If you are on the job hunt this year, it's important to know where to look for jobs, which companies are hiring and which industries are growing. But it is just as important to have the right tools at hand. Your entry ticket for a new job is your CV. It's often the first thing that a future employer will see from you.
So now that we just entered into a new year, what are the universally agreed-upon elements that are in, and what is new for your CV?
Here are some of the best practices when it comes to crafting your CV in 2012:
Use numbers and proof of what you have done. "Increased sales by 35 percent through client profiling campaign" is better than "Increased sales in my region." Stop putting generic tasks down, and instead, portray what you did in your role or how you brought forth new ideas for products, processes, efficiency, etc. The more you can quantify your efforts with actual numbers or data, the better positioned you will be.
Don't forget the cover letter
The cover letter is a perfect opportunity to sell yourself, and it's where you can infuse personality into your application. But once you craft a terrific cover letter, don't just push it out to every job prospect. Take some extra time to tailor it to why you want that specific job at that specific company and why your skills would benefit the overall organization if hired.
Keywords can be the key
Just as you use keywords to search for jobs, employers are using keywords to find your CV. If a recruiter or manager can put your CV side-by-side with the job requirements and check off the same keywords, you've made his life so much easier. Pay attention to the keywords in the job posting and be sure to use them in your CV and cover letter, because even applicant tracking systems are based on keyword searches.
Get creative with visual CVs
More people are using tools to help illustrate their work history through sites such as Vizualize.me. These sites offer tools to help individuals present the information on their CVs in a unique way that stands out. Just remember that you still need a traditional format to hand out or attach to make it easy for saving in company databases.
Use social media to promote yourself
Just as employers use multiple avenues to push out job postings, you as a job seeker need to use all the channels available to you to put yourself in front of recruiters. Using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn as a means to give updates on your career or connect with other professionals gives your CV legs and can make you more memorable as a candidate. But since companies are screening candidates through social media, make sure your online profiles are either professional facing or locked for outside viewing.
Give video CVs a try
In this tough economy, job seekers are going to creative lengths to get their name, talents and personality in front of employers, and a good way to do this is a video CV. If you're going to create something like this, make sure you're providing substance or showing off your soft skills within the video instead of just doing something flashy to get the recruiter's attention.