Hire calling: How to update your CV for a pandemic-era work world

Jan 15, 2021 09:34 PM IST

Should you mention that you were laid off? That you prefer to work from home? That you have excellent skills on TikTok? Recruiting is getting a reboot. Catch up here.

DO Keep it brief. Mass layoffs mean that competition for jobs has multiplied, says LinkedIn careers expert Bhairavi Jhaveri. On the professional networking site, the average number of applications per job rose from about 90 in January to 180 in June. Now, more than ever, your resumé needs to be a short but shining overview. Keep it to two pages. Don’t bore or distract a recruiter.

Life is not an episode of Suits. You may not have a face-to-face interview anymore. Consider these pitfalls before your next job hunt. (IMAGE COURTESY USA NETWORK)
Life is not an episode of Suits. You may not have a face-to-face interview anymore. Consider these pitfalls before your next job hunt. (IMAGE COURTESY USA NETWORK)

DON’T Hide the fact that you were laid off. “In most cases, your next employer will understand,” Jhaveri says. Phrase it right. Admit that you lost your job to budget cuts, explain what you’ve done since, and you could end up showcasing resilience and vulnerability at the same time.

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DO List every new skill. Did you complete an online course while stuck at home? Have you mastered video-editing, data analysis or InstaLives? Are you great at public speaking? Showcase it on your CV – it sends the message that you’re willing to upskill, and that your talents are transferable across a wide range of tasks. Companies are changing their strategies too, and your new talent could be just what someone is looking for.

DON’T Send the same resume to everyone. It’s tempting to write one introduction, attach one NewFinalCV.pdf, send it to 100 companies and hope for the best. But you’ll hurt your chances. “Customise your CV and cover letter to companies and the roles they seek,” Jhaveri says. Targeted communication shows you’ve done your homework, aren’t lazy, and are genuinely interested in a particular role.

DO Be upfront if you prefer working from home. Globally, the volume of job searches using the “remote” filter on LinkedIn has increased 60% since the start of March. “Early trends show that organisations in India are open to hiring a remote workforce based in different cities and even countries,” Jhaveri says. This means that, more than ever, your skills will matter more than your proximity to the office building.

DON’T Fumble on a video interview. Preparation is crucial. Do at least two test runs with a friend to check that your connection, audio settings, lighting and apps are working. Fix your angle and setting in advance, practice your volume and tone, so you will eventually look and sound on screen exactly as you want to. Keep work samples, notes and data ready at hand.

Your resume checklist

Put highlights at the top: Forget online CV templates. Use your two pages to showcase why you’re better than others with similar experience and skills. List key accomplishments and successes in your general summary. Draw on industry-specific keywords. Create bullet-point lists so details stand out.

Consider adding a video resume: It lets a recruiter get a sense of your personality and levels of communication and confidence right away. Don’t read out what’s already on your CV. Mention specific instances from your career in which you have shone. Keep the video to under three minutes. Showcase what you offer, rather than what you want.

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    Rachel Lopez is a a writer and editor with the Hindustan Times. She has worked with the Times Group, Time Out and Vogue and has a special interest in city history, culture, etymology and internet and society.

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