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You’ve found just the job you’ve been looking for. The following step can feel daunting: writing a resume and cover letter for your application. Where do I begin? Can I use a template? What should I tell about myself?
Your resume and cover letter can be the difference maker in a tightly contested recruitment, so you shouldn’t approach the task too lightly.
To help you out, we’ve compiled an eight point list to help you make your CV and cover letter stand out so no recruiter or hiring manager can be left unimpressed!
Word or Google Docs are still go-to tools for many when it comes to crafting your CV. But these days you’ve got plenty of other platforms to choose from, ranging from template services to graphic design platforms. You can also easily create alternative resumes, such as Video CV’s or websites.
We listed some free tools that you should consider when you are writing your next resume and cover letter. Please do note that in order to access all the features, most of these tools require a paid subscription.
Recruiters may go through tens – potentially even hundreds – of applications per day. Having a CV that stands out visually is a good way to differentiate yourself from the pack. Visual resume is also a showcase of your skills and creativity, which may be a factor if you are applying for a job where such skills are appreciated or needed.
Picking a color scheme is a good starting point. A unified color scheme throughout your application documents gives a fresh and professional impression. You can even go the extra mile and match the color scheme with the brand colors of the company you are applying for!
Icons and logos are another good way to add some eye popping qualities to your CV. They also help the recruiter process your CV while reading it. Adding logos of tools and softwares accompanied with a star or dot rating scale is a great way to visualize your proficiency with the said solutions. Same idea can be applied for soft skills too!
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an age-old adage that rings true when it comes to resumes and cover letters too. In addition to a good profile picture, you can spice up your application with a great background image or incorporate the picture in a header section. Good free sources for stock photos are Unsplash and Pixabay.
These days you don’t need to be a graphic designer in order to create visually stunning documents. As we mentioned in the first point, numerous template services or free graphic design platforms like Canva are readily available and easy to use. Here you can read Canva’s tips on using their platform to create a visually stunning resume.
Note: if you use ready-made cv templates without altering them, your application may look good but doesn’t necessarily stand out.
When you are listing your job experience, elaborate on the key responsibilities, achievements and learnings of your roles. If you have numbers to back them up, even better!
We all know the basic information every CV should include. If your CV is missing one of these:
…the recruiter will most likely not get a good grasp on your fit for the job you are applying for.
But you can build on that information to get an edge over your competition. When you are listing your job experience, elaborate on the key responsibilities, achievements and learnings of your roles. If you have numbers to back them up, even better! We all know how much decision makers love numbers and concrete examples.
If your work and educational history is already quite long, it might be best to only include the relevant and/or latest experiences and studies. However, adding information about any voluntary or extracurricular activities is always a big plus in the eyes of a recruiter, as it can tell a lot about your motivation, attitude and values.
A good profile photo is an element that every CV should have. Be sure to use a good quality photo where you are easily identifiable. In the ideal situation your profile picture should match the overall tone of your application as well as bring out your personality.
An old or current colleague as your referee can tell a recruiter a lot about you as a team worker.
A referee or two (heck, even three won’t hurt!) is something every applicant should have when applying for a new job. Providing your referees already in your resume can be a big plus from a recruiter’s standpoint.
Traditionally references are gathered from supervisors, but more and more companies are eager to hear about peer referees as well. An old or current colleague as your referee can tell a recruiter a lot about you as a team worker. If you’ve worked as a supervisor, what better way to convince your potential new employer about your skill in that area than a former subordinate as a referee!
But what could truly make your CV stand out is including a couple of references in your resume. It could be something as simple as a short quote from your close colleague on how easy it is to work with you, or the top 5 things your colleagues have said about you!
Modern recruitment softwares, such as TalentAdore Hire, use advanced search functions that enable recruiters to search directly from the application documents. Keep this in mind when you are writing your resume and cover letter.
By adhering to the tips in point 3 you are already on the right track. Recruiters often use soft skills as search criteria and your cover letter is a good place to highlight them.
While a CV gives an overview of your experience and skills, a cover letter is a chance to further expand on it. In your cover letter you can tell the recruiter more about your previous roles and responsibilities and highlight your achievements. Concrete examples are a great way to illustrate your qualifications in a more in-depth manner.
Maybe the most important aspect to keep in mind when writing your cover letter is to show the recruiter why you want to get the job – and why you are the right person for it. Provide a reason why you applied for the job and look into the job description to find the essential skills, values and qualifications the employer is looking for. Then you can provide reasons why you fit the criteria.
Cover letter is also the perfect vehicle for highlighting your learnings and aspirations. We all have goals and recruiters are eager to hear about them. Goals also tell the recruiter a lot about your motivators.
An outside perspective can provide you with insights on your skills and personality that you might have overlooked.
Having an extra pair of eyes going through your CV and cover letter is never a bad idea. An outside perspective can provide you with insights on your skills and personality that you might have overlooked.
If your network has people that work in recruitment or similar field to the position you are applying for, even better!
You’ve spent hours crafting your resume and application letter and you’re ready to send your application. What if the recruiter sees a Word document with weird fonts or can’t open the attachments all together?
You can’t be sure what device or application the recruiter is using to view and evaluate your application documents. A PDF is always a safe option when it comes to attachments.
I hope you got some relevant tips for your career planning. We at TalentAdore love to help out and encourage job seekers on their journey toward their dream careers.
Today already more than 55 000 candidates have found their new workplace through our solution, TalentAdore Hire. And this is only the beginning 🚀 We are dedicated to improving the candidate experience in the world and thus, we offer the best in the market solution for giving personalized feedback to candidates.
We bring the human touch back to recruitment ❤️
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