Career Forum Apr 2016: Kelly Services shows how to treat CVs like a sales pitch to get that job
Every job application should be different but, in a bid to save time, many jobseekers send out identical résumés to different companies – or compose their CVs as if they were filling in a form, neglecting to highlight their unique selling points.
“If you put a CV face down and ask people what their strengths are, there’s often a pause as many don’t know,” says Alan Wong, managing director of recruitment firm Kelly Services Hong Kong, which will be providing a one-on-one CV Doctor service at the forum.
To stand a better chance of getting an interview, jobseekers need to highlight two to three key strengths that are relevant to the job they are applying for.
“A CV should be treated as a sales pitch, and tailored to reflect each application,” Wong says. “By highlighting these strengths, you are letting people know why they should hire you.”
While it may be tempting for jobseekers with little experience to lay claim to skills or qualities they don’t possess, they will only lose credibility in the long run, Wong warns.
Jobseekers can summarise their “selling points” in no more than two lines, and feature this summary prominently under their name and contact details. They should then connect these to the achievements listed on their CV.
“Many people write a lot of detail on their CV about what they do, but it’s better to echo the theme of your summary, focusing in particular on those skills that are relevant to the job.”
For example, those who want to highlight good interpersonal skills should talk about handling difficult clients or solving people issues that drive company performance. Those who are keen to highlight sales prowess, meanwhile, should give examples of targets met.
Many job applicants still include their address, gender and birthday under their name, all of which Wong believes are not needed on a modern-day CV. He says all you need is a telephone number and email. “Hirers shouldn’t judge you on where you live, how old you are or whether you are male or female.”
He adds that applicants shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness of their interests, as these can help convince hirers of your suitability for the job. “Say you’re in IT and applying for a position as a mobile app developer. If you include ‘internet games’ under your interests, that’s relevant to the job and can make you look more dynamic.”