The Digital Age CV

The Digital Age CV

Here’s a birds-eye view of the factors to consider while scripting a new age CV

Despite a raging debate on whether the CV is still relevant in the digital age, recruiters generally agree that there is nothing yet to entirely replace it. The CV still remains a crucial component of the hiring process. However, with changing times, it has evolved to suit new recruiting approaches and requirements.

So what are the factors to consider while scripting a new-age CV? Here’s a birds-eye view of what experts suggest:

Go easy on formatting

  • To cope with the ever-increasing number of CVs, many recruiters now engage applicant tracking systems (ATS). These are pre-screening software that analyse keywords, dates and titles in aCVand match them with the requirements of the targeted job.
  • A candidate’s target should be to get past the software to the next stage –inthe hands of a human recruiter. For this, the first factor is to keep the CV machine-readable.
  • The ATS will not be able to extract information from over-formatted layouts. Maintain a simple formatting – without elaborate style elements, exotic fonts, tables, graphics or embedded images.
  • Tried-and-tested classic fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Calibri and Georgia remain the best options even in the digital age.
  • Never insert useful content in header and footers. Some put in name, contact details and similar data in the header or footer field. However, screening software are generally programmed to ignore these areas.

Match your keywords to the job

  • By now it must be obvious that the objective is to stay as close as possible to the job requirements, so that the screening software identifies a perfect match. For this, the best way is to use the correct keywords.
  • While scripting the CV, use the exact wordings of the job posting to describe your accomplishments and achievements. Obviously, they should be truthful.
  • Mirroring the keywords used in the job description circulated by the recruiter is the easiest way to achieve a keyword match. But, of course, doing this means you need to customise your CV for every job you apply for.
  • You also need to do a fair amount of research to know the precise requirements for the vacancy.

Prior online research is a must

  • Even in the past, it was prudent to research the company you were applying for. But in the digital age, it is a must – and now it is immensely easy too!
  • The vast treasure trove of company information available over the internet is open to free exploitation. And this saves time and effort on both sides of the table.
  • On one hand the research help you evaluate how suitable the vacancy, or the company, is for you. On the other hand, research reveals keyinputs that can be leveraged intelligently while writing the CV.
  • Check the official company website or social media pages, do a Google search on the organisation, cross-check any facts that looks doubtful, look up the exact meaning of terminology you are not sure of. All these will help you understand the company’s culture and work ethics.

Write for the purpose

  • Instead of lengthening past achievement history, focus on what skills you are bringing to the table.
  • Start every point with an action word. For instance, rather than writing “30% improvement in sales were achieved” write “Improved sales by 30%”.
  • Use acronyms and spelled out forms of industry specific terminology, like titles, professional organisations, certifications, etc.
  • Starting with a “career objective” is no longer considered necessary. That objective is more of a personal goal for the candidate – not something the company is looking for; and it could mislead the ATS. Instead, it’s better to start with a list of key skills so that the recruiter immediately knows what the candidate is bringing to the table.

Design for the screen

  • While conventionalCVs were printed, a new-age recruiter always takes the first look at a CV on screen. This will impact the choice of design in several ways.
  • On-screen reading allows playing around with non-conventional, attractive and visually impressive layouts.
  • For online readability, a clean layout with fonts that are not stressful to the eye is a must. Colour should be used to accent and communicate – not to overwhelm. Keep in mind the various psychological messaging that colour schemes suggest.
  • Balance all visual elements to make your design stand-out as modern, professional, and appropriate for the job in question.
  • Several online resume-builder tools are now available for creating excellent designs. Choose one that suits your need.

Optimise space for maximum visibility

  • Studies reveal that human recruiters tend to take in more information from the top third of a CV. That is how the eye works. So try to make the best use for this space.
  • Showcase your most valuable skills, vital achievements, and contact details in this area. Never overinform with jam-packed text.
  • Dense resumes are hard to read, and more likely to be rejected. Judicious use of white space on the page is a sure-shot way to make a classy impression. 
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