In this world of instant gratification, the art of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has allowed your modern day internet user to find what they are looking for, no matter how niche, fairly quickly and painlessly. This is done by ensuring that ‘key search words’ are included through out the body of the web page so that your search engine makes it easier to find the pages that are relevant to your search.
You might be wondering how this is even applicable to applying for jobs; allow me to explain.
What are the key requirements?
When we post a job ad up online, we do that with the key requirements that our clients are looking for. As you scan the ad, these key requirements should become immediately obvious.
For example, I might be looking for a Digital Content Producer who has experience with copywriting and working with campaigns. They will have to have created EDMs using Mailchimp and will have needed to put together those templates themselves. They will have experience in briefing design creatives directly to help put these campaigns together.
What are the key points here?
The first point, obviously, is that the person needs to have had some former experience of this job title. If they’ve not worn that job title before, then working that job title and the requirements of the role into the description they done previously is going to ensure some form of look in, especially in the digital world where some jobs can wear variations of a title.
Secondly, the key requirements; campaign management, copywriting skills, EDM creation and distribution, briefing graphic designers. These are what the hiring manager is going to want to see in your application.
Are these key points in your CV?
Now look at your CV and assess, point by point, do you have experience in this area? If so, is it listed in your CV? What success did you have with this requirement? How do you know you were successful in achieving this?
Under no circumstances should you ever bend the truth on your ability with any requirement. If you haven’t done it, don’t include it; that would be misleading and you will no doubt get caught out sooner than later. However if you have had some experience with it, then you can ensure you mention it along with what level of experience you believe you’re at with it. If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, that process should help to determine if you’re at the level that they require to successfully achieve the role however the game here is to ensure that your CV has the key words that reflect the key requirements in the job ad. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? You would be surprised how many people fail to do this!
Make sure your key words stands out
Whether you agree or not, the whole point of the CV is to sell your ability for a prospective opportunity. You need to make sure that you present your CV to match the requirements of the job and that may mean quickly rearranging it so that the key points stand out on the page. Most CV’s don’t get too much time to make an impression and so it is important for your chances of success to ensure those key requirements are addressed at a glance.
How? Good question.
Have you ever seen a CV that is four to five pages of constant text? It’s not easy to see anything clearly let alone key points. You almost feel like you’re exhausted, having lived that candidates career by the time you get to the end of it and if a hiring manager is in a rush, there is a good chance that they will simply shut it down without giving it a proper chance. Sad, but true.
If you’re a creative, then this is the problem that needs your creative thinking to come up with a solution. Use of white space, font choice, font size, line spacing are all things to be considered in order to help improve the practicality of your CV. Yes, while this blog is looking at the comparison between SEO and CV’s, perhaps we’ll need to do a similar look at UX and CV’s?
Either way, taking on board this tip may make preparing for and applying for jobs a little longer but it is also going to improve your chances of success as you’ll be addressing the key requirements quickly and efficiently, allowing your CV to sell your experience with greater ease.
Speaking of online…
Don’t forget that some of these ideas can be translated to your online profiles. How often do you find people limiting information on LinkedIn to their job title, company and period that they were there. In all honesty, that tends to defeat the purpose of having a LinkedIn profile. You’ve created a profile to be found, right? If you have a job title (which is some industry sectors can be vague anyway; take a title like ‘Community Manager’ which can mean completely different things in, say, Digital vs Health Care) and a company name… and that’s all… it’s not really saying much about what you achieved there.
While we’re at it (he says getting up on his soap box), a good way to not be found is to use job titles like Freelancer or Owner or Creative Gun for Hire. What does that actually mean? Expand on it and allow people to find you, such as Freelance Graphic Designer or Freelance Social Media Specialist. You might think you’re being creative and witty with your job title but it’s costing you work, bud.
If you have any thoughts, questions or simply would like to get in touch with me and offer up a topic for the next Ask Lawrence, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me and connect with me on LinkedIn. You can check out more jobs by going to our website or you can search for them on Twitter via #CRJOBS.
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