Whether you’re in your final year of university or your first few months of educational freedom, it’s easy to be confused about the future. You might be completing your dissertation, moving to a new house or deciding the industry you want to work in but there’ll be one question looming over you more than anything…
“Will the right people ever look at my CV?”
It can be a challenge to write your CV, let alone get it noticed. But if you follow these quick and easy tips, you’ll be on your way to getting yourself past the screening system. So, sit back and load up your CV… it’s time to get serious about job hunting!
Optimise your CV for automatic tracking systems
An ATS is the software that scans your CV once you’ve applied for a job. Depending on the role, a recruiter might receive hundreds of applications per each graduate job. ATS are used to help find the perfect candidate, without having to trudge through an endless pile of CVs.
An ATS works on keywords. If you submit a CV that is not optimised with the right keywords, the recruiter might never know you exist. So, what should you do? Keep your CV easy to digest with clear headings, save your CV in a format that a computer can read and, most importantly, pack your CV with keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for.
This is easier than you think — simply read through the job description and make a list of the key skills, knowledge and attributes required. Then, include as many of these as possible in your CV.
An ATS could also allow recruiters to see all the roles you’ve applied to at their company. Applied for Operations, Marketing and Customer Service roles? This could give off the wrong impression and suggest you’re looking for any old job.
Don’t go it alone! Work with recruiters
Getting your perfect employer to look at your CV need not be lonely or difficult. Thanks to the efforts of recruiters, finding a job — whether it is a graduate job, internship or your next step on the career ladder — can be easier.
Recruiters take the stress of job searches off because they know the market far better than employees. They are being paid to find the right people, so they will know what you need on your CV, where skill gaps are and which companies are looking for people like you.
Working with a recruiter might be intimidating for a graduate who has never had that experience before, but it can come with huge benefits — so why not give it a try?
Upload your CV to several job sites, not just one
Uploading your CV in the right places could help you to discover the best roles, with the added benefit of allowing recruiters reach out to you personally.
Hunting for a graduate job is not an easy process, but spending some time uploading your CV to as many relevant job sites as possible can seriously bolster the job hunting process. Best of all, uploading your CV is usually quick and easy.
The more places your CV is in, the more chance you have — and you might even find that you get headhunted for your perfect role! It’s a win-win.
Start making speculative applications as soon as you can
Is there somewhere you really want to work? You could wait months for them to have a job suitable for you, so sometimes it pays to show initiative and reach out to them yourself. This is called a speculative application.
Find a relevant person to reach out to, such as a recruiter, HR or hiring manager. Then, write up a personalised cover letter which is full of information about why you want to work for them, how you can add value to their company and what skills and knowledge you could bring to the team.
Remember that the potential employer isn’t expecting your application, so try a bit harder to get them to read your application by making your CV and cover letter highly tailored and relevant to them specifically.
These four quick tips will help the right people see your CV, but there’s one last tip for those truly serious: dedicate a good amount of time a week to getting your CV out there and don’t give up. Ultimately, you’ll only get as much out of it as you put in, but with commitment, you’ll secure your dream graduate role in no time.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.