Dude, where’s my CV?

Keeping Track of Your CV Applications

Really, where is it? Let’s take a couple of steps back, or weeks back rather. I sent out my CV in response to a hundred job ads on Seek and Trademe two weeks ago- where are my hundred responses? I’m good; really, really good- can’t they see it? What’s wrong here?

~ Frustrated job seeker. 

I’m amazed at how many times I see the same question/s coming up from job seekers regarding CV to Interview ratios, etc. They send hundreds of CVs out in response to job ads, or to the HR departments at companies that they want to work for, with the hope that there might be a job, only to come up against a brick wall- a brick wall that doesn’t reply to a job application. Here’s the kicker: they might just as well print out a stack of CVs, shoot up to the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, and throw the lot out, in the hope that the CV lands in front of the right hiring manager! Unless you know who the ideal recipient of your CV is, and you are able to get your CV in his/her hand, your odds of being noticed are slim. You need to know where your CV is going.

Here are a couple of things to consider, which will drastically improve your chances of securing that elusive interview:

  1. Your CV should be a supporting document, not a leading one. A CV is just a document with a bunch of words on it- your words. The words in a CV lack emotion, inflection and accompanying body language, or other non-verbal cues. Yes, with the right wording and content, you can entice a prospective hiring manager to respond, but the most effective use of a CV is as a supporting document to information you have verbally communicated to a hiring manager on the phone or face to face. When a hiring manager asks for your CV after having a nice introductory discussion with you, many times the reason is to progress things to an interview, or to keep the relationship going. Also, this way you KNOW who has your CV.
  2. Up to 80% of jobs aren’t being publicized at the time of your job search. Crazy, I know, but it’s true. Many HR Managers, Hiring Manager and internal Recruiters ask for referrals from their existing employees first before they even think of advertising the role externally. When someone within the organization recommends a person for a specific job, the person gains a fair amount of credibility from the referral, and the person doing the hiring have a bit more faith in the quality of the candidate. So, start networking with your peers in the market. Catch up for coffees, or chat on the phone to grow your contact base and build your relationships. Talk about common interests, share stories and see if there is any advice you can share about projects people might be working on. One rule to follow here though is: NEVER ASK FOR A JOB!!! The moment you ask for a job, the dynamics of the conversation changes, and you’re out.
  3. Add value wherever you can. Before you draw up a generic CV and send it out, try to make a list of skills and project experience you have that can add value to what companies are doing. While talking to your peers, or meeting with potential hiring managers, find out what projects they are working on, what issues they might be having, what technologies they are using, or looking to start using, and anything else that you can relate to. Then, see which of your skills or project experiences you can offer to add value to what they are doing. Do this, and see the difference it makes to the quality of conversations and interviews you have while job searching.

There are way more than three things to look at, but these three will already improve the quality of your job search and your rate of success drastically. An added benefit you get from employing these methods is that you will gain heaps of information about your industry that you can use, and the fact that you become more knowledgeable will help others see you as credible and a go-to person in the market.

So, in closing: Don’t ever wonder where your CV is, or who is reading it. Send your CV to a person, not a system, and preferably send it after speaking with the person.

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