5 Ways to Turn Your CV into a Job
Over the past 2 months, I’ve looked at over 200 CVs for our Designer role. The response, as per usual, has been amazing and we've had a lot of fun looking through portfolios, interviewing candidates and getting to know potential future members of the team.
We’ve seen both brilliant and not-so-brilliant CVs. There are a few things we’ve spotted that are so easily fixed, and doing these could take your application from ‘no thanks’ to ‘we want to hire you’…
There’s really no excuse for bad spelling. Misspelling words is as bad an impression you can give from a CV. They stick out like a sore thumb, and instantly cast a doubt in the hiring manager’s mind.
Not everyone is an expert speller and a lot of people have trouble with it. But when it’s your CV, taking the time to spell- and sense-check everything will, at some point in your life, be the difference between getting an interview and not.
Grammarly is a great little tool that can help you if you know your writing isn’t as good as it could be. It shows you any mistakes, gives you synonyms for common words and generally helps you to become a better writer!
Dear Sir, Madam
It's always tough. You want to start your application the right way. Respectful, but not over the top. Original, but not too crazy.
"Dear Sir/Madam"... It’s a pleasantry, and a very respectful one at that, but it feels a bit antiquated. I’ve not even been knighted.
This rings especially true if you’re applying for a job with us. We want to see you understand tone of voice, and this feels like the polar opposite of a young, vibrant social media agency. Nailing the tone of voice of your cover letter definitely leaves a lasting positive impression.
‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To Whom it May Concern’ can also come across like you’ve not taken the time to research the company before your application. There are occasions when you’ll not know the people you’re applying to, but for Sunshine, our names are all on the front page! There’s really no reason to not address us by name. Or even a simple Hello Sunshine…
This one seems obvious, but we’ve had genuine applications for a role that started with, “I’d really like a job at [INSERT] for [INSERT].”
You’re asking us to take time to consider you for a position. If you’re not going to cater your cover letter for the business, at least give them the courtesy of giving your application a once over before you send it to avoid calamities like this.
Not Doing What You're Told
If someone specifically asks for a portfolio, please don’t apply without one. You’ll not get the job.
A personal pet peeve of mine is people linking their portfolio in their PDF CV. A lot of plosives in that sentence, hammering home the point.
You have 10 seconds (probably less) to make a good impression, do you really want the hiring manager to have to spend 6 of those finding your body of work?
Make Yourself Easy-To-Find
This is a big one for us as a social media agency but these things will help for any job situation. We’ll search for you online anyway if we think you’re good enough, but just make the hiring manager’s life easy. List your social channels if you use them.
Your CV may be easy to find on your laptop under ‘CV.docx’, but if everyone did that, think how awful it’d be for the hiring manager to sift through?!
Name your CV something unique. FirstnameLastnameCV.pdf works. Have a very common name? Find something to differentiate yourself from the other 3 John Smiths who have also applied.