6 HR Insights You Should Have Before Submitting Your Job Application
In our initial blog called “What do European graduates have in common with cheetah when hunting for a job?”, we offered 3 basic steps to help graduates improve their job search experience and reach their goals faster. In our approach, the second step was explaining the need for focus throughout the job application process. In this third manual, we would like to direct your attention towards important elements that every strong CV should have.
Wouldn’t it be great to better understand how your CV gets screened before you actually applied for your dream job? Bringing years of HR experience to the table, we at Grit International have collectively looked at thousands of CVs, so we have decided to condense our expertise into the most important tips.
When looking at CVs, this is what we were hoping to find:
A good structure enables recruiters to grasp important information with a brief downwards scroll. This may sound basic, but it is crucial for all people who have to screen many CVs in a short time. Good structure also includes consistency. Make sure that you follow a consistent logic in terms of formatting (for instance: the dates). These tips especially apply if you decide to go with your own template.
It’s key that everyone understands your core competencies and key achievements. Especially if you are in a very technical job, keep in mind that the first screening is usually done by HR or other non-functional experts. Avoid too much jargon and detailed technical descriptions.
In terms of content, try to make your CV as lean as possible and focus on what is really relevant to the position. For example, if you have a Master’s degree, details about your primary school education don’t add value, but instead just take up valuable space.
How do you determine relevance? A recruiter looks for examples that confirm that you have the skills and capabilities as described in the job add. Confirmation of skills comes from the type of company you worked for, projects you participated in, or former roles you held. Even if your experience up to now has not been formal, since you were a student, try to find relevant evidence in your daily activities and social engagement that could serve as proof of your great potential to grow and learn.
We mentioned that recruiters first and foremost look for proof of skills, but it’s not enough to simply list those skills and experiences in your CV. Make sure that you state the results you achieved instead of only the roles you had. Quantify results and try to bring in the commercial gain for the organization whenever possible. This will be the most difficult part, but it’s also the part with which you can score the biggest credit.
Recruiters look at your career path: what kind of roles you held, how long you studied and whether you have any gaps in your timeline. Important here is that you are fully aware of your progression and able to explain when asked. Be honest and openly state that you have taken time to travel, raise kids or do something for fun. In each of these cases you could still show what you have learnt and what valuable experience you have generated in these non-traditional work environments.
- Selling proposition
As with any other brand, you need to have your own unique story ready in order to land a successful sale. In a few short lines (and we really mean 2-3 sentences), you should summarize your core strengths and your motivation for the role you are applying for. For most people it is extremely difficult to talk favorably about themselves, but it’s crucial in every sales process. Remember: The more unique your story is, the more you will stand out from the crowd. So don’t be shy to signal why you are authentic – this is exactly what every recruiter hopes to see!