Writing the right CV and communicating your skills in 1-2 pages is difficult. Especially, if one considers all the applicants applying for the same job. Differentiating yourself from the pack is your key to a callback and invitation for the interview round. This article provides you with strategies that got me to the last round or job offers at companies like Google, Accenture, Samsung, Dell and Microsoft.
The heading: Name, position & contact information.
You always have to keep in mind that the HR department reads hundreds of résumés within a single week. The majority of recruiters even only look at your CV for less than 3 minutes and then decide whether you make it to the next round or not. Noting the company you are applying for at the top of the paper is not enough. Instead, also mention the role you are applying for, so HR can match your work experience and skills with the job description. Also, keep in mind that bigger corporations may use tracking systems and that not actual eyes may check your résumé at first. A software tool may look for certain words in your CV and decides whether actual humans get to read your résumé.
Your pitch: 3 sentences that differentiate you from the pack.
Before mentioning your work experiences in detail, write a short paragraph about yourself because a lot of people don’t even look at the motivational letter that you send along. Think about how you want to sell yourself, be clear and yourself. What do you want the reader to remember about yourself, so that they are curious enough to continue reading. Consider that this section should include more information than the years of work experience and where you studied. Take advantage of the limited space available, mention in few sentences what cannot be read in the next sections.
Work experience: What value did you provide?
Firstly, no matter how big or small your work experience, always think about the bigger picture, how were you able to contribute, think in terms of numbers and skills. Always start with the most recent job you had, as the skills you learned usually are from the job roles you had most recently. This is especially important, if you are just starting your career, want to apply for a job that requires a bigger responsibility than you currently have, or if you want to change the industry.
Secondly, mention the time period of the individual job roles, the company and the job role. For each individual job role provide bullet points about what you were able to learn and contribute to the team. Most importantly, share numbers, of course you need to think about whether the numbers you are sharing are confidential or not.
- Were you able to reach targets or surpass targets?
- Did you have supporting roles or independent projects?
- Have you implemented something that wasn’t there when you joined?
Education: What did you learn from the people?
Mention where and what you studied but think beyond that GPA. By mentioning what you studied and the courses, that could be useful for the job role you are applying for, you are underlying that you deserve a callback. If applicable, mention that you learned from international lecturers, with students from diverse backgrounds, or that you studied in a foreign country. Explain how diversity and teamwork have influenced you personally and how this could give you a competitive advantage. Having had experiences like these make you stand out in the job market, especially when recruiters look for applicants with strong emotional intelligence.
Software and computer skills: What programs are you familiar with?
Don’t only mention the computer skills that match the job description. Perhaps you know a software program that is useful for a similar job role in the same company.
Languages: Do you speak more than one language?
If you speak more than one language or are bilingual mention that, regardless of how good your fluency is. This is especially important if you want to work with an international team, want to apply for a job that does business with foreign countries, or want to apply for a job in a foreign country. Additionally, if they see that you are capable of learning languages, they might consider you for job roles overseas.
Your free time: Are you willing to travel and can you drive?
Not all job descriptions initially state that the position you are applying for requires travel time. That’s why it’s important to mention if you are willing to travel or not. Also, don’t forget to mention whether you can drive because you may not only work in the office, but will also have externals meetings, or need to complete tasks that require a vehicle.
Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid – The reason for rejection is oftentimes not about the level of work experience or skills.
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