Applying for jobs is about moving through stages. A decent cover letter ensures that your CV is read. A decent CV will get you a phone call and the phone call stage is where you secure the interview. By the time you get to the interview, all of this should set you up for a straight run to landing the job..
Last week we looked at how to create a cover letter that gets your CV read. Now it’s time to cast the lens over your CV and help secure the phone call.
Start with the document name.
Always save your CV as your name – Both first and last. Do not call it the name of the job you’re applying for or the version of CV you’re up to or, even worse, ‘My resume’ (or anything along those lines). Avoid the use of symbols (eg. ‘Dennis.Hosking’, instead of ‘DennisHosking). To be guaranteed your CV looks exactly as you expect it to, save the final draft out as a PDF.
Make your CV as relevant to the employer and the role as possible.
Any relevant qualifications and experience have to be most visible. Even if these are years old, if they’re all you’ve got, list them at the top (with dates).
And make your CV reflect the job you’re applying for.
All the experience in the world means nothing if it’s not presented in a manner that reflects the requirements of the role. Unless your previous experience is in a role that is EXACTLY the same*, you MUST clearly demonstrate how any previous experience is relevant to the role at hand. For example, let’s say you’re a Personal Trainer (PT) that wants to move into Club Management (CM). Success as a CM requires (1) an ability to sell as well as (2) the ability to manage people and systems. Therefore, talk up your success at generating and converting clients, along with your experience in adhering to/creating systems. If you’ve managed other Trainers, all the better.
*Even if you did the exact same role in another venue, you’ll need still need to talk up your success as it relates to the job at hand.
Don’t bore the employer with waffle
Stick to results and accomplishments as they relate to key responsibilities (for the role you’re applying for). Too many CV’s detail the duties of previous roles, but not the results. Being specific about the result of your efforts helps employers better understand your impact in that role.
Everyone is passionate about fitness – this is not a selling point.
In fact, it’s expected! If you have a particular passion, then articulate it. For example, refer to how it manifests in your life – via multiple qualifications, participation in a particular sport/activity or simply that you are an amateur health and fitness evangelist – ready to go pro.
If you have relevant experience in another industry, make it obvious.
Don’t expect employers to draw the connection between what you’ve done in another industry and how it’s going to be of benefit to them. For example, if you think your sales experience in another industry stacks up, make that clear. Outline how you would increase sales / connect with new members / help reduce attrition. Make it clear that you can convert tours, engage people on the phone, follow leads. Whatever, the point is, make things as easy as possible for the employer to say ‘yes’. As we’ve mentioned previously, you have about 6 seconds to make an impact.
Keep your CV to two pages. Max.
Again, your aim is to get the employer to call, not to give them a life history. If you’re at two pages, try to make it one.
Keep it simple.
A CV needs to be very readable. So forget your fancy fonts and layouts and go for simple. If you’re including a (professional) picture of yourself, make sure that it is a small one, not a large one resized – the latter can turn a polite, few hundred kilobyte CV into a multi-megabyte, bandwidth sucking, monster.
Use spell check and get someone to proof read.
Every single blog and newsletter from HealthyPeople (as well as a majority of our emails) are proof read by another person in the office – I value your readership and show my respect with this effort. Employers expect this same level of care to be taken with your applications.
Now, assuming that your social networks are not conspiring against you, and you meet minimum requirements, following the above advice should get you a phone call. Next time we’ll cover the phone call.