Your CV is the first impression you give potential employers, so it’s crucial you make it count! A well-crafted and nicely designed CV can help you stand out and increase your chances of landing an interview.
Maria Helena Vallikivi, the Recruitment Manager from Bolt, has shared great tips to help you create a winning CV for non-tech roles. Even if you’re starting from scratch or need to revamp your existing one, this article has got you covered with actionable advice to help you come out on top.
Six seconds to make an impression
“On average, the team reviews tens of thousands of CVs per month,” says Maria Helena.
Such high volumes imply intense competition in the job market and that recruiters have limited time to review each CV. A recent study showed that recruiters spend 6 to 8 seconds reviewing a CV before deciding whether or not they should look at the profile in more depth. The recruiter then spends additional time trying to ascertain the exact experience and if it matches our needs.
That’s why it’s crucial to make your CV skimmable and include only relevant experience, skills and keywords.
Before you start crafting your CV
“It’s crucial to read the job description carefully,” says Maria Helena.
Indeed, before you start the application process, you need to know what the employer expects from a candidate. If you want to progress beyond the application form stage, ensure you fulfil the mandatory requirements, such as work experience, language proficiency, or technical skills. So, check those boxes off first and start on the path to landing your dream job.
Choosing the design
“It’s totally fine if a candidate doesn’t create any fancy design,” Maria Helena laughs.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry about creating a design yourself. There are many different CV-making platforms where anyone can create a stellar CV. Bolt’s Recruitment team’s top recommendation is Resumake. Still, you can always do your research and pick any other platform that will suit your taste.
If you have more design experience and want to make something more customised and creative, you can use, for example, Figma or other similar tools.
And the third option is to use your LinkedIn profile to apply for a position. You can easily download your well-structured CV by visiting your LinkedIn profile and clicking More -> Save to PDF. But before doing so, ensure you fill all the sections with up-to-date information, relevant skills and keywords.
Keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date has one more benefit — you increase the chance of your profile getting noticed by a recruiter. Many recruiters proactively search for candidates whose experience and skillset match the open vacancies and approach the best-fitting candidates. So you may get a tempting offer without even keeping an eye on job ads.
Whichever tool you choose to create your CV, here are some essential tips:
Don’t use intense colours: they’ll make your CV hard to read and navigate.
Choose an easy-to-read font and be consistent with the font size: this way, your CV will look neat, and it’ll be easy for a recruiter to skim through it.
Use bullet points instead of big chunks of text: the shorter your sentences and points are, the better.
Shorten your CV: the optimal length is two A4 pages. If it’s getting longer, see what you can trim or remove.
“We never decline any CVs based on their design, but it’ll improve the recruiter’s experience if you prefer a clean, simple and easy-to-read format,” Maria Helena says.
What personal information to include
Start your CV by providing your personal information:
Your full name.
Your location: city and country.
Your contact information: phone number and email address.
Ensure you provide accurate information. Otherwise, the hiring team may find it challenging to contact you!
Adding your LinkedIn profile, blog, portfolio, or website is optional. Still, it can give a recruiter a better overview of your previous work.
A CV objective
A CV objective is a brief statement communicating your professional experience, skills and achievements. It explains why they make you a great candidate for a specific position.
“Adding it isn’t obligatory, but if you can make it short and relevant, go for it,” Maria Helena says. “Sometimes candidates add inspirational quotes or list of soft skills and personality traits, but adding tangible information that demonstrates your value to recruiters is more effective.”
Here’s an example of a good objective: 10 years of experience in e-commerce, managing sales and supply chains, and building high-performing teams.
Show your work experience
In this section, you can elaborate on the following:
Where you worked.
How long you’ve been working there.
Your primary areas of focus and responsibilities there.
“It’s great if you can add quantifiable results next to your achievements when possible,” says Maria Helena. For example, if there was a project where you increased sales revenue by 15%, include that number. Quantifying results helps demonstrate the value that you bring to potential employers.
It’s okay to leave out experience that’s not relevant anymore. For example, if you worked as a waiter/waitress in a restaurant and are now applying to a tech company, there’s no need to add this bit to your CV.
If you’re junior and just starting your career, the recruiters understand that you may not have much professional experience: “In this case, list all the studies, and add a few words about what you’re looking for. Also, mention any volunteering work you’ve done. For example, if you’ve been organising any conferences or seminars,” says Maria Helena.
As Maria Helena shared, it’s okay if the person is not 100% there yet — we’re often willing to consider people who are perhaps slightly junior in terms of the profile but have a lot of potential.
“If the person is smart, driven, hardworking and performs well in the interviews, we’re willing to give them a chance even when they haven’t done this job in the past,” says Maria Helena.
“By listing any volunteering or internships, the candidates can show they’re active, motivated and have potential.”
In the case of more senior non-tech roles, education is not the most essential thing for senior-level professionals — experience is what matters the most. However, you can still add these details to your CV.
If you’re more junior, here’s what you can include in the education section:
University, college, or institution.
The period you studied there.
The degree you earned.
You can also consider including any additional certifications relevant to your field here. However, as the Recruitment Manager pointed out, it’s difficult to determine whether someone gained practical knowledge from these courses. Whether candidates applied that knowledge in their past jobs is what matters, so showcase your practical experience alongside your certifications.
What skills do hiring managers look for
The expected skillset will heavily depend on the role you’re applying to. “Search for the keywords in the job description and add them to your CV,” says Maria Helena.
Depending on the position you’re applying for, it can be, for example, data visualisation, lead generation, or content strategy.
But be careful here — if you haven’t developed the needed skills, it’s better not to include them and instead demonstrate your ability to learn.
What to expect after you send your CV
Once you’ve clicked the Submit application button, sit back, relax, and await a response.
The Recruitment team usually gets back within one week. The subsequent steps will depend on the position and can include the following:
Home assignment — to check the candidate’s job-related skills.
An interview with a recruiter — to talk about the company, the role and the candidate’s experience, and the candidate will have a chance to ask their questions.
An interview with a hiring manager — to ask more in-depth questions relating to the position.
If the role is more senior, there might be more interviews to follow.
The Bolt’s Recruitment team does everything possible to speed up the process. Still, it depends on the candidates’ and the manager’s availability.
When you make it to the interview stage
Most interviews still happen online, so before the call with a recruiter, ensure your laptop’s camera and microphone work well and that the environment is appropriate — the room is quiet, and the background is neutral. As for the dress code, Maria Helena suggests smart-casual.
During the interview, be prepared to talk about your motivation to join the company, your most prominent projects, how you’ve handled conflicts or complex workplace situations, and the value you can bring to the company.
Cultural fit is another critical point that our recruiters and hiring managers will evaluate during the interview process. They’ll keep a close eye on such qualities as:
Intelligence: we look for intelligent people who think systematically, can learn and solve complex problems.
Drive: we look for hardworking people motivated to tackle significant challenges with enthusiasm.
Integrity: we look for people who show empathy and are ethical, trustworthy and honest and demonstrate consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.
The interview stage is an excellent opportunity to ask questions about the role you applied for and the company’s culture. However, not all the questions are made equal. “The red flag for me is when a candidate starts asking basic questions — what industry we operate in, what products we have, etc.” shared Maria Helena.
Luckily, there’s a lot of information online, so before coming to an interview, do the research! You don’t have to memorise every tiny detail about the company, but knowing basic information will immediately show the recruiter that you’ve done your homework.
Suppose you have more job-specific questions about the specific daily tasks or your potential teammates. In that case, leaving them until you have an interview with a hiring manager is better, as they can share more detailed information.
Ready to apply?
Bolt is a wonderful place where you can develop professionally at lightning speed and create a real impact on a global scale.
Our mission is to make cities for people, not cars, and if it speaks to you, get your CV ready, head to our careers page, find a role that suits you and apply!
We wish you the best of luck with your next career move! 🤞