The fallout of the pandemic leads to a challenging job search.
When the coronavirus crisis began in the UK, it brought with it drastic impacts. As businesses closed and the country went on lockdown, both the economy and labour market were brought to a screeching halt.
Now, as lockdown eases, the millions of workers who have been left unemployed are preparing for a post-COVID job search. Unfortunately, job searching right now is expected to be even more challenging than usual, with the number of unemployed workers expected to rise to the greatest total in decades.
This means a more competitive job market. And for an additional challenge, businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic are slowing their own hiring. Now you face a greater number of workers vying for a highly limited number of available positions.
So, what can you do to give yourself the best chance at landing a new job after COVID-19? All job searches start with one important document: your CV. Here are four of the best steps to take with your CV to get an employer's attention, even during coronavirus recovery.
Tailor your CV to fit each opening
A competitive job market means that employers will be receiving more applicants per opening than usual. As a result, they have the ability to be particularly picky about who they consider for their positions. Being a good fit for a role may have been sufficient before, but now, companies will be expecting to find a great fit ‒ and you need to make sure you are just that.
The best way to do this is to tailor your CV to fit each job you apply for. This does not mean completely rewriting your CV for every submission. Instead, it means making alterations to ensure that your document addresses the specific needs of each job listing, presenting you as an ideal candidate for the position.
When you are preparing to apply for a job, start by reading the job listing thoroughly. Identify elements of the listing that line up with your own experience and skill set. Then, highlight those things on your CV. This will show employers that you are not only qualified for the role, but also exactly the candidate they are looking for.
To further demonstrate this, pinpoint key words and phrases in the job listing and incorporate them into your CV. Speaking the HR manager's own language will help them see that your experience and outlook lines up with their needs. Just be careful to not overdo it ‒ you don't want to appear as if you're copying the listing details.
Optimise your CV for the ATS
With so many candidates applying for roles, it's more likely than ever that employers will turn to methods to expedite the evaluation process. In many cases, that means utilising an applicant tracking system.
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of software used by recruiters to scan and rank CVs and eliminate the candidates deemed least-qualified for the position at hand. Only those CVs that pass through this electronic gatekeeper will be reviewed by the HR managers themselves. Essentially, the ATS is a way to electronically reduce the applicant pool to a manageable number of candidates.
Unfortunately, whilst this is a great tool for HR managers, it also means that if job seekers do not craft their CVs with the ATS in mind, they may find themselves out of the running for a job that's actually a great fit. There are certain ways to please applicant tracking systems, so it's important that you incorporate them into your CV.
Keywords, for instance, are top priority for the ATS. When it scans your CV, it will search for key terms that are essential to the job. If it finds those terms on your document, it assumes that you have certain important qualifications; if it does not, it concludes that you do not have the necessary skills and eliminate you.
Much like tailoring your CV to demonstrate job fit, the job listing is the place to search for the keywords to highlight in your CV. Make sure you include the important terms throughout your document, whether in your skills section, professional statement or career history. You can even include keywords more than once, so long as they are included organically and are not 'stuffed'.
It's also essential that your CV is formatted for ATS readability. Avoid adding images or graphics, and keep all information in the body of the document, not the header or footer.
Show proof of your value
When trying to convince someone to hire you, it's more effective to show, not tell, why you're the right choice. In the context of CV writing, that means including quantifiable evidence of your previous successes to show what you can potentially offer a new company.
This is especially important when job searching after COVID-19. With hiring slow as businesses recover, every new hire is a meaningful investment. Because of this, you have to convince an employer that you are worthy of that investment.
Consider the following CV statements:
Significantly reduced costs
Reduced costs by 30% over 2 years
The second option presents a clearer, stronger picture of what the applicant has achieved. Therefore, use figures, dollar amounts or other data points wherever possible when outlining your career history.
Similar advice goes for listing skills on your CV. Yes, it's important to list your most valuable hard and soft skills in an Areas of Expertise or Core Competencies section. However, it will also serve you to present instances of those skills in action. In your career history, be sure to include details that demonstrate when you successfully utilised the skills that are important for the particular job.
Work with a professional CV writer
In COVID-19's competitive job market, there's no room for mistakes at any point in your job search especially on your CV. Instead of struggling to grasp all the rules and expectations of CV writing when the stakes are this high, you can enlist the help of a professional who is trained in the field.
When you work with a professional CV writer from TopCV, you'll receive an expertly written document that already contains the fundamental elements above; it will be formatted to pass through the ATS and feature the language that will show an employer your true value. Plus, you'll be able to use the time you would have spent writing to improve your job search in other ways, such as networking or supplemental skill-building.
Most importantly, a professional CV writer will take the guesswork out of writing a CV, helping you feel confident that your document is poised to grab attention, impress and land a new job ‒ even during the aftermath of COVID-19.
Improve your post-COVID job search with a standout CV. Learn more about working with a professional CV writer.