A CV is perhaps the most important document of your professional life. It serves as a first impression of your skills and capabilities, and is your foot in the door of the dream job or career. Most people in the job market are familiar with writing a CV by now, but more often than not, the things which stick out in a CV are its weaknesses, unfortunately.
It’s important that your CV stands out in a sea of similar credentials, especially as people with generally equal qualifications apply for the same job. Research shows that recruiters are spending only 8.8 seconds to skim through a CV, which is a very small window to be noticed. Here are 7 simple ways you can lead the pack and grab the attention you need to get your dream job:
• Keep it concise. Your CV should ideally not be any longer than 2 pages. This means as little clutter as possible. Leave out any details which are not absolutely relevant. If it doesn’t add value, take it out. Concise CVs are hard to write, but are worth it, as they are concentrated and high-impact. Longer CVs make it more difficult for the reader to digest the more important points.
• Add a solid personal profile. A succinct, to the point statement of your key attributes, career aims and relevant skills should be strategically placed at the top of your CV. This profile should be specific to your sector, and not a vague generalization. It should ideally be about 150-200 words.
• Check your grammar again and again. Studies show that up to 76% of recruiters reject CVs with grammatical errors. Action words give your achievements that extra push. For example, phrases like “created new avenues” and “slashed operational costs” demonstrate a dynamic professional attitude.
• Presentation is vital. Your layout is pivotal to grabbing the attention you want. At first glance, your CV should have enough white space to be easy on the eyes. Be sure to use proper formatting so your CV doesn’t appear disorganized. The most important information should go on the first page, and your most impressive skills should be strategically placed for maximum notice. Use a lucid font for easier reading, and bullet points for more easily digestible information. Also, use bold titles to properly separate segments like job titles and names of institutions attended. Below is an example :
• Work experience is crucial. As a graduate, employers expect that you have some prior professional experience. Internships and consultancies are a good way to get this experience. On the other hand, it is very imperative that you not lie on your CV, as that could reflect very badly on you when you get an interview.
• Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. Focus on the skills useful to that post when listing your skill-set. Also employ the keywords of that sector in your CV when describing your aims and skills, but don’t overdo it. Do your research of the company and the post before you apply, so as to craft your CV to answer their specific need.
• Use a cover letter. It is an excellent support for your CV, and is more in-depth. Employers are more likely to read a CV supported with a cover letter, unless they explicitly state otherwise.
Remember that recruiters read hundreds of CVs daily. Make your CV memorable for the right reasons. The right CV should represent your best self, boost your confidence and land you that interview you want.