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How do I get my CV seen?

Pencil marks being rubbed out

With the internet offering new ways to get yourself noticed by prospective employers, it seems the days of the two-page CV may be numbered.

WebWise Team | 10th October 2012

The job market has become incredibly competitive and recruiters can be overwhelmed by applications, sometimes receiving many hundreds of CVs for just one job. Many now use computer software to scan CVs for relevant keywords and those the software judges irrelevant are cast onto the 'no' pile before they're ever seen by a human being.

So, apart from ensuring that the text in your CV and covering letter is rich in appropriate keywords, how can you make your CV stand out?

Tailor your CV

Ben Smith, director of a specialist job site for PR professionals, has this advice for prospective candidates: "Only apply for jobs that your skills are relevant for. Try to look at it from a recruiter's perspective and make sure your CV lists a logical sequence of experiences that show recruiters you are prepared for a job at that company."

There are now hundreds of job sites on the web: general sites like Monster, totaljobs.com, Guardian Jobs and JobServe, and profession-specific sites such as CharityJOB, Simply Law Jobs and Careers in Construction.

Business Management graduate Carlene Horridge agrees that tailoring your CV so that it appeals to the recruiters who have the opportunities you are interested in is really important, particularly if you are a recent graduate with little work experience. "I found my first job via Monster. By carefully tailoring my CV it was quickly found by a company with a graduate scheme who have since employed me."

Promote yourself with social media

Ben Smith suggests candidates should also think about how social media can be used as a tool to promote yourself. "Ensure you build as complete a picture of your skills as possible with a Twitter profile, a LinkedIn profile, a blog and even a video CV."

Professional social network LinkedIn can be an especially valuable tool for people who work for themselves, as it can provide direct access to employers and opportunities. Self-employed e-marketer Thom Poole agrees: "I've found contract work through LinkedIn's 'featured jobs' section. It's also a great way to promote yourself."

Even micro-blogging site Twitter can be a useful tool for job-seekers. Freelance writer Joanna Lloyd says, "the trick is to tweet in the right place at the right time". By monitoring tweets using Twitter's search function, Joanna picked up on a tweet from someone looking for a freelance writer. A few tweets and emails later and Joanna had picked up the contract.

Alternative CVs

What if you are looking for a truly innovative alternative to the two-page CV? Rachael Lewis from Cheltenham graduated in 2008 with a first class honours degree in Media Production but struggled to reach her first step on the career ladder.

Feeling frustrated, Rachael says it was a post by a media entrepreneur on the Media City blog, encouraging media graduates to 'use the internet to market yourself', that inspired her to use her media production skills to create a video CV which she posted on video-sharing site Vimeo.

Rachael says the feedback that she has received via social networking sites including Twitter has been 'really positive' and she has received lots of free advice from digital marketing professionals and has since been hired.

Someone else who has used their creative talent to draw attention to his skills is Kieran King, a graphic design graduate from Harrow. Kieran posted a quirky audio version of his CV on music-sharing site SoundCloud that quickly caught the attention of senior creative professionals. I set aside a month to write and record it... as a result I've been offered a number of paid placements with several creative agencies."

So it seems the secret to finding a job today is to take full advantage of everything technology has to offer: craft a multimedia CV that will help you to stand out from the crowd, and make sure that your CV is peppered with machine-readable keywords so your application finds its way to the 'yes' pile.


The WebWise 'W'

WebWise Team

WebWise was first launched in 1998 and since then has helped people of all ages to learn about and love the internet.