Masterclass: CV review and Speed networking

Do you know that on average, 250 Curriculum vitae are received for each job opening and recruiters only spend 5-7 seconds looking at a CV to decide whether or not the CV will go to the next stage? Facing fierce competitions, how can applicants make themselves outstanding to bolster their chance of landing the dream job?

Apart from important aspects that have been touched upon such as how to appear professionally online, how to write a polished and typo-free cover letter, and how to build a compelling and impressive portfolio, do you know that networking also plays an integral role in job search as it can cut out a lot of unnecessary time and frustration, and instantly set you apart by lining you up with people inside of the companies? 

Following the episode “How to get hired in the Netherlands?” by Anastasiia Serafyn, Viet Make It organized an extraordinary masterclass entitled “CV reviews and Speed networking”, co-hosted by the guest speaker Minh Dao Le to help job seekers prepare an excellent CV and land a dream job. 

Minh Dao Le is an entrepreneur with 5 years of experience in consulting at global corporations such as Boston Consulting Group, Nielsen and Microsoft. In this event, Minh Dao reviewed 2 shortlisted real-life Cvs and gave feedback on how these Cvs could be improved to get selected for the interview. For those who missed the opportunity to attend this insightful event, you arrive at the right page since this article will summarize all key points discussed during the event.

Event structure:

Speed networking

Participants were randomly grouped in pairs for 7 minutes each round. They had a chance to get to know each other, provide advice and feedback, share knowledge and experiences. There were 4 rounds in total and everyone wished the session could have been extended for longer interaction 🙂 

CV review

Two CVs were selected to analyze and provide feedback from which the audience can draw a lesion and fine tune their own CVs. Bear in mind that the guest speaker Minh Dao Le took a generic approach to help attendees create a base CV instead of discussing details how to tailor CVs for specific jobs. Therefore, the tips he gave can be applied for every job seeker. Besides following his advice, you should also add more ingredients to your CV (key words), based on the company and the job description, to increase the chance of getting a job.

1st CV

The first CV was from a Bachelor’s student in Supply Chain Management. Let’s boil things down to a shortlist of elements that can be improved to move further in the recruitment process.

Good points: 

This CV impressed readers by its tidiness, good order, reasonable length, professional presentation and well-structured outline. 

Points should be improved:

Formatting: 

The format of your CV depends on the company you are applying for, the country that you are in. If you apply for an European company, it is advised to choose the EUropass template. 

Summary: 

This is a snapshot of your overall professional career and is considered as one of the most effective sections of a CV to influence a recruiter. Instead of putting in superfluous information and using cliche language, you should make it straight to the point by using one word which precisely describes who you are. Next, name top 3 strengths that make you stand out, and explicitly state what role you are looking for. 

Personal information: 

Contact details have to go right after a profile picture. Typical information to include is your living address, email address, phone number, telephone, and LinkedIn profile (should be put in a hyperlink) 

Knowledge and skills: 

These two sections can be combined in one. You should only place your hard skills (e.g: Microsoft, Python, CSS, HTML, etc) and incorporate soft skills in the previous work experience. For example: instead of putting leadership (soft skill) separately, explain how you applied this skill in your previous job. For example:  Leading the team to deliver results for internal and external dashboard of ABC’s programs and increased overall sales by 30%.

It is unclear to subjectively rate your skills on the scale from 1 to 5. Instead of putting in  3 stars or 4 stars out of 5 starts, make it more concrete by indicating the correct levels of your skills (beginning, intermediate, advanced, professional). If possible, include your licenses for skills to make them more credible. 

Structure: 

For students and fresh graduates who don’t have much professional experience, education should always go before work experience. You can present your GPA, descriptions of courses you think may be useful for the job. Recruiters can tell how you are as a person by looking at your academic record, whether you are good at learning, hard working and persistent. 

For seniors, work experience goes before education. Now, recruiters will care more about your previous jobs rather than your degrees. It’s time to prove that you are seasoned, result-oriented and name some of your biggest achievements. 

Experience

Every responsibility should be put in a bullet point. The ideal number of bullet points you should have for each job is 3. Thus, be selective and choose the most relevant, useful tasks  to showcase your excellent skills

The opening verbs for every sentence have to be consistent in terms of verb tense. The verbs can be either in continuous tense or past tense, but make sure that they adhere to the same format. For example: Developing – Monitoring – Supporting – Building – Executing  Or   Created – Delivered – Contributed – Consolidated – Conducted.

Besides saying what you did, don’t forget to emphasize what you achieved. The best way to do this is to include facts, numbers, and duration of time. For example: Boosting the Facebook followers by 200% within 6 months by executing successful Facebook advertising campaigns.

For people whose work is not directly linked with numbers (e.g: supporting functions), it is important that you show your contribution to the team and portrait your role in the big picture. For example, if you are a content writer, supporting the marketing team, you can say that: Contributing to website traffic by (%) by developing creative content and optimizing SEO/SEA strategy. When you make up sentences for this section, there are 4 questions to ask: What are the results? What actions did you take to achieve these results? What is the scope of your role in the team? What is the scope of your team in the organization?

2nd CV

Different from the CV above, the second candidate has 6 years of experience with strong skills, knowledge and experience. Let’s do a quick sweep at M’s CV and give it a thorough analysis. We will skip what has been mentioned above and only focus on additional information here.

Good points:

The CV is informative, well presented and professional in terms of structure. With regard to content, this CV did a good job in giving short descriptions about companies he worked for. Color scheme is consistent and pleasant to the eyes. 

Points should be improved:

Besides having similar mistakes as the above CV such as unclear rating of skills, inconsistent verb tense for achievements/tasks, this CV could be more competitive if the following elements are addressed.

Summary:

Remember to hyperlink your email address and LinkedIn profile to give convenient access to the recruiter.

Experience

Descriptions could have been more concrete. Recruiters are not going to read all the bullet points for each job, so keep the most relevant and impressive achievements on top, (maximum 4) and convince them to keep reading ahead

Keep a balance between technical words and business words. Your CV will come to the hand of the low HR staff first before it can reach further to technical employees/specialists. Thus, try to formulate sentences so that they are comprehensive and readable. A sentence should contain business words to show the result, and technical words to show the action. For instance: I delivered A (a task) in a project using B (skills) and obtain C (quantified results) within D (a period of time)

Structure overall: 

Remember not to put a blank page following your CV since it displays fault, unprofessional format, and even sloppiness and inattentiveness in terms of personality.

Note: 

Building a CV goes hand in hand with building a personal brand, which helps you make a great impression on recruiters, ease your career path and even bring you further in every direction of your life. Get your CV right from the outset and you may secure a job more quickly. Good luck and don’t forget to follow Viet Make It for more events and inspiring stories!

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