Wondering why your CV won’t survive the first round? Here are 5 tips

My personal experience

Let’s start by being honest. I’m writing this article to make my own day more fun.

Here at Board of Innovation, we do the recruiting process ourselves. All consultants in the team are involved, and everyone takes on a small part of the process. At this moment I’m doing the first screening of cv’s. And I’m just plain bored.

When I applied at Board of Innovation 9 months ago, my main worry was: “what if I don’t even get a first-round interview?’. So I built a website (thanks strikingly.com) and made sure the page was visual and had a tone of voice that was personalized and tailored to this company. And it did the job: I got the interview. It was even so well received that I was forwarded to the second round immediately!


As much of a surprise as that was nine months ago, today I understand. All I see are PDFs with 11pt. Calibri fonts in an old fashioned word template with a game of buzzword bingo in the job descriptions.

Want to get hired by a company that puts creativity in the center? Show some creativity!

Next to that, keep in mind that your resume & cover letter only have one job to do: Get you that first interview. So, do me a favor and think about the following 5 tips when trying to get your first foot in the door:

  1. Pop out! Use whatever media you have at your disposal – why not apply using a fun to read website? an engaging video? A witty Instagram Story? Surprise me! 
  2. Show enthusiasm! Nothing gets a recruiter more excited than someone who shows genuine motivation.
  3. Dig in! Do your research on beforehand and show you KNOW the company you’re applying at: use their lingo, refer to their website, refer to other ways you have come in contact with the company.
  4. Tailor your experience to the job description! The best way to show someone you’re fit for the job, is by making sure your resume actually matches the job description! Don’t be afraid to flat out copy words from the description.
  5. Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter! Who would you hire?

If this sounds like a hassle, that’s because it is. And if that isn’t something you want to do to get the job, then maybe you shouldn’t be applying in the first place. Find the position you love and then just go all-in! I did and still feel like it’s the best investment I made all year!

We’re still actively looking to grow the team. So, please come join us! But while you’re at it (and most importantly) show us you care!


I’m Nick Fransen,  Freelance Innovation Consultant & Entrepreneur, Co-founder & Composer @ Project Echo. Spreading innovation culture is in our DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to our mission by sharing this article.

Like it? Share it!

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Join 30K+ innovators and receive our latest posts