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Just to give a little bit of a credibility, I used to work in an HR company as a talent acquisition associate, and later as a recruiter. So I've seen a good deal of CVs. Some of them were good, some of them were bad. Some of them were just so awful and ridiculous that I decided not to do it ever again. Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit, but still! Here are the things which made me go for "no" and a few more suggestions.
1. The Fresh Graduate with a Three Page Resume
It's awesome that even during university you managed to sell hot dogs, but how is it related to the graphic designer position you're applying for? Think of CVs and job offers as a matching shapes cube for babies. You can't use exactly the same one CV for various job offers. Take your time, adjust your CV for every job offer you'd like to apply for.
I understand that, in that case, you can't send 10,000 replies a day, but that's exactly the point. Go to number two.
2. Sending CVs Everywhere
You can imagine the annoyance of the HR representative when he sees a resume of somebody who doesn't match even half of the requirements. According to Forbes, the average number of people who apply for a job is 118, and only 20 percent of them get to an interview. There are also many companies who use AI to go through resumes and select approximately half of the resumes for a screening by a human.
Here you go. If you don't feel like the requirements are perfectly matching your skills and background, don't bother sending your resume. Rather, save this time and look for a more fitting job. Yes, there will be less of them, and yes, it's gonna take some time.
3. Too Basic a Design
This is not the most crucial "don't," but it definitely helps if your resume attracts attention, especially if you're applying for a job which requires creativity—which nowadays is almost all of them.
If you can't come up with an impressive design for your CV, turn to Google. There are many (also free) websites where you can download a template for your CV or where you can create it directly. If you're busy (or lazy) like me, approach a friend who would fix it for a few bucks or a lunch.
4. Being Random
It might be difficult to find a perfect job. (Check out my previous article.) So it might be easier for you to find a perfect company. I believe you already admire some firms. Maybe Facebook? LinkedIn? Google? Citibank? That helps a lot!
If you found a company (or companies) you are interested in, go through your network and look for any person you know who works there. (And if the person is in HR, that's the jackpot). Don't expect that he'll automatically get you a job there, but at least he can give you an idea of the company culture. That can give you a better picture and a possible advantage at an interview.
If you didn't find any decent connection, try to make one on your own. Search for key people on LinkedIn, try to approach them via message or invite them for a chat over a coffee. Tell them that you are interested in what they do and you'd just like to learn more. There are many senior people who would be happy to help or mentor, and it'll boost their ego too. :)
If you build a relationship with some of them, who knows where it's going to lead. Just don't be too strict on your agenda. Your goal should be building an extensive, powerful network. That's far beyond "just getting a job."
5. Don't be afraid.
Did you find a perfect company, but they don't have any opening that would fit you? Approach them anyway! No smart company would waste a perfect potential proactive employee. Show them how valuable you are, how you'd help the company, and also how working in the company would help you. Be like Queen and Freddie Mercury (hope you liked the new movie). Explain to them that you need each other. According to Forbes, 80 percent of vacant jobs are never announced, so be proactive.
Let me share a little bit from my experience.
I got my current job by sending an email to Slido's support introducing myself and explaining how their product helped me and my (former) company. I also mentioned that I found out that they have no people in the city I was staying at (it was Manila, Philippines if you must know) and in case they're interested, I'd be happy to help. I also included in the email a document which showed a potential of the Filipino market, as well as names and emails of people who already expressed their interest in the product. A day later I got an offer to have a phone call, and a week later I was externally hired as a Filipino representative. I'm not saying it's going to work every time, but it's worth it to try, right?
Just imagine yourself at the position of the HR person holding a CV like yours. Would you hire "yourself" based on the resume?
If no, revise. If yes, go for it!