Having nearly 40 years’ experience in recruitment, we are confident that we could provide some useful tips to write a CV that gives jobseekers a better chance of succeeding in their applications. We hope these tips will also act also act as a quick reminder on the qualities that define a great CV for an applicant.
Every job seeker should think beyond just writing the CV, following up on an application will also make an application stand out for employers. The best way to follow up is actually a non-intrusive follow up email. Making follow-up phone calls is a good idea, however they should not be less than a couple of days after the application. Just like in the beginning of any relationship, being too eager or too intrusive too soon might actually detriment your application.
Companies are looking for people that have the ability to contribute to their future plans. So one of our top tips to write a CV centres on how you will bring value to an organisation beyond the job description.
Even though you may have limited information about the employer’s future plans, news about them in the public domain should help you to understand how your skills could be applicable.
An application for a drilling engineer would be a lot better if you highlight experience beyond the core skills; perhaps the understanding you have developed working alongside people with allied skills.
As we are a recruitment company, many candidates believe by working with us they will short cut the application process and some are even under the impression recruiters may use less than honourable practices to guarantee they place a candidate. Neither is true.
As the experts in people moves, we keep our reputation by ensuring the applicants we present to clients are relevant to their recruitment brief. However, given that we do this every day, we are in a good position to help a good candidate with relevant skills and experience present themselves in the best way.
Most recruiters are great networkers, they know how to bring value to a relationship, and you could take a few tips on that when thinking about how you communicate with a recruiter. Ask them for tips on where to meet employers and of course, take time to think about your relationship with your recruiting contacts from a networking perspective that might help you in the future.
People buy people first so think about your relationship with these advisors as part of the process of influence that is involved in earning a new role.
A lot of candidates get removed from the race for a first place job because they appear to be applying under their experience level. One of the highest rated tips to write a CV is to ensure your skills and experience are appropriate – being too good can rule you out as well as being underqualified.
Job titles and salaries don’t always tie up as the requirements for a role given the same title is often in line with the context of the size or reputation of the organisation. An example of this came across our placement desk last week, where a jobseeker having worked in a managerial role in a small engineering firm for 10 years applied for an engineering position.
The job went to an engineer with 6 years’ experience because the first candidate was overqualified for the applied position. For the purposes of this study, we checked the reasons for his application and he argued that his job doesn’t pay as much as the job he applied for.
It might seem obvious but tailor your CV based on the job for which you are applying. Also try to understand the business context of the potential employer. If his CV displayed engineer with 10 years’ experience instead of engineering manager – the applicant may well have been shortlisted.
Recruiters, especially in the oil and gas field, are heavily based on references and verification of education and certificates. We check, and re-check them as far back as we can. It is especially important in this field, as compliance with standards is essential to keep people safe.
Calling your previous company and asking about the reasons for your “Excellence in The Field of Oil and Gas Award” that you’ve won there, should not result in questions about its existence. Keep this in mind especially when looking for great tips to write a CV.
Having experience as a marine engineer, although many skills are transferable, is very distinct so applying for allied disciplines need to be approached with caution. Don’t waste your time, as well as that of the recruiters.
Your application will not even be looked at in detail if the obvious key words related to your discipline are missing from your CV. Keeping relevant to your domain is a hint we always give to people when writing CV’s, to the people experts ‘HR and recruiters’ it’s obvious when you are making up tenuous experience and talking-up non-exact skills.
This refers to your ability to verbally quantify your CV assertions. This applies especially to an interview, where confidence can put you above other applicants with more experience or better qualifications.
Particularly in behavioural questioning, the interviewer will be looking for evidence, so at the very least be sure you can expand on the summarised examples in your CV, not just repeat the same lines and better still offer some fresh material.
Believe it or not, recruiters actually look at your Facebook/Twitter and social media profiles. Having pictures of you wearing a pink tutu while partying for 3 days straight would not benefit your case when trying to portray a reliable, professional person.
Make sure you delete/remove anything that you think might damage your application, before starting your applications. Keeping an eye out and refraining from posts after the clean-up is recommended as well. Following all the tips to write a CV will not help you here.
The recruiters, as well as, identifying a good fit between a candidate’s skills and experience are also tuned into the culture of an organisation. Just like 80% of all communication is non verbal, much of a candidate’s and employee’s success is down to how well the environment enables them to behave closely with their values.
Sometimes this is referred to as using your emotional intelligence, in terms of understanding and evaluating ‘how things are done around here’. A recruiter’s job is to find people that fit the description that the business provided as close as possible. This includes the organisation’s point of view and decisions on how the candidate needs to demonstrate key characteristics such as leadership, tenacity or adaptability for example.
One of the most overlooked tips to write a CV is to make your CV match the brief that is posted in the job description as there will likely be some obvious give away attributes that will give you a clue to the culture. For example, asking for attention to detail may well be a sign that the organisation prizes compliance.
Probably the biggest mistake that jobseekers make is not looking at similar job posts. When you are applying for a position, the description of the job expresses what the company is looking for.
Comparing and contrasting the requirements that show up in more than one job description for similar jobs can show you what should be highlighted on your CV. If two jobs for a Civil Engineer position requires experience of using a particular brand of software, this means that this experience would-be desirable even for those job ads that don’t mention it specifically as a requirement.
So make sure if you possess the qualification they are stated clearly in your CV. Even in a competitive job market there are still some great opportunities.
Finding a good position is more likely if you pay attention to how you communicate with recruiters, market your CV to the most relevant jobs, tailoring where necessary and taking the time to see the clues to the culture of an organisation so both your CV and your presentation have an obvious fit with the employer.
We do give advice on CVs at the point of application so your application will reach its destination looking its best. However, to catch the attention of the recruiter to read your initial CV above the hundreds of applications they will see in a day, apply only for relevant roles.
Make sure you highlight the parts relevant to that particular role and be honest about your aspirations. Even if you don’t get shortlisted for that particular role and employer you make enough of an impression for the recruiter to consider you for new or alternative roles by getting into their talent network.
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