out for me but there are a few excellent build-your-resume portals which do create a visually appealing resume. I would say that those in technical jobs, these are pretty good to show the reader what you know and your level of self-assessed competency so check these out:
As time goes on there will be challenges, so worth checking Google images and searching “CV formatting ideas” and look through the ones which stand out to you! Find the website and you could have a CV worthy of a UX/UI graphic designer. They make a pretty resume!
For more insights and discussions on recruitment and career development, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn under “Wesley Plumb.”