In the era of social media it’s easy for the candidates to reach HR professionals or recruiting groups. They usually reach those channels to ask questions and tips regarding how to get a job. And among the questions there’s a recurring one: are CVs or Resumes still important?
The short answer is yes. However I’ve notice that some professionals don’t recognise them as valuable tools anymore. This doesn’t help and generates a lot of confusion for a candidate. For this reason I’ve been thinking to make a guide for helping the candidates to make better decisions.
WHY RESUMES AND CVs STILL MATTER
To understand why a resume or a CV is important we need to think to ourself like products. Usually, before you buy something you start to look for information about that product. You compare it against similar stuff, you see which one costs less, which one is more valuable, etc. In short, your decisions are driven by information and by your personal tastes.
In the recruitment process it happens very similarly. That’s why these piece of (digital) papers are important. A CV is nothing more then a collection of information organised on a paper. A recruiter needs to process dozens, if not hundreds, of candidacies for a single position and he needs a way to do it fast. That’s why the CV still survives nowadays and remains a international standard in the recruitment process. It is a document which has the candidate’s essential data and it helps the recruiter in the first screening phase.
HOW A CANDIDATE SHOULD WRITE THE CV AND WHICH RULES HE SHOULD FOLLOW
You need to think to yourself as a brand and try to sell your brand to a person you’ve never seen before. It sounds challenging, right? Indeed, writing a good CV which catches the attention of the recruiter is not easy and, like any other market, the competition is very high.
Here we will report few simple rules which will help you to write your CV.
1. WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOUR SKILLS? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
These are only few of the questions that you should be able to reply before you write your CV or your resume. Examine yourself carefully. It may sound strange, but not anyone really know himself, his/her own talent, his/her strengths and his/her weaknesses. This should be the starting point of any career decision. If you don’t really know yourself and what you really want it will be difficult to write a good CV.
2. WHAT ARE THE COUNTRY’S STANDARDS FOR WHICH YOU ARE APPLYING?
It’s a good practice to understand the country’s recruitment standards. The European Union, for example, has proposed its own CV’s standard: the Europass. In the United States resumes are preferred over CVs, while in UK the CVs are first choices. It doesn’t make sense to send an Europass to a US company (in my experience it happened many times).
3. CUSTOMIZE YOU CV BASED ON THE SECTOR AND ON THE POSITION FOR WHICH YOU ARE APPLYING
A CV should be customized for a specific sector. If you are looking for a design job it’s good to be creative: you’ll show immediately your design skills skills. Usually, being creative is always good. You are going to sell yourself like any other brand, remember that? Online there are hundreds of good examples of creative CVs: try to take the inspiration but don’t copy/past someone else’s work, as a skilled recruiter will find out. You need to make your own work here, and I usually discourage to pay a company for making your CV (after all, they don’t know you). If you are going to be creative remember however that standard information should be inserted as well: being creative doesn’t mean not being pragmatic.
In short, a CV is a paper which already says a lot about some of your skills: analytical, organizational, written and design skills (just to mention a few).
The are other positions which don’t require excessive work and being creative can be counterproductive. For example, if you are going to apply as worker on an assembly line it’s better to use a standard CV.
4. GET INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY (AND IF IT’S POSSIBLE ON THE HR MANAGER/RECRUITER AS WELL)
If you really care to work for a company you should gather information about it. It’s a Fortune 500, it’s a startup, it’s a middle size enterprise? Does the company have a good or a bad reputation in terms of employees satisfaction? It will help you understand what’s that company really wants and if you are really suited to work in it.
Sometimes you may know who is the recruiter or the HR manager. If that’s the case, try to find information about him. Does he/she have prior experience? Does he/she have a solid background about HR and recruitment processes? What he/she thinks about cover letters?
If the company is new and the recruiter is very young, or at his/her first experience, don’t be surprised to see some bad behaviours.