As the Internet has become the chosen medium for job applications there has been a huge surge in the number of applicants going for jobs. It’s not uncommon to see 4 or even 5 hundred people go in for the same job. That’s a lot of CV’s for a hiring manager or a recruitment agency to work through. And, because of that, statistics tell us that the average time a recruiter spends looking at your CV for an application in about 10 seconds. They scan the CV in what’s called an ‘F’ pattern of reading meaning they read maybe the first sentence, somewhere in the middle and then scan down the rest in search of keywords relevant to the role.
This means that if you want your CV to end up in the yes pile there are a few tips and tricks you’ll need to follow.
The long and short of it.
Firstly, keep the length of your CV short. One page at best, two as a maximum and never more. Only include what is relevant, for example, if you want to be a Copywriter you don’t need to include the 3 years you spent working at Subway making sandwiches.
Use your KEY words wisely.
You should always try to tailor your CV to the job role you’re applying for. Have the job description next to you when writing for reference. Try to use the keywords from the descriptions criteria to help your CV stand out. That being said, don’t just bullet point the keywords as that won’t work. I like to use the STAR format for mine. Situation, Task, Action, Result. It allows you to elaborate on your skills and provide evidence of how you put them to use in a working environment.
Some of the best CV’s I have looked at have a captivation opening statement. Something that sums up the applicant and sticks in my head. Something like ‘A hardworking, excellent communicator’ or ‘An organised and efficient Senior Designer’.
Substance over style.
We’ve all seen those fancy CV’s on the Internet, custom fonts and colourful graphics, papyrus paper wrapped in ribbon… They may make for an interesting Instagram post but they probably won’t get you a job. Keep things simple, normal font, black ink printed on paper and you can’t go wrong.
How is it made?
Think of your CV like a sandwich, it has to be made up of certain ingredients if it’s going to taste good. Your CV should always include:
· Name and contact details
· Relevant to job applying for
· Relevant qualifications and training
· Brands and projects you have worked on
· Display interest in the role/organisation
· Names of the companies you have worked for
· Job title and dates
· What you did and how
Education Qualifications and Training
· A Levels
· Training courses
· IT Skills?
· Voluntary work?
Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
Always check for errors. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar aren’t a good look so make sure you’ve proofread your CV before you send it out.
Keep it fresh.
And finally, try to tailor your CV for each application; don’t just send out the same old copy for every job. You’ll be surprised the difference this will make if you make a few changes each time using the job description for the role you’re applying to. There is nearly always one of these provided with the application, and if there is not you should definitely make sure to ask for one.