CV tips to land an interview in the Covid-19 job market

Published: 4 August, 2020

Only 28% of New Zealand and Australia’s current jobseekers say they understand what’s required to make a job interview shortlist today.

That’s according to a recent poll by recruiting experts Hays, which found a further 33% understand “to a certain extent”. The final 39% admit to having no understanding of how to gain a place on an interview shortlist today.

“COVID-19 has changed the world of work, with employers now valuing new skills and qualities,” said Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand in response to the poll result.

“Clearly a significant percentage of today’s jobseekers do not feel informed as to what they need to do to ensure their CV will earn them a place on the interview shortlist,” said Adam.

“To gain an interview in the current market, it takes a CV in an acceptable format that uses relevant keywords and is backed by proof, appropriate soft skills and the potential to add value longer-term.”

According to Hays, here are 6 tips to help your CV land you an interview:

  1. Use an acceptable CV format: When large numbers of candidates are applying for roles, some jobseekers attempt to stand out by submitting an alternative CV. However, when faced with a larger quantity of applications to review, a time-poor hiring manager is unlikely to take the additional time required to search a convoluted application for the information they need. So, stick to the accepted structure, which allows a reader to quickly determine if you should be shortlisted. This free CV template details the structure employers want to see today.
  2. Add keywords: With more recruitment now being conducted online, your CV must also include relevant keywords so that screening algorithms or an applicant tracking system identifies yours as a suitable match. It’s also advisable to mirror some of the language and keywords used in the job description to increase your chance that the reader will see you as a good fit.
  3. Prove your skills: Employers today want a proven performer who can hit the ground running and add immediate value to the business. Pepper your CV with quantifiable results to show you are a tried and tested candidate with relevant technical skills. For graduates or those with little experience, quantifiable evidence of your successes gained through work experience can help you stand out.
  4. Offer a complete package: Employers are not just restricting their search to candidates with relevant technical skills. Softs skills were gaining prominence before the pandemic hit and have become an even greater priority today as employers look for a candidate who is adaptable with strong communication and team work skills. Therefore, make sure your CV paints a picture of the relevance of your soft as well as technical skills by sharing examples of situations where your soft skills shone through.
  5. Sell yourself in your professional summary: Many people tend to use the professional summary section of their CV to describe what they are looking for in their next job. This is a mistake. Instead, you should convey what you can offer an employer and summarise the key skills and experiences that would allow you to succeed in this particular role and add value to the organisation. After all, employers don’t want to know what they can do for you – they want to know what you can offer them.
  6. Show you are a good long-term investment: Employers today don’t just want to know what you are capable of now. They want to know that you have the potential to grow and develop to add value in the future, too. To do this, make sure each entry in your employment history demonstrates how your skills have improved over time. For example, each achievement you add to each entry should be better than the last. It’s also advisable to evidence your commitment to continuous upskilling in your CV to show the reader you would be a good investment both now and into the future.

1,049 people were polled by Hays in June and July 2020.

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About Hays

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

For further information please contact Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, on adam.shapley@hays.net.nz or +64 (0) 9 375 9424.

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