Despite what some people might think, having a lengthy CV will not improve your chances of getting an interview.
Whether you are looking for your very first job or for a new opportunity following a ten year career, there is a high probability that your CV needs some changes.
As recruiters, we receive many CV’s in response to job adverts, and the ones that stand out the most generally tend to be the shorter and simple ones that demonstrate the value of the candidate immediately.
We have put together 5 simple tips that will allow you to have a short, captivating and successful CV that will increase your chances of getting that first interview!
1. Focus on content.
Many employers use search informatics systems during the first stage of the screening process. These programs do not highlight creative and attractive CV designs, but sort only by key words.
This is why focussing on the content used in your CV is extremely important and increases the chances of your CV getting picked up by an automatic system or HR administrator, ultimately grasping the attention of the recruiter.
2. Use keywords
It is vital that your CV is well presented and clearly structured. Using topics with objective information is the best way to show your competences and your professional experience, keeping sentences short, factual and to the point.
In the first page of your CV include a few key words that highlight your main skills and values that you can bring to the company.
3. Optimise as much as you can.
Now that your key words and structure are well in place, optimize your CV! Does it read easily?
Employers do not look for extensive sentences with descriptions of your past experiences and career goals. Write, read, and write again until your skills and characteristics are highlighted and spotted easily.
Try doing several drafts, each time checking that every phrase earns its place and deleting as many words as possible whilst keeping the overall meaning of the sentence.
4. Organise your CV.
Carefully evaluate the structure of your CV, with the most relevant information on the first page. Question if your previous experience is relevant to the position you are applying. If it’s not relevant don’t include it.
Present your professional experience using topics, with the job/role per line, the same is applied to description of that role. All the information that is not relevant to that position is unnecessary to include. If you have a bunch of irrelevant part time jobs perhaps after university or during a long break, group them together. Old jobs can be kept short and sweet, sectioned into groups, whilst highlighting the most recent and relevant jobs at the top.
Put your self in the recruiter shoes and concentrate in what is essential to get the job you have applied for. Check the job specification of that job and ensure that you match each point with your CV.
5. Don’t leave any gaps.
If there is a gap on your CV tell your recruiter why! Whether it was a career break, study, travel or gap year it is important to highlight what you were doing throughout that period.
Many people worry that taking some time away from their work industry or employment will make them appear unemployable. This is not the case, as long as you explain what you were doing during that period.
In some cases, a constructive gap year, study period or voluntary work may allow you to develop skills, knowledge and experience that makes you a strong candidate, however leaving a blank gap on your CV would certainly be viewed poorly by employers.