You may believe that to put forward a strong application you need to provide a long and detailed CV. Wrong! Employers decide on whether to read your full CV within the first 30 seconds.
Even more eye-watering, professional recruiters make the ‘fit/no fit decision in less than 6 seconds. So how do you pass the test?
Is it tailored to the job role?
Take a little time to compare your CV to the job you’re applying for. Tweak it and move relevant points to the top. Downplay irrelevant areas and expand on the bits you know they want to see.
All in all, remember that your CV is just a tool to get you the opportunity to go in and meet your potential new employer.
Include just enough detail to satisfy job-specific criteria, show your relevance to the job but ultimately, aim to tantalise the reader and make them want to invite you in to learn more about you.
Is it brief and clear?
Don’t try to be clever with wordy content, special fonts, profile pictures or other distractions. A CV should be two pages, a maximum of three.
Make use of bullet points and write in short sharp sentences. Don’t waffle. Focus on job content i.e. what you did. Use facts, examples and clear sharp language.
Make the most of headings and bold fonts to make the key info stand out.
Employers and recruiters focus 80% of their reading time on:
Current title/company start/end dates
Previous title/company start/end dates
Avoid business lingo and acronyms. What makes sense to you, may not make sense to your reader. Don’t give them the opportunity to furrow their brow for a second.
Ask your CV checking friends to highlight anything that doesn’t make sense to them.
Is it free of common CV mistakes?
See the CV mistakes to avoid guide.
Mistakes are a total no-no! Get your CV checked by a second and third pair of eyes. Errors on your CV are unforgivable and may result in an instant ‘NO’ or put you to the bottom of the pile. The job market is competitive, don’t get rejected for something so easily avoided.
Don’t put your social networks on there unless they’re going to promote your experience and ability to do the job. If you’ve got any doubts, suspend personal social accounts and start a professional account when job hunting.
Are work history gaps and/or job-hopping explained?
Got gaps on your CV? Explain them now and keep it brief. Jumped around a lot or temped on a regular basis?
Don’t expect your recruiter to guess or wait for that face-to-face explanation. You may not get that opportunity. Use cover letters for clarification and make temp/contract roles clear on the CV.
Have numbers and examples been used to illustrate your skills and competencies?
You may do a great job of listing your relevant skills and experience, but without showing the impact your actions made on previous employers, you will not clearly demonstrate your value.
Rather than simply detailing your input into a role, you should endeavour to explain how your work impacts your employers or customers. Maybe you help to cut company spending, or perhaps you help to reduce customer waiting times. Whatever impact you make, ensure that it is clearly visible in your CV.
You can score your CV on our portal at Hrheadhunting