When applying for a job, there are perhaps only two things most job seekers pay any attention to – the impressiveness of their CV and whether their cover letter is equally impressive, which is fine; CVs do have to be impressive, after all. In fact, if you’re looking for tips on crafting a good CV or cover letter, try reading our posts on both topics – one from the horse’s mouth, well actually that of a recruiter, who shares tips on what will get your CV noticed and another outlines the vital importance of covering letters. But the truth is, many people are still sloppy when it comes to their CVs.
Making a Good, Nay, Great First Impression
When you’re applying for a job, you’ve got to put your best foot forward. Most people know this, which is why they spend hours toiling over their resumes and then spend more hours laboriously constructing sentences that are neither ambiguous, nor too forthright, either; lest it leave the recruiter or hiring manager without any questions that could be answered in an interview.
Once we’re asked to come in for an interview, we make sure to wear our fancy interview threads and our best attitude – in short, we turn on the best version of ourselves. It’s about first impressions, after all, and everyone knows this. It’s so basic that all these things serve to do is weed out the tyre-kickers from the real contenders.
A Tougher Market
But in today’s job market the number of real contenders have increased markedly, while opportunities have remained the same, if not decreased in the years since the GFC. Standing out from your competition requires something extra – it could be something like showing a commitment to continuing professional development by taking a short course like many students of our MYOB training courses have done.
It could also be something as simple as demonstrating attention to detail – an important attribute to have if you’re applying for a job as a bookkeeper or an administration assistant, one would assume. Certainly, if I’m looking to hire a new staff member and I’ve had piles of CVs delivered to my inbox from Seek or Gumtree, finicky things like the filename of a person’s CV are things I look at.
If I receive a resume from someone simply saved as “resume” it’s generally safe to say that this person shows little attention to detail. More often than not, I open the file to find something off – poor formatting, spelling mistakes, terrible grammar, and the like. Sometimes this isn’t the case, and I certainly wouldn’t disregard a perfectly good candidate over something like this, but I’ve still made a note of it.
Think of the Interviewer
But there are practical considerations to this, too. Often, I’ll want to forward a couple of CVs onto another staff member to get their input, usually mentioning which candidate I think seems promising in my email. But emailing several CVs all saved as “resume” means the recipient will have to open each file to see if it corresponds to the applicant I was referring to – kind of annoying, particularly for the time-strapped recruiter.
It also makes saving the files on my computer difficult; plus there’s the chance that I could accidentally overwrite your CV with another candidate’s because they each have the same filename. Consequently, you’re not getting a phone call about an interview. All that time you spent on your CV was just negated in less than two seconds when I accidentally clicked ‘yes’ in response to the “‘resume.doc’ already exists. Do you want to replace it?” warning.
Saving your CV with your name and the job title you’re applying for doesn’t just show your attention to detail, it also makes it easy for recruiters and hiring managers – who are often advertising for more than one position – to identify who you are and the job you’re applying for, giving you a much great shot at being called in for an interview.
Don’t risk your CV getting lost over something as simple as a filename – and if you’re not that attentive to detail, then start! It’s an important attribute to possess, because it means employers can trust that you’ll do your job right, which is why we’re hiring you in the first place. You might also consider getting some help writing your resume and learning how to use Microsoft Word to edit your resume if you need to. If you want to look at starting your own independent contracting business try the Small Business Management and StartUp Course.