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CVs, social media profiles and cover letters: the key elements to showcase and what recruiters actually look at

Cover letters or emails sent with your CV:


For your cover letter or email to be efficient, it must be personalised. For example, by specifying precisely the industry your targeted company works in, the activities which interest you or by justifying why you are contacting them specifically, as well as the main tasks you would like to carry out in this role.

Also remember to add information that recruiters will be looking for, such as a date of availability, geographic mobility, key strengths, roles which most interest you…

Recruiters are looking for concrete and objective elements.


Emails accompanying your CV or cover letter also enable recruiters to check your writing and spelling abilities. Pay particular attention to these when drafting them.


Your CV:


What type of CV are you wanting to write?

Before drafting your CV, ask yourself what type of role or project you would like to apply to with it.

Depending on your objectives, the information and projects that figure will be different.

If you are currently a web project manager but you would like a role as a technical expert, a position you occupied previously, you will reduce the amount of space dedicated to your last experience in favour of the previous one(s) as a technical expert.


Take all the space you need:

Far too often, people give recruiters minimalistic CVs written in a small font size and very compact, all so that it is only one page long.

Don’t worry, if you have had a substantial career, two pages (or even three for very experienced people) is very much accepted. Just make sure you present the most important elements on the first page.


Rank your information:

On the first page, make sure you highlight the information most likely to help you land the role of your dreams. You may also use titles or bold characters to highlight key elements or projects that you would like to showcase.


Be specific and practical:

Be as concise and precise as possible, presenting everything objectively, whether it be your main tasks, the way you carried them out, or the achieved outcomes.

For example, you could mention the number of people on your team, the number of projects you worked on, how many projects you were working on simultaneously, the achieved results, the clients (or type of clients) you worked for, the impact of your actions on sales revenue, etc.


The overall design is important:

The layout you choose for your CV must reflect your personality whilst also complying to your given industry’s « rules ». A web designer can be far more creative with their layout than a project manager in the banking industry.

Current CV layouts use a number of images, charts and diagrams enabling recruiters to evaluate at a glance your key skills and strengths.

Make sure, however, that you do not over-design your CV. Keep in mind a layout’s primary role is to make the CV as easy to read as possible.


If you are applying to a specific job ad, yes, it may help to include key words in your CV (do not simply change your CV’s title to make it correspond to the one on the job ad). You could use these key words in describing your previous positions, so that recruiters can see in which companies and when you used these skills.


Your social media profiles


The rules for writing your profile on social media are more or less the same as for your CV. Even if you have less freedom in terms of layout, it is still possible to organise the information depending on what you are searching for.


On social media, another way of showcasing your expertise is to join and participate in discussion groups, to publish articles showcasing your expertise, to publish humorous articles related to current events in your industry… anything showing your involvement and putting you forward as an expert will help.

Be careful, however, to remain professional and to use professional social media networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter in a different manner from more personal social media such as Facebook.