How to make your work application stand out: tips for CV and cover letter

30 March 2021
By Helena Ojala, Talent Acquisition Manager
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Helena Ojala

In larger companies like Playtech a candidate’s CV lands on the recruiter's desk first – and it is up to them to decide if they see enough potential to forward it to the manager who's looking for a new hire for their team or they put the candidate in the "reject" box.

The recruiter's expertise is to notice and read the CVs and capture the needed information, skills, and proficiencies for a specific job position. However, it bears keeping in mind that there are in some cases hundreds of CVs on the recruiters' desk. Certainly, recruiters will not be able to read all the CVs line by line. And if the resume does not catch the eye right away – then in most cases, it will not pass.

Here are some tips on upgrading your resume to not get into the "reject" drawer due to some formatting errors that could be prevented.

1. Besides your work titles, always add the description of your work and accomplishments to your CV

Companies use the same job titles for different work positions. In some organizations, the Project Manager is the one who takes care of organizing small events. In the other companies, project managers open a new market or develop a new product. It is crucial to mark down which areas you were responsible for, what you mainly did, what technologies you used, and most importantly, what value you created.

Example: As a project manager my task was to lead a team of 3 members (designer, developer, and tester) and update product functionality and design. As a result, a specific product's turnover increased by 30% in a year and gained 5,000 new users.

2. Cover letter - focus on your future goals.

A CV shows your experience, but a motivation letter should demonstrate your ambitions.

In the case of cover letters, we see two main mistakes. They are either kept very formal, using some of the template versions available on the Internet, or candidates send us essays that are too long.

The formal motivational letter does not provide any vital information about a person. It is therefore simply empty and confusing "noise".

It may happen that on a busy day a recruiter who does not immediately notice important information will not be able to read the letter thoroughly, especially if the motivational letter is very long.

Even if the job listing does not specify the cover letter's format, it is a good idea to add a short motivational letter that describes your ambitions and plans for the near future. Keep the text brief but relevant.

Example: I see myself offering value in a larger company as a team and process manager. I already have five years of experience in leading a small team in a mid-size company. I would be motivated by a similar position in a larger company, where product volumes are more extensive, there are more customers, and the processes are more complex.

3. Keep your CV focused and customized for the job position

We all have had many different experiences in our lives. During high school, we worked in a coffee shop or earned extra money by doing shifts in some warehouses. Maybe you are the type of person who has experimented with different areas while searching for your favorite field and career path. It is all excellent – and it tells us that you dare to jump into life and take new experiences - but if we do not understand what your career today is focusing on we can't fit you in, and you get rejected.

Do you prefer Java, PHP, or full-stack? Do you see yourself working as a DevOps, sysadmin, or security specialist instead? Do you want to lead projects or stay a highly skilled specialist?

On your CV emphasize the experiences and skills that will be useful for the career direction you are taking today, instead of bringing out absolutely everything you have done in your life.

5. Keep the CV format clear and structured. Use your LinkedIn profile to apply.

Customized CVs stand out from the crowd, but unique design can also backfire on you. The recruiter is used to grabbing information within a minute, and if they cannot find it inside the design structure, they can give up. Standard format CVs are no worse than a nicely designed "One-Pager" as long as the information is well-presented and correct.

The most bulletproof option is to keep your LinkedIn profile comprehensive and up to date. LinkedIn can be used in most companies for applying using only one "click" or the profile can be forwarded as a PDF. In that case, a separate CV is no longer needed.

Besides, if your LinkedIn profile is updated, it allows recruiters to find you on LinkedIn via search - and they actively do so.

 6. Add samples of your work to your application.

A CV can only provide limited information about you. In most positions, sooner or later, we also want to know how you do your job. In this case the rule is that the sooner, the better. Those who send samples of their work style with the application will have an advantage in the competition.

Github, Links, and references to projects, videos, publications, portfolios – even if the work itself is relatively abstract, it is almost always possible to provide something that shows your work style and results.

So – now that you know how to make your application stand out, we encourage you to give it a try and land your dream job! We are hiring constantly, be sure to check out our open positions and send us your application!  https://playtech.ee/careers

"On your CV - emphasize the experiences and skills that will be useful in today's career direction - instead of bringing out absolutely everything you have done in your life."