Guess who created the first CV ever? None other than the greatest polymath of the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci! Although a true genius of his time, even he had to hunt for a job like most of us today. The CV Leonardo sent to the Regent of Milan was, was rather sophisticated for those times and almost close to what we create nowadays. It was incredibly personalised, listed his many talents and explained how they would be specifically useful to the Regent of Milan himself, both in war and in peace.
And here we are 533 years later, job hunting again! Although the act of hunting has not changed, the CV definitely has. Nowadays, employers are using artificial intelligence (AI) based application tracking systems (ATS) to make life easier for human resource personnel and sift through a large number of applications quickly. With AI on the rise and more sophisticated versions of it flooding the market, the CV has had to reinvent itself as well.
Employers are definitely looking towards aspirants to apply a lot more finesse when it comes to making a CV. That means, all the unnecessary details, such as how much you enjoy taking your dog for a walk are gone. It aims to present the maximum version of you in the minimum and clearest way possible.
However, getting through the AI itself is a tough job. It reads and scans every copy and sends them to the employer based on their relevance. Those found irrelevant are dumped even before the employers set their eyes on them! The battle on the frontlines nowadays is to get through the AI first.
Format and font
The first thing to decide while making a CV is the format of the CV. The aim is to get a crisp and clear CV that looks attractive and clean at the same time. The ideal font should be something that can be easily read, for instance, Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial, preferably in black. The AI will not read colours or graphics, so it is best not to bother with them.
Profile, professional experiences, achievements
It is always best to use traditional headings, such as profile, experiences and achievements. Refrain from using other terms, such as ‘memberships’ and ‘affiliations’ as many different words will make the robot flag your CV.
Your experiences and qualifications should be relevant to the position you are applying for. More to the point, they should be specific. If the job demands ‘leadership’ skills or proficiency in particular software, then it is pointless to write ‘have leadership skills’. Instead, show where you have displayed those leadership skills. Even for specific skills, such as software, one should mention the specific software in which the skill lies. For instance, ‘skilled in Adobe InDesign or Photoshop’.
If the position demands being ‘result oriented’ or ‘passionate’ then mention numbers, designations or dates, which give proof rather than just mentioning ‘result oriented’ or ‘passionate’. The idea is to be as straightforward as possible.
The final step is to proofread your CV before submission. Check for spelling mistakes and keywords and go through everything once again. Spelling mistakes are suicidal when it comes to dealing with AI. A human may be able to understand what kind of word was intended but a robot will not and your CV faces the danger of being discarded.
We all know that in order to pass the ATS test, we need to include those specific words in our own CVs. However, do not go overboard. It is smart enough to recognise when someone is using the words far too many times and will immediately remove your application. Moreover, even if the CV does manage to get through to the human on the other side, she or he will merely get irritated at the deluge of words.
Another tip is to skip the personal statements as they add no value during the screening process. Instead, include a cover letter which can convince the employer that you are the right fit for the job. Your CV and your cover letter should be a single document. Also, remember to provide full forms for all acronyms or avoid acronyms altogether. The AI might not be able to correctly identify what the acronym stands for.
Lastly, a LinkedIn profile is becoming increasingly important. Make sure that your CV and your profile reflect the same You. If there are two different looks between your CV and your profile, then it is a red flag.
Instead of AI, you can also directly reach out to the human who is offering the position. Sometimes, it is better to stick to the human touch.