Recruiters will receive hundreds of CVs per advertised role… so how can you stand out in the crowd?
How on earth can you hope to be one of the 3 or 4 successful candidates that hiring managers decide to interview?
Isn’t it just down to luck?
As recruiters, we read thousands and thousands of CVs every year and there are definitely certain things that impress us (and some things that put us off too!)
CV Writing Tips – Part 1
You have roughly 30 seconds to impress the recruiter.
Don’t ruin it by making a simple, avoidable mistake.
First things first, let’s go through some of the more general rules.
1. General hints
We always advise our job candidates to think of their CV like a brochure, filled with only the most relevant content and appealing skills.
- Keep it clear, concise and relevant.
- Cut out the waffle
- You must include relevant experience, technical skills and abilities on the first page.
- What’s makes you different?
This really is your chance to sell yourself, so stop worrying about being ‘cocky.’
If you’d like some more hints and tips on how to develop a USP that’s guaranteed to impress, click here.
2. Tailor your CV
Look, I know you’ve heard it all before, but it really (REALLY) is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you.
There is nothing more obvious and unimpressive than a generic CV that’s clearly been blasted over for hundreds of different job applications.
Yes, it takes time, but a little bit of extra effort here will find you a great job quicker and save you time in the long run.
3. Include a cover letter
Why on earth would you not include a cover letter which is guaranteed to add a little more value, trust and impressiveness to your application?
A recruiter has 2 CVs of equal quality in front of them… one has a cover letter, the other doesn’t.
The person who wrote the cover letter has just made that person’s decision that little bit easier.
CV Writing Tips – Part 2
There are, of course, certain things that inherently put recruiters off a candidate.
At the end of the day, it’s down to personal preference, but you should always bear in mind whether adding or leaving something out is worth the risk?
4. Don’t include a picture
This is a prime example…
Including a profile picture may not bother a recruiter – but it really could.
Does the likelihood that they’ll love the picture and want to hire you outweigh the chance that they’ll hate it and be completely turned off by your whole application?
5. NEVER talk in the third person.
This is a strange one and so many candidates do it.
I’ve never really understood the habit – it just makes a CV sound a bit odd.
6. Keep the length short
Remember, recruiters have to sift through hundreds of CVs for each job vacancy…
Do you really want to make it harder for them by writing an entire long-winded essay?
Recruiter Pro Tip.
Some recruiters love personal profiles, some (like us) just aren’t really bothered to be honest.
So to err on the side of caution if you are going to include one, we recommend keeping it short, punchy and relevant.
If it’s long-winded and boring, you’re not going to win anyone over.
7. Keep the layout
Layout should really be based on putting your most appealing experiences and skills first.
If you’re not 100% sure, try this layout:
- Personal details (make sure you include your telephone number!)
- Personal profile (if you really must).
- Job History (with your current job first).
- Hobbies and interests.
Of course, you may also like to include a “Key Skills” section if your experience is sparse.
8. Think aesthetically
Do try and make your CV look good…
Make sure it’s well spaced and easy to digest.
Use bullet points, to break up long, boring paragraphs.
Use bold to highlight your key points and titles.
Recruiter Pro Tip.
If you’re not good at this type of thing, do a quick search on the internet and you’ll find loads of different CV templates that you can pinch.
(Just make sure they’re not too jazzy).
Check out this Guardian article, to get your hands on some trusty templates.
Use your template, along with our CV checklist, to ensure you’ve got everything you need to WOW potential employers.
9. Keep the content relevant
Content-wise, we’ve already mentioned that you MUST only include relevant and impressive information.
But it’s vitally important that you back that information up with stats and figures, like for example, KPIs you’ve met (and exceeded).
Remember to keep everything succinct and interesting!
10. Check your social media profiles
Try not to fall at the last hurdle!
93% of recruiters will screen social media profiles before sending a CV to client for assessment.
If you’d like to some advice on what NOT to do with your LinkedIn profile, click here.
11. Proofread your work
Last, but certainly not least, you should get someone to read through your CV!
We’ve come across some pretty horrific typos and spelling mistakes in our time and they’re simply unnecessary!
Check out the 99 funniest ones here.
Ready to Write Your CV?
Hopefully our videos have given you some real help writing an impressive CV that’ll soon get the interviews pouring in.
There are of course plenty of mistakes you could be making… 22 to be exact.
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Good luck.- James Ball