Have you ever wondered what others think of your CV or folio when you submit an application? Do you know that most recruiters unfortunately don’t have the time to read through in detail a 5-10 page document, for everyone that sends their profile over? The first ten seconds are typically the most crucial in catching someone’s attention, some would even say ‘’make that five’’. So what can we do as consultants to help our candidates effectively tailor their experiences, forte and projects for a better read?
With the available open source tools out in the market, it’s not as hard as it used to be to fashion a well laid out resume, or an online portfolio of projects, even with the simplest of technical skills one might have. While we won’t go through a step by step model on how to do all that, we’ll love to share 3 simple pointers to think about before creating these documents that will best encompass your work experience, career highlights and forte for a job application.
A. Be Concise
The best resumes that we’ve received tend to be the ones that clearly provide their career outline chronologically, from most recent to earliest, and are kept within one/two pages maximum. If you’ve had about fifteen years of experience for example and the first five years of your career happened to fall in an entirely different industry/role that isn’t as relevant to the one that you are currently seeking/or in, you might want to think twice about adding that two pages worth of bullet points that might otherwise not really mean much to a hiring manager.
Sometimes it’s great to show that you were entrepreneurial if you started your own business before or put in images of each and every project you’ve worked on since your internship days, but exercise caution on the information overload. Do be mindful of the information you include, and how it may be received by someone who doesn’t know you. Think about summarizing your experiences over a few lines. If you have ten pages written already, try downsizing that to eight, then to five. You’ll realize that optimizing the number of pages on your CV and folio eventually will make the content easier to digest for anyone who is glancing over. We would definitely recommend adding relevant and working (!!!) URL links of the projects you’ve been involved with.
B. Consistency Counts
Being consistent with your CV is immensely crucial. This is a good tip to think about for any type of position one is in. Whether you’re a strategist, a developer or an art director. You’ll need to include the right flow of information that reflects your expertise best. A good example will be a designer’s portfolio. What are the most crucial and favourite projects you have worked on like, or are you just planting image after image without giving much of a story to tell about your involvement in the ideas? Do you perhaps have a brief write up alongside your project to explain the problem and solution devised? Would you be able to present these projects in a way that anyone seeing it will have a clearer vision of what you do? Another example could be a business development personnel providing a good flow of projects he/she has maintained and won, their budgets and returns, scale of reach etc.
To chronologically list your most current to earliest position will also aid in the flow of showing the development of one’s career.
If you’ve happened to take on ad hoc/contract with multiple companies over a few months or years, instead of making it unintentionally seem like you’ve jumped around a whole lot, consider labelling year to year that you were engaged by companies such as so and so for contracting on projects.
A lot of recruiters spot a potential unreliable candidate when positions and hired periods are not labelled properly or if certain information, that might be key for the role they’re applying for, isn’t included. Because such instances happen unfortunately, when it comes to general interview questioning or reference checks, without consistency, sometimes candidates might struggle to explain their movements and progression well enough when they’ve not studied how to narrate their movement throughout their careers properly.
And for those that use social and online tools to upload their resumes, an extra pointer to look after. As we all know, for example LinkedIn has become the platform for professional connecting and online networking. It is important that the name you have on your CV is also the same one you have on your professional profile. Quite often, recruitment consultants and hiring managers, after skim reading through the CV, jump on to LinkedIn. So it’s crucial you are easily found over there – and don’t forget to use a professional profile photo too. First impressions and all that!
C. Add a Touch of Creativity
It might sound like something only a creative can drum up, but in reality with a little bit of effort, some dazzle can be added to make your profile seem more engaging and current. It could be simply finding a nice template for building your CV online rather than just going for a traditional word document format. Imagine if you were a marketing executive, you’d need to be able to show that you can market yourself first before helping others to market their brand/product. Similarly for a User Experience designer, it will be quite a let-down if your CV was bland and uninspiring, or if your samples of work were just simply image after image zipped up into one big oversized file. What sort of message would that send across to the hiring manager that is looking for someone conscientious, and who knows their specialism well, if they can’t do it for themselves?
It doesn’t have to be a visual touch, it could be in the copy, simply wording a nice cover introduction of your interests. Such as, if you know the agency or organization hiring, research more about their business and throw in a few pointers that show you’ve been following them, as that shows a level of genuine interest aside from just smashing your application anywhere and everywhere. It could also be modernizing your presentation of documents by adding rich media to them. For example, embedding show reels and videos of interactive demos along with your CV in a downloadable PDF or PowerPoint format, or adding links to projects or references of commercial works that are still live. While you’re at it, keep the file sizes as compact as possible without losing too much of the original quality. If your links are too long, consider using a link shortening tool like bitly.com to save space and give you an edge of being socially savvy. It never hurts to go an extra mile to tailor your folio and CV to impress the company you want to work for.
Here are some helpful online tools to explore:
- Looking for work