Even though today I work in an HR department, I don’t play a direct role in recruiting. This post is written as the result of many successful and failed attempts by an olah chadasha (new immigrant to Israel) with +10 years of experience in “non-tech” industries before her arrival in Israel. Since then (6 years ago) I have created at least 10 different base CVs (and +500 customized CV – the difference will be explained in the sequence) and did a lot of A/B testing.
Today, I have the opportunity to understand some “behind the scenes” things, because I’m a keen person and I ask my colleagues things. Therefore, please, use this blog post in moderation.
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This blog post series kicked-off after my presentation to Gvahim students a month ago (OMG, time flies!). When we were wrapping up, the students were asked to share what were their main takeaways from the presentation. Many of them said: “I’ve been doing it all wrong with my CV”. One of them even said to me: “Carol, it sounded to me that you read my CV and were speaking directly to me about the main CV mistakes” – and I wasn’t.
Actually, this is the part I least like to do when helping other people. Why? Because CVs are boring. But unfortunately, they are still needed. Some start-ups are trying to change this game, but 90% of the current recruiting is still CV-based.
Your CV is definitely your first opportunity to be considered for a hiring process. So, you need to do it right to advance to the next steps!
Backstage information: the CV screening stage is usually performed by an HR Talent Acquisition (TA) team member and by the hiring manager – I had heard a lot about ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) robots before I started to work for an HR department. Personally, I haven’t seen any CV being automatically rejected by these robots. The ATS are systems that were created to help the hiring team manage applicants database (like a CRM, but for managing talents, not clients or leads) and they only raise flags.
In my original presentation, I separated this subject into two sections: Dos and Don’ts. Since writing a good CV is a very comprehensive topic, I’ll also break down this blog post into two parts.
As I always like to start with the positive, this post will be about the CV Dos and the next one, the Don’ts.
Below is a summary of the main CV Dos, based on my own experience.
- Create a couple of base CV
- Insert keywords from the job description (JD)
- Clearly write the name of the position you’re applying to
- Make your CV fit in one page
- Add your LinkedIn profile, with a link
- Always add your language skills
- It’s OK to apply for different positions in the same company, but some time apart and adapting the CV each time
Create a couple of base CV
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I’ve created at least 10 different base CVs and +500 customized CVs. This is especially relevant for olim chadashim/new immigrants to Israel that find is difficult to associate the position they had in their home country to their new country.
So what do I mean by a base CV?
Let’s take my case as an example. In Brazil, I worked as a business consultant, delivering strategic and operational plans and business projects to implement what was planned. I found it quite difficult to land a position in business consulting firms in Israel, because they usually need professionals that are able to write and present reports in Hebrew. Even though today I speak fluent Business Hebrew, it’s still difficult for me to write in Hebrew.
My first attempt to enter the job market in Israel was as Project Manager (PM). For those who are familiar with PM in Israel, you know that companies are looking for a more technical profile than mine (some companies even write that they’re looking for a Technical PM, but not all). Then, after a couple of failed interviews, I began to look for Business Project Manager or Operations Project Manager or Strategy Analyst open positions. Here enters the explanation about having a couple of base CVs.
If you do some research on these 3 different positions, the activities and experience required in each job description are quite different from each other. So, my advice is to have a base CV for each one, emphasizing your previous experience in the activities according to what is written in each job description.
Insert keywords from the job description (JD)
Also, as mentioned before, it’s best practice to customize each CV according to each position you’ll apply for. To contextualize, I’ll take my case as an example: let’s say that I would like to apply for an Operations Project Manager position at Gett. I’ll take the base CV I created for this kind of position and then I’ll customize by inserting keywords from the JD. You can see some keywords I would use in my customized CV highlighted in the image below:
Clearly write the name of the position you’re applying to
Some people just keep the same positions titles in every CV they send. I’ve seen people applying for Customer Success Manager, for example, with the title “Project Manager” or even worse “Educator”. My point is not that being a project manager or an educator is bad, not at all! But, try to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring team reading your CV: the connection isn’t obvious! And in the competitive Israeli job market, you must make it easier for the hiring team to choose you!
Make your CV fit in one page
Believe me, when I say I understand you…
I know it’s quite hard for a person who has decided to change countries to explain their previous experience in one page.
I know it’s difficult to find a correlated position of what you have done in your home country to your new country.
I know it’s arduous to just exclude the many amazing things you’ve done in your career path so far or courses you decided to take because they were important for your professional growth back then.
I’ve experienced all the above, so yes, I know how hard it is to hear when someone more experienced reviews your CV and says you need to take certain things off your CV! But… they’re right! Why? Because the hiring team receives so many CVs for each position that they can’t afford to read your individual story carefully.
What I do instead is open with a summary about myself (I use this summary as a cover letter, so no need to add any other document to your application), then professional experience (2 or 3 bullet points for each position – no more than that), then the rest. Here’s a small drawing of how I believe a one-page CV should look like.
Add your LinkedIn profile, with a link
If you have a LinkedIn profile, why not add a link to it in your CV? I’ve seen countless people that have a (good) LinkedIn profile adding “their names” beside a LinkedIn logo. If the hiring team would like to see your recommendations, for example, they’ll have to:
- Open a new tab
- Type LinkedIn.com
- Go for the search bar
- Type your name (if they type one letter wrong, they probably won’t find you)
- Look for you in the results list (I made a simple search on my own profile. I found 95 results for Carol Hauser. I could have used a filter and looked for Carol Hauser located in Israel – yes, just one! But no one in the hiring team member will do this search, believe me!)
If you don’t know how to add a link to a PDF document, you can use this site or just Google it. As I mentioned before, ATS are used to help the hiring team manage the recruiting process. They identify links automatically and, if the person wants to check you out on LinkedIn, they just need to click on the link (one step, compared with 5 – really, help the hiring team help you get the job!).
If you don’t have a LinkedIn, create one – as fast as you can, because without this tool it’ll be very difficult to survive the competitive Israeli job market… read this article for tips on how to write a great LinkedIn profile. Do it step by step – you don’t need to have the perfect LinkedIn profile ready. Start with the basic stuff and improve other sections with time.
Always add your language skills
If you’re applying for a position that requires a specific language knowledge, you must add it very clearly and my advice is to add it at the top of your CV. If the person is Brazilian, for example, and in the summary is written “Brazilian professional bla bla bla”, don’t assume that the hiring team will know that you speak Portuguese. It has to be written clearly that Portuguese is your mother tongue! It’s a great advantage for you, so why not write it? It seems kind of obvious, but don’t take anything for granted if you really want that job.
It’s OK to apply for different positions in the same company, but some time apart and adapting the CV each time
As I mentioned before, ATS are used to help the hiring team manage applicants database. Applying several times for the same company is ok. But, be aware that the ATS will raise a flag that you applied for another position before a certain timeframe. My recommendation is to send in a new CV, taking into consideration the current position you’re applying to and following the tips given in this post. Another recommendation is to apply to positions that require similar skill sets.
A question that was asked during the presentation I gave to Gvahim students is how to manage your LinkedIn profile while applying to different kinds of positions. My 2 cents is that you should have a very complete profile on your LinkedIn and only adapt your CV. There is a huge difference between adapting and lying. NEVER claim to know something that you don’t!
Go back to your CV now that you have finished reading this post, and ask yourself: do I need to adapt something? Don’t worry – work on it ASAP! Do you remember that, at the beginning of this post, I mentioned that I have created at least 10 base CVs? The reason is that I had to learn by reading a lot and changing the CV with time! You’ll get there, I’m sure!
Last 2 bonus tips:
1- Did you know that both MS Word and G-suite have lots of CV templates? They are free and easy to edit.
2- Always ask for a third person to review your CV (at least the base CVs). They can identify small typos and help you out! There isn’t anything worse than sending in a CV with a typo.
I hope you enjoyed and learned something new with this blog post! If you did, I would really appreciate it if you could leave a comment!
Next week, I’ll share the rest of my CV tips – the Don’ts! There’s a good chance you’ll pick up something new. Stay tuned!