It’s said that an employer spends an average of 8.8 seconds looking over your CV. With employers often receiving hundreds of applicants for the same job, this isn’t so hard to believe. So what do you do to make sure that your CV stands out in such a short time frame? It’s all about identifying what they notice first.
Your personal profile:
Your personal profile is at the top of your CV, so it makes sense that the employer will see this first. Whilst they may not read it thoroughly (especially if it’s too long) they will scan over it and look for key words. You want active describing words and skills mentioned in here that are relevant to the role and so will stand out to the employer. Cut out the ‘honest’ and the ‘polite’, and instead focus on qualities and traits that set you apart from the rest.
Your key skills:
By formatting these in simple bullet points, an employer can easily understand your skills and specialities at a glance. Don’t make them too simple though – one word bullet points can make them look significantly less impressive. Instead, write less than a line for each one showing what your skill is, and allowing you to expand on it at interview.
Your most recent job:
Employers are always very interested to know what job you last did, or are currently doing – it gives them a good idea of what you are like in the present. Make sure to always structure your ‘Career Summary’ section with your most recent job title first, and focus purely on your duties – your skills are already covered in your ‘Key Skills’ section.
Your most recent qualifications:
As with your current job, employers also want to see your most recent qualifications to determine how qualified you are. Generally, when you’ve got higher level qualifications, the lower level ones become less important, and so you should always make sure that your highest, most relevant qualifications are easily accessible at the top of your ‘Education, Qualifications and Training’ section. Write your qualifications out in full and include both the level obtained and the learning provider, but don’t worry about describing each course in words – it just makes it too lengthy.
These are the most noticeable thing in a CV, and they’re also something you really don’t want! Avoid errors by making sure both you and someone else thoroughly proofread your CV before you send it out. It may sound obvious, but also make sure that the proofreaders have a good understanding of spelling and grammar.