Does your CV pass the 30 second test?

Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Gary CampbellNo comments

Does your CV pass the 30 second test?

5 expert tips to help you create a CV that convinces recruiters to put you through to the interview stage.

You may believe that to put forward a strong application you need to provide a long and detailed CV. Wrong! Employers decide on whether to read your full CV within the first 30 seconds.

Even more eye watering, professional recruiters make the ‘fit/no fit’ decision in less than 6 seconds. So how do you pass the test?

1. Keep it brief and clear

Don’t try to be clever with wordy content, special fonts, profile pictures or other distractions. A CV should be two pages, a maximum of three.

Make use of bullet points and write in short sharp sentences. Don’t waffle. Focus on job content i.e. what you did. Use facts, examples and clear sharp language.

Make the most of headings and bold fonts to make the key info stand out.

Employers and recruiters focus 80% of their reading time on:

Name
Current title/company
Previous title/company
Current title/company start/end dates
Previous title/company start/end dates

Avoid business lingo and acronyms. What makes sense to you, may not make sense to your reader. Don’t give them the opportunity to furrow their brow for a second.

Ask your CV checking friends to highlight anything that doesn’t make sense to them.

2. First impressions count

Mistakes are a total no-no! Get your CV checked by a second and third pair of eyes. Errors on your CV are unforgivable and may result in an instant ‘NO’ or put you to the bottom of the pile. The jobs market is competitive, don’t get rejected for something so easily avoided.

Get a professional e mail address, idrinkgin@hotmail.com or worksucks@gmail.com won’t get you the job.

Don’t put your social networks on there unless they’re going to promote your experience and ability to do the job. If you’ve got any doubts, suspend personal social accounts and start a professional account when job hunting.

3. Explain gaps and job-hopping

Got gaps on your CV? Explain them now and keep it brief. Jumped around a lot or temped on a regular basis?

Don’t expect your recruiter to guess or wait for that face-to-face explanation. You may not get that opportunity. Use cover letters for clarification and make temp/contract roles clear on the CV.

4. Use facts and examples

Highlight achievements, real skills you’ve acquired and experience.

So you can ‘hit the ground running’? So what? What does that really mean?

Managed people? Reduced expenditure? Perfect!

A ‘real team player’? No. Demonstrate that in your interview or psychometric tests. Your CV is not the place. The reader will think you’re just saying what they want to hear.

5. Tailor it to the role

Take a little time to compare your CV to the job you’re applying for. Tweak it and move relevant points to the top. Downplay irrelevant areas and expand on the bits you know they want to see.

All in all, remember that your CV is just a tool to get you the opportunity to go in and meet your potential new employer.

Include just enough detail to satisfy job specific criteria, show your relevance to the job but ultimately, aim to tantalise the reader and make them want to invite you in to learn more about you.

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