How CV SPAM is worse than the real thing

Drowning in CV spam

A frustrated colleague earlier today had a little rant at his computer, which went something like this...

You just can't apply to every $%&*@ job we have with a generalist CV. Don’t you get that it’s reeking of Eau-de desperation!

Whilst perhaps a little bit harsh, and obviously, the individual was quite desperate to secure a job, unfortunately however they’re doing it all wrong!

Why should you stop it?

“You just can’t apply to every job we have”

You may imagine that more applications equal more chance of success, but alas no, this approach can be seriously detrimental to your job hunt. The hiring manager, internal HR or agency recruiter will rightly believe that you have no idea what type of job you want or know where your actual skill sets lie at best, and at worst believe you’re quite delusional. They will only interview and recruit those individuals who take the time to apply for the roles that match their experience and align to their career direction.

“A hugely generalist CV”

These days it’s ok to have 7 careers and 20 jobs – unlike our baby boomer forefathers who may well have had a job for life. If you’re a career generalist, you’re likely to have different resume’s that target these different careers in a focused way. You may have worked on a number of different roles, but you need to tailor your approach and be specific to the opportunity you are seeking.

If your CV is cluttered with lots of irrelevant information, it’s likely your relevant experience will be missed or the reader will stop reading altogether and move onto a CV that directly matched what they were looking for. Make it easy for the person reviewing your CV to scan through and see the exact requirements they’re looking for.

Make sure you:

  • Focus on and demonstrate your experience and skills that are specifically mentioned in relevance to the role and in the job advert;
  • Don’t be afraid to use the same language and keywords that they use to describe the role and the type of person they are after;
  • Highlight your successes that are relevant and prove you can do the job. Include relevant numbers or stats that support your successes.

Consider this, if there is a company you have always wanted to work for, applying with your generic CV to all the roles is likely to completely rule you out and stop you having a chance once you actually have the required skillset for a role they have advertised.

“Reeking of desperation”

Job-hunting as in dating - desperation is not something you want to portray.

If you continue with the approach that not only my colleague gets frustrated with, recruiters will question - do you even know what your skills and strengths are? Do you even really want this particular role? If you were successful, will you actually stick around? It’s unlikely that the person recruiting will spend their limited (and precious) time finding out the answers to those questions when they have CV’s in front of them that actually closely fit the requirements.

So next time you decide to apply for a role, make sure you cover off your bases and ensure your CV doesn’t get sent to the CV spam pile. If you need further help, check out our CV Advice or our eBook the “Professional Dream”, which focuses on how to find your perfect job.