The importance of your CV can’t be underestimated. Every day, employers and recruiters scan through stacks of them, making snap decisions about people purely based on that single document. If you want to ensure yours isn’t dismissed, it has to grab their attention, and quickly.
But how? Follow our tips, and you’ll create a CV that ensures you don’t fall at the first recruitment hurdle.
If recruiters and HR staff are scanning CVs rather, it’s your job to make your CV easy to scan. Writing in a way that’s ‘scannable’ is simple enough, and just requires a few considerations:
Try to imagine that someone is reading your CV on a screen, rather than printed out. On a screen, we all read differently. We have multiple tabs open, and our attention is fickle.
So, make your key information as visible as possible.
Your personal statement should be right at the top of your CV, and it’s probably the most important section. It needs to be short – perhaps no more than 100 words at the most. But it also has to be punchy – you need to make whoever reads this want to read on.
Think of your biggest skills and achievements, and try to boil them down to whatever will make the biggest impact. Use positive language, show how ambitious you are, and above all, make sure it’s grammatically perfect.
A personal statement with a spelling mistake is the easiest way to get rejected.
All too often, the work experience section of a CV is a dull and repetitive list that loses the reader’s focus. You can combat this by drawing out specific achievements and skills you developed. And specificity is the key.
If you are a high-flying salesperson, don’t just say it – prove it. Refer to an award or some sales figures that put your achievements into a context that’s meaningful.
For all kinds of reasons tailoring your CV for every job you apply for makes a big difference. Firstly, recruiters and HR employees will recognise when you’ve customised your CV, and they’ll appreciate it. It shows a level of effort and commitment that goes a long way.
Secondly, it gives you an opportunity to promote the skills and experience you have that are relevant to the job. You re-jig it all accordingly, and make sure they don’t miss the stuff that makes you perfect for the job.
And finally, it allows you to remove anything that you think might detract from your employability for this role. This is your advert – and you get to choose how best to showcase yourself.
Candidates often fall into the trap of trying to use flamboyant and complex language, thinking it might impress their prospective employer. But it rarely works.
Instead, try to:
CVs have to appear current and up-to-date – it’s a minimum requirement. Check through carefully for new experience, or anything that is starting to feel too old and irrelevant. As well as adding new content, don’t be afraid to remove anything old.
Then check, and re-check, for accuracy. Spelling, grammar, dates, formatting – you can’t miss a thing. If the role you’re applying for is competitive, the margin for error will be small.
The digital age has transformed the hiring process – and the way you craft your CV is no exception.
So, when you’re writing or editing your CV, always remember to: