How to… get your CV to the top of the pile

The internet has opened up the job market more than ever before allowing people to apply for positions across the world through internet job boards, company websites and networking websites such as LinkedIn or Xing. So how do you get your CV to the top of the pile?

How to get your CV to the top of the pile

The internet has opened up the job market more than ever before allowing people to apply for positions across the world through internet job boards, company websites and networking websites such as LinkedIn or Xing.

This has led to changes in the recruitment process utilising technology to sift through the (often hundreds of) applications for one position.

So how do you get your CV to the top of the pile?

Focus on the best entry point into an organisation – CV tailoring, Head Hunters, Hiring Manager

Most job descriptions will mention the department in which the position will be but you as the applicant are directed to apply through the HR department or an online portal (which is managed by the HR department). This is the first point of call for nearly all CVs, with them being screened (mostly) by software looking for pre-determined key words relating to the job description.

This software will filter the most relevant CVs for the HR department to then look into further. A list of candidates will then be drawn up, which HR will then contact for first round interviews.

Option 1) Tailoring & Key words

The best way to maximise your chance of being selected at this stage is to tailor your CV using keywords that match the job description. The software applied to scan applications uses similar techniques to other search engines, such as Google, picking up on key words in your CV. The higher the percentage hit, the higher the likelihood of your CV being selected.

Option 2) Head Hunters

Identifying a good Headhunter can be a difficult process. One of the best methods is to ask in your network for recommendations – everyone knows word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool. Researching online for specialists in a specific industry alongside internet reviews will also help you find a handful of Headhunters with a good reputation tailored to your industry.

Good Headhunters will have access to both HR and the hiring manager for a position. There can sometimes be a discrepancy between the job description HR have and the actual needs of the hiring manager. By utilising Headhunters your profile should get through to the hiring manager who may consider a first stage interview, whereas the software and HR may not have thought your experience appropriate.

Asking for a meeting in person (if possible) or a call to discuss how the Headhunter works, possible opportunities and the industry in general, will give you a good indication of how the company functions and how well connected in your specific industry they are. Once you have done this with your list of Headhunters you can decide which ones you would like to work with closely. This means being as open and as honest as possible about many aspects such as why you are looking to change and the type of company you would like to work for etc.

It involves identifying potential positions together with the Headhunter in order to find the best approach to put your CV forward such as using both yours and the Headhunters network and keeping the Headhunter up to date about any changes to your circumstance e.g. application processes, location change etc.

All of these factors will mean you remain at the forefront of the Headhunter’s mind as soon as new positions are available. This increases your chances of being put forward for the role and the likelihood of an interview.

Option 3) Networking

As mentioned earlier in this blog the job description will normally mention the department for the position. This information can be extremely useful to help identify the hiring manager for the position on business networks such as LinkedIn or Xing. Through these websites you can then see how you are potentially connected and either introduce yourself personally or via your profile through a mutual contact. This can act as a type of referral, which, as has been proved by several studies, is one of the quickest ways to enter a new job.

Of course utilising a mixture of these techniques will maximise the likelihood of your CV being seen by the right people in the organisation that suits you best.

Send an email to cv@dartexec.com to request a free sample CV template in word format.

Best of luck!

Author: Chris Johnson

Chris joined DART in the summer of 2014 after graduating from University in Birmingham, UK. Since joining the team Chris has developed his expertise into several areas of Asset Management, including Fixed Income, Investments and Portfolio Advisory. Chris is tasked with scouting for the talented individuals DART’s clients require. You can reach the team on +41 44 215 10 80 or through the www.dartexec.com ‘contact us’ page.