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How to get your CV noticed

by Alexandra Cain | 23 Mar 2016

With so much competition in the job market, it’s essential to invest time in ensuring your CV is in the best shape possible when you’re looking for a new position. InFinance spoke to a range of recruitment experts to find out the best way to position your experience to win that coveted new role. 

Stacey Price, who runs accounting and bookkeeping business Healthy Business Finance, has first-hand experience applying for financial services roles. She has plenty of great tips for other professionals wishing to be successful when applying for a new job.  

“I always put something to get me noticed in the subject line when I reply to a job vacancy via email, for instance: ‘Financial accountant — it could be me’ or ‘Accountant — stop your searching I am it’,” she says. 

But it’s not just about getting noticed. It’s also important to ensure you present yourself in the most professional manner possible, says Price. 

She stresses potential employers are unlikely to look favourably on job applications with spelling mistakes and generic cover letters, or that fail to address the application to a real person in the business. She also advises against excluding referee details on the application. “It makes me think you have something to hide,” she says. 

According to Price, using innovative strategies such as making a video resume can put a candidate at the front of the field. “I can see the person, know they are real and hear them communicate. Plus it shows they are proactive.” She advises including links to previous work or your portfolio on your CV so the business can gain an understanding of your skill level.  


Don't be arrogant, but you have to sell yourself straight up.


“Remember, many business owners don't even get to the résumé. So unless your email stands out, you won't stand a chance. Don't be arrogant, but you have to sell yourself straight up,” she says.  

Christine Jenner, who runs Jenner Recruitment, which specialises in filling financial services job vacancies, says it’s now expected applications have a corporate photo on the front cover. “Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile, and that everything on your Facebook page is tasteful. Prospective employers will go to Facebook before they look at anything else.” 

Of course, it’s not just way the application looks that is important. The substance of it is also paramount. Lisa Mahar from Meritude Career Services says a potential candidate’s value to the business should be immediately visible within the top third of the resume. “Don’t waste this section on large font for your name or excessive spacing for your address. Your professional summary, keywords, and recent positions are the most important pieces of information so make sure this is clear immediately.” 

She also says there are some very simple strategies most job seekers don’t do that can help propel them to the top of the candidate list. 

“Call the contact person before submitting your application and ask some thoughtful, targeted questions to build rapport and identify if you have the right skills. Send a follow-up email after the interview to thank the interviewer for their time and reaffirm their interest in the role,” she suggests.  She adds it’s also a good idea to provide the interview panel with a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan on how you intend to get up to speed quickly in the new position. 


Evidence-based résumés get interviews.


However, the right approach will also depend on the candidate’s level of seniority. Catriona Herron Watt, principal of CV Saviour, a resume writing company, says the best way for someone in financial services to get their CV noticed when applying for a position will depend on the candidate’s level of experience.  

“What works for a recent graduate aiming to secure a position will be very different for a candidate with five years’ experience or for a candidate with many years of experience,” she says.  

According to Herron Watt, most people are great at stating their responsibilities and how they do their job. But they don't include the detail of what their outcomes mean to their employer or the business as a whole. “Employers recruit people who can get results. So a CV should illustrate results.” 

She says including information about how you resolved problems on a specific project, whether you completed a project in record time, overcame any obstacles, saved the business time or money — and what the saving were used for — or increased productivity for the business is how to get noticed.   

“Evidence-based résumés get interviews. This means that if a job advertisement requires the candidate to have great communication skills, don’t just state in your resume you have 'great communication skills'. A recruiter expects to see evidence of this. Include an example and give the reader evidence in your document of where you proved your great communication skills, and what the result of this was,” she adds.  

There are lots of ways to get your CV noticed. The idea is to be accurate, creative and specific, and take the time to make a connection with the person reviewing your application. While there’s no fail-safe way of getting your dream job, if you follow this process you will at least put yourself ahead of the pack.

 

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