You’ve heard the saying many times “First impressions count”. Well for most of us our CV is our first impression. Our CV has to be the key that unlocks the door to the first interview.
As a previous recruiter many times I would advertise a job and the CV’s would come flooding in. I was always really busy – too busy like so many other recruiters. Wading through a pile of CV’s to be honest was necessary but not something I necessarily enjoyed. Never the less I used to read them- all of them! Some of them looked like they had just been copied out of a guide to CV’s and contained no personality whatsoever and lots of clichés. For me they used to go on to the “probably not pile”. Then there were the CV’s that were lacking in personality but the person seemed to have everything else – these went on the “possibly, maybe pile”. Then there was the occasional flash of brilliance. The personality that shone through and made me sit up and pay attention. These were the people that got an interview – the people with the right skills, the right experience and a well presented,well articulated CV that wasn’t a robotic copy of everything else I had seen.
A CV is your key to selling you and whilst it should follow a structured and well presented layout anything too perfect just sometimes can seem a little bit lacking in something. Here are a few tips in how to create that great first impression.
Professional layout and structure
Whilst you need to inject something into your CV that makes you stand out it’s probably best not to let it be the appearance of your CV. The bold, bright pink borders with heart frames never did get past the first stage of processing, neither did the ones that had obviously been thrown together last minute with no thought or organisation. There are lots of templates online that can help you and a plethora of guidelines for the do’s and don’ts of a CV . We recommend checking out the 10minuteswith.com knowledge bank, it’s full of help aimed specifically at graudates trying to land their first job out of education, good hunting!
Keep it concise
This study found that on average employers can spend as little 8.8 seconds looking at your CV. That’s 8.8 seconds to make an impression! Don’t overload your CV with waffle but ensure that you give enough of the right information. Present the information in bullet point format and use positive action words to describe your skills and experience. Your CV should be no more than 2 pages long and stand out amongst a sea of rival CV’s.
Accuracy is key
Bad grammar, spelling mistakes, poor formatting, long CV’s and use of jargon are among the top reasons that CV’s don’t win the hearts and minds of employers. Check it before you send it, get someone else to check it and then check it again.