Often applicants don't know how to sell themselves on their CV and make the classic mistake of just populating the CV template without any forethought. On the other end of the spectrum, the recruiter or future employer wants to know what exactly qualifies you for this position. Almost every category of information covered on your CV needs to be focused on why you are the best candidate for the position.
Does this mean that if you are a newcomer to the job space that all is lost if, for example, you have never been permanently employed? Not necessarily; provided you are able to show your competencies on your CV in a way that demonstrates that they match the position for which you are applying.
Let's say you have done some volunteer work at your local charity. Think about the competencies that you have learnt or grown in when doing that work. For example, if the competency for the position that you are applying for is planning, then your CV can demonstrate how you had to plan certain activities before executing the job. In this way you are able to show that you have had some exposure to planning.
A word of caution, what you put on your CV needs to be honest and truthful. Any applicant who is "caught" being creative on their CV will be disqualified from the process.
The worst example of a CV that we've seen only showed the applicant's personal details, school and college attended and that's all. There was no covering letter to explain why they felt they qualified to apply for the position. Normally a recruiter would first scan the CV and check if the person has the required competencies, experience, etc. that match the job specification. If the CV does not show a match in key areas, they will generally disqualify the applicant.
In this case, fortunately (for the applicant) the recruiter was curious and had a look at the applicant's tertiary education results and they were stellar. Since he was applying for an IT internship, the recruiter gave him a call. He managed the interview questions better than the other applicants and ultimately got the job.
So this story had a happy ending but many, many applicants for internships are not that fortunate since these positions attract hundreds of applicants and practically speaking, if the CV does not provide sufficient information, recruiters will disqualify those applicants.
The best way to evaluate your CV is to look at it with a "recruiter's eyes". Meaning, pretend that you are the recruiter and have a look at what information your CV is providing the recruiter. If it's mainly personal information and not much else, you are not going to be able to make a credible bid for any position. Your CV will need to be re-evaluated and updated with relevant information.
Read our blog post called "Hallmarks of a Professional CV" and if you feel that your CV is not up to the job, address the shortcomings before making any further job applications with that CV.
There are professional CV makeover services that you could consider. Read our blog post called "Professional CV Services - Why do you need them?"
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The Prime Candidate U Team