How does one be good at landing job offers?
Besides obtaining CFA charters, the other thing the team here at 300 Hours has been historically pretty successful at are job offers. Having switched jobs multiple times each, every one of us is also well acquainted with the art of applying and obtaining jobs.
There are several key things that one needs to be good at to be good at getting job offers, and that's what this series of posts is about. We will be going through 3 key skills to job-hunting, and this is Part 1.
For Part 1, let's talk about the base skill of crafting an effective CV.
Skill #1 - You have to commit to writing a good CV
Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your CV.
CV writing is a massive pain in the ass. It's highly open-ended, you haven't a clue what's important, and there's no end to how much you can edit and format. But having a killer CV is highly important. Once you've crafted a really eye-popping CV, you can duplicate that baby and send it in all directions. CVs get you interviews.
Without a good CV, you won't get any interviews. Not even with connections.
There a ton of CV writing good practices available everywhere so we won't go into ridiculous detail here, but the most important things to bear in mind, CV-wise, are below.
- Find out who to address it to. The hiring manager, the HR person, someone. Don't use generic terms such as 'sir', 'madam', or 'recruitment team'. Ideally you should be using an inside contact. Spend time to tailor your CV and cover letter to different companies. You may think you're being clever and using generic terms that work in every occasion, but these guys are pros. They'll see clumsy efforts coming a mile away and you will get busted.
- Find out what length and format to aim for. Every country has their own convention for CVs - one pagers for US, two pages in UK, photos as standard in Germany, and so on. Find out what works for your country and stick to it.
- Suit the role you're applying to. If you're applying to multiple job types, you need to create different CVs emphasizing different strengths and experience.
- Have a 'mother of all CVs'. This is a really long CV with every single thing you’ve done on it, with no regards to length constraints. The purpose of this CV is not to send to companies, but as a reference for other CVs and something to use for interviews. You will also cherry-pick achievements and details to create CVs to suit different industries.
- It must work whether the reader has 5 hours, 5 minutes, or 5 seconds. This is where writing succinctly and formatting will be key. You have to be interesting to keep the reader going. Your formatting should also be clear so that if a reader only has a minute to scan, they can get the main points from your section titles. Bolding and bullet points are your friends. Long paragraphs and sentences are not.
- Sense-check, tidy, no errors. It needs to be flawless. Print it out, see how it looks, and get somebody else to have a look at it too. Check for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Sum up your dates. Make sure the dates tally up and that you can account for any time ‘lost’ in between jobs/education
- Update it often. Always send a current version of your CV. And by current, we mean one that's considered everything you've done up till now.
- Augment it with LinkedIn. Create a LinkedIn profile and link employers to it in your cover letter.
For an extensive career guide to getting jobs in finance, check out these series of career guides written by the good folks at Wall Street Oasis. We'll review them in detail in a later post, but suffice to say for now that we think the guides are pretty awesome.
This is Part 1 of our Awesome at Job Hunting series. View all 3 posts in our Awesome at Job Hunting series:
- How to be Awesome at Job Hunting Part 1: CVs
- How to be Awesome at Job Hunting Part 2: Networking
- How to be Awesome at Job Hunting Part 3: Interviewing
Are you guilty of not being through enough when preparing your CV? Let us know below!