Are you ready to impress recruiters and headhunters with a winning CV?

It's no secret that the pandemic has shifted people's priorities and desires. Workers across the globe are re-evaluating their working lives due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. According to jobs board CV-Library, 76.4% of UK professionals intend to look for a new job in 2022.

If you think now is the time to resign, it's wise to give your CV a refresh in case you're approached by a headhunter or recruiter. Sprucing up your CV for this audience is different to tailoring your CV for a specific job application, although many CV writing principles remain. The main difference is that you're tweaking your CV for roles that you want and think exist, but are waiting for an employer to find you. 

With that in mind, here's how to get your CV in tip-top shape for headhunters and recruiters as you enter The Great Resignation.

Identify what your best next step could be

Once you've decided that it's time to start looking for a new role, consider what the next step in your career looks like. It's likely that you've already identified what made you unhappy in your current role and contemplated how your ideal work day would be different. Channel these thoughts into your job hunt and your CV optimisation, especially if it involves a career change. A clear, focused approach will make the job hunt process much easier and more efficient.

Read ideal job descriptions

While the number of job vacancies continues to rise, so does your competition. As a result, you need to place yourself in the mind of a headhunter and understand what employers are looking for in your industry, to ensure that you can convey your suitability for the role in your CV.

Read through job descriptions that are aligned to what you're looking for. Consider the candidate requirements and see if you can identify patterns and trends across the descriptions. For example, if you are applying for a PR Manager position, you can expect the majority of job descriptions to require a candidate with outstanding written and verbal communication. 

Also keep an eye out for any nuances related to the nation's shift to remote working. For example, job descriptions may mention desirable experiences including knowledge of remote working tools and leading remote team. By scanning listed vacancies, you should get a decent idea of what you need to highlight in your CV to give you a competitive edge. 

Tailor your CV to the position 

Now that you have a good idea of what recruiters are looking for from candidates in your industry, you're in a position to tailor your CV. While it's best practice to tailor your CV to every role you apply for, it's possible that a headhunter from an agency or organisation may contact you speculatively about multiple possible roles. You would do well to have a generic, but tailored, CV on standby to showcase your candidacy for roles in your desired industry.

Inject keywords and skills from the ideal job descriptions throughout your CV, to show the headhunter that you're a great match for a position of this type. Also delete any skills and knowledge from your experience that are not mentioned in the adverts. The idea is to not leave yawning gaps in your employment history, but instead to reduce the level of irrelevant detail to ensure it does not cloud important information.

Show your skill set, don't tell

A common CV pitfall is listing duties and responsibilities throughout your employment history, rather than highlighting accomplishments relevant to the role. In such a competitive job-hunting landscape, you can't afford to be generic about your abilities and skills. 

When addressing your career history, avoid simply listing impressive qualities and competencies. Instead, show headhunters what you've achieved and the impact you made in your role, to highlight that you're a valuable prospect.

Demonstrate your value by adding concrete, indisputable metrics, such as percentages, hours, or numbers. By assigning your achievement a figure, you'll present a tangible accomplishment. In addition, use strong verbs to immediately show your impact. Lead each statement with a powerful action word, such as "developed," "increased," or "implemented."

Demonstrate your personality

What makes a CV unique? It's you. While there are consistent conventions with CV writing, such as including your career history and qualifications, it's important to embrace your quirks too. By this, we mean letting your personality shine through so that recruiters get a taste of who you really are. It may give you the competitive edge, as cultural compatibility is a key part of the hiring process.

If you have any hobbies, interests, or skills that are genuinely interesting and not so run of the mill, it might be worth adding them, even if they are unrelated to the role, as they are a great way to pique interest. 

However, if you're tight on space, you can always show your personality through font choices. For example, if you would define yourself as strategic and to the point, a contemporary sans serif font like Arial would work well. However, if you are bubbly and creative, you may opt for a font like Lora, which is also contemporary but has roots in calligraphy. 

Consider the phrasing of career gaps

If you have experienced a career break due to the pandemic, either through furlough, redundancy, or both, there is nothing to fear. Headhunters are familiar with the disruption Covid-19 has caused to businesses and are likely to understand that this is not a reflection on your competency. 

The best way to address gaps on your CV is with honesty and transparency. If you're currently on your career break, the best approach is to mention it in your personal profile at the top of your CV. However, if you're now back in work, you could subtly mention it just below your title, company, and dates to convey transparency without complicating matters. 

Whether you've fully committed to joining the Great Resignation or are tentatively dipping your toes into the pool of potential opportunity, it's worth updating your CV in case a headhunter or recruiter approaches you via LinkedIn or other methods. Follow these pointers to get your CV in tip-top shape and consider a free CV review to ensure your CV is at its best.

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