The Poetics of the C.V.
4th September 2019
“To succeed in today’s job market, you need to treat your C.V. as an advertisement.”
- some thoughts
- quick poetry
- tidbits of advice
Jobseekers expect their C.V. to be the golden key to their search; yet, many do not carefully construct and polish up this document. I felt strange writing this post, giving advice to an audience of highly-talented job-seekers and hiring managers. I want to highlight that I got my current job at MCG&Co through crafting a compelling C.V.
This is my third month in the recruitment industry. Every day, I review at least fifty to one hundred C.V.s/LinkedIn profiles. If your C.V. cannot impress me, I doubt that it will fly by our clients. I have met with some really talented people who have not been able to convert their varied experiences and impressive achievements onto the page. I am becoming more aware of how candidates can stand out across the digitech, marcomms, and management consulting sectors. With that said, I would like to share this insight with you.
I hope the following points are salient to everyone – from classic tips for fresh graduates to modern trends for more seasoned jobseekers.
the c.v. is the key
to showcase your achievements,
to unlock job opportunities,
to highlight career progression,
to command another’s respect
and you underperform
and you lose out
clients and hiring managers,
help bring clarity to applicants,
craft your company’s narrative,
understand your culture and structure (or lack thereof),
stay consistent with your message across platforms
if you are a successful candidate,
your c.v. will bridge the perspectives of both parties
a marriage of principles and interests
helping you secure an interview
1) Declutter, declutter, declutter!
If your C.V. looks denser than my university readings, I will not be motivated to read about you (and even less likely to reach out via an InMail or a phone call). Explain your work as you would to a tenth-grade student, breaking down jargon into layman’s terms and quantifying tasks/projects completed. Distil your work into key points and keep them concise.
Fresh graduates, your C.V. can be a one-pager. Seasoned veterans, please limit yourself to three pages, focusing on roles over the last five years.
2) Get rid of that generic cover letter
If you’re going to include a cover letter, keep it personal. I would rather receive a short and convincing email of five sentences regarding specific incidences and examples than read your cover letter addressed to John Doe at Acme on Main Street.
3) Spell-check, edit, condense, proofread, and format
Ask your friends/family/professors/mentors to read your C.V. Use spell-check and several sets of eyes to ensure that your C.V. is properly proofread. Be sure to break down acronyms, as hiring managers could be from HR and not be familiar with the industry. Format everything nicely and save your work as a PDF–not everyone uses the same composition programme (Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, Google Drive, for example).
4) Write with intention and an audience in mind
Make every word count. Let your voice emerge from your writing, particularly if you are applying for copywriting roles. If you are a creative, infuse your C.V. with your imagination. The goal is to ensure nothing is superfluous–keep everything focused and industry-specific. In addition, be sure to understand the culture of the organizations that you are applying to. Ensure that your “personality” on the page is in line with theirs.
5) Font and sizing
Garamond is safe middle-ground. Out are the days of Comic Sans. Safe advice: sans serif for designers, serif for client servicing/office-related work. Ensure headers are in a larger font.
6) Optimize your C.V. for A.I.-parsing
With the digitalization of the world comes the digitalization of hiring practices. Your C.V. will go through some level of processing, either by LinkedIn or an organization’s internal systems. If you are a designer, ensure that your relevant points stay in the same text box, so your information is not misread by the machines.
Superior to this advice, I would advise you to be sure to optimize your LinkedIn for recruiters. With the advent of Easy Apply and LinkedIn as a job portal, your profile becomes so much more important. Tag your profile to “open for opportunities” if you would like to be contacted about potential roles you would be a good fit for. Stay tuned for my next post on how to ensure your LinkedIn profile attracts head-hunters and talent consultants. Good luck!