CVs are designed to achieve one basic thing – to land you an interview. On average a CV has just 15 seconds in front of the eyes of an employer or recruiter. In this fifteen seconds, a mere quarter of a minute, yours must stand out from the dozens or even hundreds of other CVs submitted.
When an experienced recruiter is weighing up your chances in such a short period you need to make sure your CV is easy to scan read.
Follow our simple guide to ensuring the most important information on your CV gets read:
* Highlight the key
details by using bullet points and using bold headings. Eyes glaze over at the sight of blocks of text / too many paragraphs, but a bulleted format can be read much faster and more easily.
* Don’t use too small a font size (10 is the minimum). Don’t be afraid of white space. Use larger fonts for the more important lines on your CV (name, job title, categories).
* Most importantly, stress your competitive advantage and differentiate yourself from the competition with a short list of relevant skills, or two or three achievement highlight bullets.
* Good formatting is vital. A clean and tidy CV suggests that you too have a clear and well-organised approach to work with an eye for detail. Use tabs so that important elements are lined up throughout the CV.
* Be consistent. There is no particular right way to lay out your information, but once you have a format you must stick with it throughout. If you use a particular format for one job with a sub heading, job title, company name and dates, make sure you repeat the format exactly with all other jobs.
* Your CV needs to be concise, two pages is ideal (rarely should it be longer than three). The information on your CV should be relevant and should support your job or career objective directly and your character in general. Factual and positive listings of your education (when needed), employment history and accomplishments are also necessary.
Finally, the most important thing to do before submitting any CV for any job is to proofread, proofread, proofread! Have a trusted friend (or several) read your document and give you honest feedback to make sure it sounds great. Then find someone you know who has exceptional spelling and punctuation and ask them to check it for mistakes. Never ever submit a CV with spelling errors.
Oh, and if your CV does survive for more than 15 seconds and the recruiter decides they’d like to offer you an interview make sure you’ve put the right phone number on your CV!