CURRICULUM VITAE | RESUME
A professional CV and resume writer can make all the difference between you getting an interview, (or not).
Sometimes it’s really hard finding the right words to explain what you’ve achieved in your career so far, or perhaps you’re ready to make a move up the career ladder, but don’t know how to align your experience with your next career move.
We Can Help
Writing an interview-winning CV or resume is at the heart of any successful job-hunting campaign. Its job is to convince the reader (ie: the recruiter) that you can do the job.
Your CV is your career marketing and communications tool, and its aim is to grab the attention of a prospective employer so that you get invited to interview for the position.
Before you start your search for the perfect job, it is absolutely critical that you get the presentation of your credentials in its best possible format.
Recruiters now receive literally hundreds of CV’s for every job they post.
If you want to increase your chances of having your resume noticed in a very crowded and highly competitive market, you need a resume that will rise above the rest.
Resumes today are not just a dry, chronological history of your employment to date, or a laundry list of what you do in your day-to-day job – they are career marketing documents that should position you as the perfect candidate for the roles you apply for. Through our questioning, we aim to get to the essence of what you have that sets you apart from other candidates and what your personal brand is.
In order to do this, we need to delve into what value YOU bring to a potential employer that other candidates won’t. We do this by presenting proof of your achievements. Your CV needs to make it through the candidate management software and applicant tracking systems so that it doesn’t get discarded in the screening process by a computer, before it’s even read by a real person.
But before you even set about writing your resume, it’s important to recognise that you potentially have three audiences reading your documents, all of whom take different things from it, so it has to be compelling, concise and easy to read for each of these audiences:
1) High volume / Skim readers (also known as the gatekeeper screeners) such as recruiters who just glance over CVs to check that keywords and selection criteria are addressed;
2) Detailed Readers such as hiring managers and key decision-makers who like to drill down into the finer detail about results, achievements, successes and value adding a candidate brings, and
3) Applicant Tracking Systems: ATS and parsing software are the software programs used by around 80% of organisations to assist with recruitment. (Read more about ATS by clicking here or google ATS for more detail). These programs extract information from your documents to determine if you meet the key criteria for a position, and may determine if it even gets read by a human in the first instance.
When we create documents, we start with some small changes so that you can make a big impression.
1) Document Naming Convention: We advise that a CV document has a naming convention that ensures that it is crystal clear who you are and what you are applying for, or the position you want. A simple measure, it is often overlooked, and this is a bit of branding exercise in itself. Why? Because it sends a message to the reader in the very first instance that you have the skills required for the job before they even open the document. It’s a tiny subliminal message and a positioning statement. Just as in advertising, you tell someone something a few times in a few different mediums or channels, and they remember it. We aim to do this in our résumés too.
2) Document Properties: At CV Saviour, we include keywords in your document properties. Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) can extract metadata from documents, and if it’s loaded with keywords (or the description of the job you are applying for), it may increase the chances of your document ranking higher in the screening process, assuming ATS is adopted by the company you have applied to.
3) Hyperlinks: Wherever possible, we include hyperlinks in your document to previous employers, your email address, LinkedIn profile or other online sources of information to make reference to or substantiate claims in your CV. This works really well when documents are read on screen as the screener can click directly to the link for further research without having to leave your document.
4) Front Page: First impressions count for a lot. The front page of your CV is really valuable real estate and is the most important part of your CV as this dictates how human readers frame you in their mind, make a mental classification as to your level, and importantly, decide whether to commit to reading on through the rest of your document.
When you meet someone for the first time, it is said that you have 30 seconds to make a great first impression. With CVs it’s often less, particularly if a recruiter has hundreds of CVs in front of them, a limited time frame to get through all of them, and a ‘Yes’, pile, a ‘No’ pile and a ‘Maybe’ pile to sort them into. If your front page doesn’t catch their attention, it’s highly likely they just won’t bother turning the page to read into further detail. It’s no secret that recruiters can spend less than 6 seconds scanning a CV before deciding on whether to move on to the next one, or not. Taking this into account, we aim to get 70% of the most important information about you, and your relevance to the job you are seeking, on to the front page of your CV.
5) ATS Testing and Scoring: Our biggest and most exciting claim to fame is that CV Saviour is the first and ONLY resume writing company in Australia to offer ATS screening, testing and scoring of your documents before we return them to you. That way, you know with a degree of certainty that your documents CAN make it through an ATS, and that is the keyword rich and SEO optimised.
★ Your CV should include a clear and concise career summary, and make a statement about your personal brand. When it comes to objective statements, we suggest not including one. For starters, they went out with the ’90s. The other reason being that an objective amounts to nothing more than an “I want” statement. And the bottom-line is that an employer doesn’t really care what you want. What they DO care about is their bottom-line needs, and your resume needs to address how perfect you are for those needs. Your message needs to be clear: “Dear Employer: You’re looking for a [imagine your next job title here], and I’m the best there is. Here’s my record to prove it.”
★ It should highlight your key strengths and skills, specific to the role you are applying for – your USPs (unique selling proposition). Your résumé should include the results of your achievements right up front on the first page. This can really help catch the attention of the reader of your résumé.
The majority of résumés tend to be overviews of responsibilities and skills. Even when top line summaries are included they rarely do anything but point out that you have the same skills required of all candidates for the targeted position. Therefore it is critical to sell your value to the company, not just your experience. You must rapidly make it clear why they should consider you over the other similarly qualified candidates. So how does CV Saviour get around this? By focusing on outcomes, results, achievements and successes.
Achievements, Successes, Accomplishments & Results: We always write résumés to focus more on achievements and successes and outcomes over responsibilities, and make your successes quantifiable, and qualifiable with weighty facts and figures, so an employer can quickly ascertain your suitability for a position.
Wherever possible, we develop an achievements section on the front page of your document, and elaborate on these achievements. Achievements are just what recruiters need to see so they can get a quick understanding of your experience, strengths and areas of expertise. When it comes to achievements though, what recruiters are really looking for is results, and evidence or proof of those results.
Most people are great at stating their responsibilities and how they do (or did) their jobs, but don’t include the detail of what the outcome meant to the employer or the business as a whole.
Employers recruit people who can get results. And the best indicator of what you can do for your next employer is to provide evidence in your résumé of what results you have given your previous employers. It’s this detail that really interests employers. Evidence-based resumes get results.
This means that if you state you have ‘great communication skills’, a recruiter expects to see evidence of this. Include an example – give the reader the evidence in your document, of where you proved your great communication skills, and what the result of this was. This doesn’t mean just writing the headline ‘achievements’ and listing what you did underneath it!
For example: if you merely list what your job description says what you’re expected to do, a hiring manager or recruiter is going to ask, ‘so what?’ That’s what you were paid to do!
That approach tells the reader nothing about what the results you’ve obtained so far. Did you identify or resolve any problems on a specific project? Did you do it in record time? Did you overcome any obstacles? Did you save time, money, increase productivity, increase efficiency? If so, by how much? If you saved money, how were the savings used? What exactly were the results? If you can add the result to your achievements, you’re ahead of the rest. A great way to draw the result out is to ask yourself ‘so what’ after each achievement because that is what an employer of recruiter asks when they see statements on a CV that aren’t qualified or quantified.
To learn more about how to write resume achievements, click here.
★ Your CV should generally be written in a reverse chronological style (although there are exceptions), and this means starting with your most recent position at the beginning, and finishing with your first job.
★ You also need to include education and qualifications, and other relevant information such as professional memberships, awards and honours, licences and certificates, voluntary work, and (sometimes) referees and personal interests (if they are relevant to the role you seek and add value to your as a candidate and the role you seek).
★ It needs to be easy to read on- and off-line, be capable of making it through electronic screening processes (Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS), and give strong and clear examples of the results of your achievements so potential employers can see the value that you add to your role.
Small aspects like typeface can really improve the readability of a CV and the overall impression you create. At a minimum, the font used must be universal (i.e. fonts that are installed on every computer irrespective of manufacturer). Using a font that isn’t universal, risks how your neatly formatted document will appear at the recipients end if they don’t have the same font installed. Research performed by Dr Jim Bright (Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU and columnist on careers in the Sydney Morning Herald) has proved that fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Verdana and others tend to be favoured over fonts such as new times roman, as they are easy to read for high volume readers.
Why Use CV Saviour?
Everyone has an opinion on what makes a great CV. The advice we provide is based on our 18 years experience as professional CV writers; as one of only 16 Certified Advanced Résumé Writers (CARW) in Australia, and following the standards of the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA), Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA), Career Thought Leaders (CTL), and Career Directors International (CDI), all of which our Principal is a member of, and with whom we complete annual continuing professional development (CPD). We always remind my clients that ultimately, it’s not the résumé that will get you the job, but it should present you as the best candidate for it, and as the supporting evidence of this, a laser-focused résumé will help you get called for interviews.
A great résumé should also give you the confidence to present yourself as a strong candidate for the roles you apply for.
★ Please note: CV Saviour is not a resume re-formatting service. We do not just re-purpose your existing content and put it into a template to make it look better (you can engage a secretarial service for that, and you should expect to pay between $50 and $150 for that sort of service). We are professional résumé writers, who write résumés and other career marketing documents from scratch, drawn from extensive questioning of your career to date. We write résumés that rise above the rest™.
Just so you know … at CV Saviour™, we use CV and resume interchangeably, because in the Australian job market, either is acceptable, and both are understood to be the same thing. We also often use resume instead of the correct ‘résumé’ simply because most people wouldn’t type résumé into a search engine to find us, and google searches might not find us if we do only use résumé.
★ Academic CVs, dependent on the institution, tend to have certain requirements and some institutions have very specific requirements that may need to be adhered to, which we will take into account when preparing your Academic CV.