CV writing tips

Hello, we’ve written this handy guide to support you in “Preparing a Winning CV”.

When you’re looking for a new job, you’ll inevitably be asked to provide a CV. In today’s tight job market, most companies will “sift” job applications and CVs before inviting candidates for interview. This means that however good you are at your job, you need to be able to demonstrate this in your CV to stand a chance of getting as far as the interview. It’s the most important document you’ll create when looking for work because it’s going to give a potential employer their first impression of you.

Your aim is to get an interview..!

The recruiter will judge you on the appearance of your CV. If it lacks originality and creative thinking, you may not get the interview even when you are the best candidate for the job. Most recruiters have piles of CVs to evaluate and have limited time for the assessment so they normally scan through the CVs and discard anything which at first sight is not interesting enough. The whole process is based on the impact, content, format, lay-out and originality of each CV. It is thus worth the effort to be original. Only the shortlist bunch gets a second look.

The stages of selection can be summarised in the following way:

The first look:

The recruiter will look at the first page of each CV. If it seems worth keeping, the recruiter will also have a quick look at the second page. The CV should be no more that three pages, two is usually ideal. CVs that are too long normally end up in the bin unless a full history of the candidate is required. Similarly, CVs without an introduction or quick summary of the candidate and the skills or relevant qualifications also hit the bin. Long descriptive paragraphs and sentences earmark the CV for the bin. Poor formatting and grammatical mistakes are also frowned upon. Usually only a third of all CVs survive this stage.

The second look:

If your CV has made it to this point, you’ve already got a 30% chance of getting to the interview. The recruiter has another, more detailed second look at each surviving CV to establish whether the applicant’s skills, qualifications, career history and motivation match the job requirements. The recruiter must be able to identify this from the first page of the CV.  More CVs will be discarded at this stage.

The in-depth look:

The recruiter now gives each CV an in-depth look and matches it with all the criteria. The CVs are not thrown out any longer but the best possible candidates are picked.

The final examination:

In this final stage the recruiter examines in more detail the content of the CVs that have made it to the final pile and is looking for those skills, signs of innovative thinking, leadership, trustworthiness, and specific achievements that potentially make the candidate right for the specific job.  You have to ensure that your CV survives the elimination stages and still stands out to get the interview. Your first page is your ticket to the final pile, the rest of the content and lay-out determines whether you get the interview. In this respect, CV templates are useful in determing what the standard is and what you should change.

Please click here to view our useful document on “Preparing a Winning CV”