(Written in 2014 when I was looking for a job in design. This might help you guys.)
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.
– Steve Jobs
If you don’t grab the attention of the job recruiters and companies, you don’t get noticed. If you don’t get noticed, no one is going to read your Job CV.
Companies today as well as recruiters have applicant tracking systems and these are a pain for most product designers seeking jobs. They kill at least 80% of chances of a graduate landing their interview.
Yes, these systems are flawed.
Yes, they can get in the way of companies and recruiters attracting highly skilled product designers.
But nevertheless you need to know the rules of the game and apply to these rules in the best way possible.
As long as employers rely on these applicant tracking systems to screen job CVs, your only hope for passing through them successfully is to know how to use them to your advantage.
When I started writing my CV, it was a complete mess and it didn’t really focus on the company’s needs. That’s where Adam Taha’s mentorship and coaching stepped in and he opened my eyes to what needed to change.
I didn’t take the emotional language, phrases, keywords and applicant tracking system that the recruiters and companies use into consideration.
I had to start all over again.
It was because of these steps that I was able to get a job to pay the bills.
I’m using these steps when applying for product design jobs within the niche I am targeting.
So let’s look at what we can do to better our chances to get our CV noticed…
1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Yes, it’s an obvious one but you won’t believe how many create their CVs for different jobs because of fear.
They don’t believe in what they aiming for.
Most will try and tailor what is available in the industry but you don’t want to do that. Your job is there and you just need to find it.
Decide exactly the job you want in the product design industry. Don’t dance with this. You want to show that you’re confident in your path.
But for your career, you need to be crystal clear what you want and go for only what you want. You took care of the bills but now is the time to be focused with your product design job.
This will help you greatly to remove any clutter and stay focused in doing the next steps for your CV.
2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Do your market research and the more you stay focused on doing so, you’ll get to understand the emotional language they use, the industry words they use, and what they are really looking for.
You need to save each job advert and print it out and study each one to see a familiar pattern.
The following is what you need to look for:
- What’s the top responsibilities they look for?
- What’s the lower end responsibilities they look for?
- What qualifications they are asking for?
- What skills and experience they ask for the most?
- What skills and experience they ask for the least?
- What professional competency they ask for?
(This is very broad) It can be strategic thinking, attitude and technical skills.
- What social competency they ask for?
(Social job environment). (These can Influence, negotiation skills, social skills)
- What social engagement skills they look for?
(Leadership) Managerial skills, developing positive environment for engagement with co-workers. Team building. Identifying skills needs for other team members.
All these factors play a huge role in producing a CV that speaks the emotional language of the people you want to influence.
3. KEYWORDS AND PHRASES
We are not there yet. We have to look at the keywords and phrases in these job descriptions. Then write a list down.
We are going to use the keywords and phrases as well as what the companies are looking for within our CV.
- The keyword phrases will be in the headline of your profile
- In the body text of your profile
- In the sub-headlines of your job history and experience
- And in your skills area
But here’s the thing. It’s not about stuffing your CV with keywords and phrases. It’s about telling a believable story that grabs their attention.
It’s about getting their applicant tracking system to see there is a close match between your CV and what the system is told to look for.
If your CV gets through then it must STILL tell a story that they believe in and feel they got to interview you.
So be careful in thinking of just beating the applicant tracking system. If your CV gets through – It will be read by a human being!
4. CHOOSE THE CORRECT FORMAT
We’re product designers and we’re very creative but we need to leave the fancy design away from the CV. The applicant tracking system recruiters and companies use a certain format.
If yours is some complicated fancy design format, the person at the other end will not see something different because the system won’t understand your format.
It can literally screw up your chances.
The system will miss out the important information you want the Job Recruiters to see and won’t pull what is needed. It might all disappear and be missed because of the format you use.
Such as your skills on your profile.
5. OPTIMISE YOUR CV
Right! You have followed these steps in putting together a Killer CV but there is another step you need to make sure of.
When you send or upload your CV:
- Never send a PDF version of your CV.
The Applicant Tracking System might not put it together. They are not there yet. The system might misread the format and it will mess everything up into codes or the layout will get broken.Anything can happen. Always upload a Microsoft Word version even if they say you can upload a PDF version.
- The fancy graphics and tables
The Applicant Tracking System won’t read your fancy graphics. If you use tables to put text on left and align to right then it will mess it up.
- Longer or shorter CV
There is a myth that shorter is better. That one A4 page is better. Don’t worry if your CV is 2 pages. Of course, don’t go overboard and send and upload a 10 page CV. No one is going to read that except if you are some hot shot that all big companies are chasing.
Even then, your CV by that time is just a protocol for Human Resources to shelf.
It is a good idea to pack your CV with experience because you’re giving much more information for the system to pick up.
There are many more tips but we will be going into too much detail and I got some designs to work on.
However, these steps will increase the chances for you to stand out and get noticed.