Singapore’s leadership position in key knowledge-intensive industries made possible by an already highly educated, skilled, creative, motivated and knowledgeable labour force has laid a solid foundation to attract even more collaborations and investments from global firms in the knowledge industries seeking a foothold in Asia. This will create a protracted demand for knowledge industry’s talents, which companies may need to source locally and/or internationally.
So how can one participate in this exciting and economic phenomenon which is poised to grow well into the future? How can one get a foothold into a world class organization knowing that one has what it takes to excel in those challenging environments and make important contributions? Many talents are discovered and groomed but mobility opportunities are abundant for them. These individuals need to keep their CVs / resumes relevant at all times and make sure those CVs / resumes are always ready and effective in conveying their professional worth as they advance through their careers.
What is a powerful CV for the knowledge industry?
In my opinion, an impactful CV for this industry is one that displays complete relevancy to the job, matches or exceeds the job’s and recruiter’s requirements, showcases the candidate’s proven ability to create value for every organization he/she has served before, displays an impressive breadth and depth of skills and the candidate’s ability to adapt.
The ideal candidate has to demonstrate integrity, ambition and drive, and a passion for lifelong learning – as the hallmark of a knowledge industry is one of change and innovation! As for soft skills, the ability to communicate fluently in multiple languages, possessing exposure to a global work environment and having exceptional EQ are valuable assets to have.
Steps to developing a powerful CV
Preparation (ongoing) – Research (job related) – Methodology (developing strategies)
- CV Journaling: This activity serves to record significant work related matters over time, the important essentials that will go into making a CV of substance. Otherwise subtle details may be overlooked or faded out of memory over the years.
- Professional Development: Stay relevant with a commitment to perpetual lifelong learning. Get certified in areas that attest to your proficiency. And put that down in your CV.
- Aim for excellence: Employees should possess an ownership mindset and contribute exceedingly in their areas of work, thus adding value to the company and in turn earning achievements worth mentioning in the CV. While job descriptions may be common for similar positions, accomplishments demonstrate proven abilities and differentiate the stronger candidates from the mediocre.
- Cultivate social capital: Value, build and upkeep network connections with co-workers, clients, vendors, employers and former colleagues. Maintain good relationship and trust always; treat others kindly, so that cooperative actions and goodwill are possible – enhancing productivity. A positive network may point one in the direction of career / business opportunities and referrals.
- Knowledge of the company: Candidates must conduct a research on the company before applying for a post there. Visit the organization’s website, try to have a feel of the culture, the environment and the job requirements as that will affect how you fit in. Most importantly, understand what pulls you there. Being on top of the company information will position you favorably during interviews, if your CV ranks high during the selection phase. “Know” the people.
- Understand the job requirements: Make sure you study the job requirements thoroughly and know what is required. Also make comparative studies for similar jobs elsewhere so that you are aware of trends and factors such as salaries and level of commitment expected. Check to see if you have competencies that meet or exceed the requirements of the job applied for. In order to thrive well in a knowledge based industry, you must possess high level (applied) skills rather than just foundational ones.
- Personal Branding: Research yourself on the Internet – how is your social reputation like? Ideally, you better come across as intelligent, diligent and trustworthy. As replacement costs for talents are very high, employers very much prefer individuals who can be trusted, committed, mature and be of exemplary character.
- Manage the perception strategy: It may be a promotion, a totally new career direction or a switch in job industry. But after understanding the requirements of the job, you need to identify those transferable competencies you have – select all the appropriate elements from your CV journal and include them in your new CV. If you have a clear idea of how you would like to be perceived, you will know what to highlight in your CV to bring out that image. You want to be seen as the most suitable individual with the qualifications for the position. Remember the important qualities of a knowledge industry professional!
- Market yourself strategy: Promote your value and communicate your worth by carefully choosing words to use in the CV. Do not simply state the facts but rather include results and detail how you have created value for the people and organizations you have worked for. Highlight your achievements whenever they are relevant. Of course you need to have a clear idea of the organization’s /industry’s needs before you can market with confidence. As you will be up against many able talents seeking the same job, how well you can market yourself may greatly influence your chance.
- Implement keywords strategy: Many firms use applicant tracking system (ATS) to process the initial recruitment, streamlining the task. ATS filters candidates by matching the data input to job requirements and ranking the candidates. That is why it is important to study the job requirements thoroughly so that one can contextually implement the keywords in the CV.
- CV Design strategy: Ultimately, if a CV passes the ATS system and ranks well, someone will have to visually scan the document and perhaps get in touch with those suitable candidates. From that stage on each CV must vividly communicate the candidate’s qualification, professional experience, competencies and achievements in a most concise, clear, and confident manner. A well-designed CV is effective and reflects subtle characteristics of the writer; such as language skills, analytical abilities, creativity, presentation skills, and thoroughness.
There is no right or wrong way to present a CV but for the document to be truly effective, the person coming into the knowledge industry must have a good grasp of the different components that goes into making an effective CV, a good understanding of the industry, a firm understanding of self, and how to pitch the content appropriately.
Lynda Tan-Shen | Owner, The CV Workshop (Hong Kong)
With a keen eye for details, a passion for writing, plus a knack in representing the essence within a person’s professional background and encapsulating it on paper, Lynda’s expertise as career coach has been in demand since 2007 with clients ranging from undergraduates to C-Level executives. She is a member of the National Resume Writer’s Association, probably the only one in South East Asia as of current. She believes in Lifelong Learning, has a Marketing degree and two decades of overseas experience.