Targeted CV Writing
How to target your CV writing for any job advert
Having been a recruiter for 16 years I can tell you from first hand experience that recruiters, who wade through hundreds of applications, do not read every word on your CV. Instead they only scan read applications for only 30 seconds if you are lucky.
Therefore you have to ask yourself one simple question when applying for a specific role. What are the recruiters looking for? The answer is always found in the job specification or job advert.
Your CV should should scream out, “I’m the perfect person for this role” and this is how you should go about achieving that
Every job specification or advert will be split into two sections. First will be the outline of the role they are looking to fill, which is normally a brief paragraph but contains hidden keywords which need to be highlighted. For example the opening paragraphs may be:
Business Development Manager The Role We are looking for someone to join our existing business development team. The primary objective will be to generate new business opportunities with prospective clients, although there will also be a smaller amount of ongoing relationship management after we start working with a client. This relationship management can provide an opportunity to introduce our other services where appropriate but the overall objective is to ensure that the client remains happy with the service that Periscopix continues to provide. Most of our opportunities are generated through existing relationships, word of mouth and via our marketing activities. We make a small number of highly targeted unsolicited approaches, hence the role may include a certain amount of ‘cold calling’, but the majority of your time will be working on qualified leads and opportunities. Our key objective is to build long term relationships with our clients. We take a highly ethical approach to sales, are respectful of our competitors and never promise more than we can deliver.
In these paragraphs the Recruiting Manager has highlighted the key job specific skills that the role requires the appointed individual to have. i.e.
- Generate New Business
- Ongoing relationship management
- Element of cold calling
- Working on qualified leads
- Building long term relationships
Having identified these skills in the job description of the advert, you need to turn you attention to the next section of the job advert which is the person specification. Here we return to our example job advertisement.
The Individual Previous experience in our sector is not needed but some experience in a commercial environment, ideally in a sales or business development role is desirable. We do not have a 'hard selling' culture but instead look to to establish sustainable long-term relationships with clients to the mutual benefit of both organisations. We're happy to fill in any industry knowledge gaps but you will need the aptitude to learn about paid search, web analytics and programmatic advertising in order to understand how digital marketing can best be utilised in different scenarios and to assess the effectiveness of existing campaigns. There will be a steep learning curve but we will provide the necessary training and you will gain experience within each of these departments to gain a full understanding of our proposition. You will also need enthusiasm and drive and be able to organise and prioritise you own work effectively. You must be personable, confident, persuasive and articulate with the ability to work independently. You should expect to deal with a wide range of clients ranging from very small to very large and with contact points of varying levels of seniority and understanding of our sector. You must have excellent written English and be able to produce clear and structured written proposals, ranging from short documents or emails to extensive RFP responses. An undergraduate degree at 2:1 or above is preferred although we will consider other candidates in exceptional circumstances.
In every person specification you will find 2 types of skills highlighted. Primary skills (sometimes referred to as job specific skills) which are essential to the role and Secondary kills (sometimes referred to as Transferable Skills) which are common skills to everyday life and are ideal not essential for the role. Our person specification above highlights the following primary and secondary skills
Sales or Business Development Skills
Ongoing relationship management
Building long term relationships
Working qualified leads
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or above
Aptitude to learn
Excellent written English
Produce written proposals
Ability to work independently
Knowledge of paid search, web analytics and programmic advertising
Ability to prioritise own work
Experience of working with Clients of varying sizes and at all levels of seniority
Now that you have analysed the job advert you know exactly what the recruiter is looking for and therefore you can begin the CV writing process accordingly.
To increase the chances of your professional CV making the selection for interview, the primary skills highlighted in the job specification should be at the forefront of your CV writing, ideally in the top half of the CV where they can be easily spotted.
If using bullet points for a key skills section, ensure those that are more relevant for the job role are at the top. The secondary skills should be located in the appropriate sections of your CV but should never take precedence over the primary skills.
Quantify and support your skills
The most common mistake when tailoring a professional CV to a particular job advert is to add the skills but not providing supporting evidence. By adding context to a skill you are highlighting it even further and making it harder for the recruiter to ignore your CV.
Let me give you an example. You may have Business Development experience within the paid search sector and placing it on your CV at the top of your professional profile or key skills section would force the recruiter to notice this. However if you supported this skill with a quantified number, your CV would be placed at the top of the pile rather than the bottom.
Let’s suppose you were a recruiting manager and received CVs from 2 individuals with very similar experience and skill sets but the opening paragraphs were different. Which of the 2 following individuals would you invite for interview?
An experienced Business Development Manager with experience working within the paid search sector
A highly successful Business Development Manager with 5 years experience working within the paid search sector producing sales in excess of £1.5 million.
I know which candidate would be selected for interview if I had received these CVs
It’s a fact that numbers are more easily distinguished on a page and draw the recruiter’s eye to that sentence. Therefore not only does it support a skill but it also promotes that particular skill effectively to the recruiter.
Targeted Covering Letter
Having taken the time to analyse the job description and create a focussed CV that has impact, don’t make the mistake and send it to the recruiter with a generic covering letter. It is widely accepted throughout the industry that a generic covering letter reduces the chances of your CV being read by the recruiter significantly.
It is important to spend as much time creating a focussed covering letter than it is creating the CV in the first instance.
Putting this targeted approach into action will significantly increase your chances of securing that vital interview. However, if you are still struggling to secure an interview then one of our experienced CV writers would be happy to review your CV and provide you with some expert advice. Our services can be found on the website www.wewritecvs.com , any of the social media links below or by calling us on 0203 488 2214