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Making Your CV Work For You

CV WritingYou may have seen our articles recently about some of the skills needed in the workplace. But, in order to utilise our ‘top tips’, you need to have landed the job in the first place. Here at ROD we pride ourselves on diligently reading every CV submitted to us, and frequently offer up advice to candidates on a one-to-one basis. This month we wanted to share some of our insights, so that you can all benefit and make your CV work that little bit harder for you.

Facts about your CV:

  • You may not realise it, but large enterprises often use applicant tracking systems to parse details from your CV, meaning that nearly three quarters of CVs received are unread by humans.
  • Based on the information you provide in a CV, the system will automatically assign you a score or ranking so that employers only need to select those for interview, who have the highest score.
  • Employers often spend no more than 5 to 7 seconds reading your CV.
  • Nearly half of employers reading your CV, will consider buzzwords like ‘team-player’ or ‘passionate’ a big turn-off. After all, they are employing you, not your team.

Armed with these facts above, is it any wonder that you might be overlooked for interview. So how can we overcome these obstacles and get our CVs really talking.

1. Keep It Simple

Forget images, graphs, tables, special characters; fancy fonts, bullet points and layouts, which can often be seen as a way of making up for lack of skills or experience. And let’s not forget the dreaded applicant tracking systems, which are not too bright when it comes to images or graphs. Any information presented in them, will often be lost. Instead, stick to simple fonts like Arial, and make sure your text is presented in block paragraphs, with each paragraph representing a new topic and only using standard bullet points where needed.

2. Identify Yourself

Ensure all of your current and correct contact details are at the top of the CV; this includes your full name, as it would appear on your passport or other ID documentation; contact numbers and emails that are monitored and currently working. There is no point providing an email address to an account that you no-longer use.

3. Create A Brand

A professional profile summary can work wonders in gaining valuable attention from the reader, so it is absolutely important that you spend time perfecting it. Think of it a bit like creating a personal brand of ‘You’. Again you might want to tailor it to be role specific, using language suited to someone in your industry, profession and role. And remember, brief enough that you don’t bore the reader, but not too brief that you don’t sell yourself!

3. Stick To Facts

Take out irrelevant information, as this will only serve to distract the reader from the information you really need them to see. By removing irrelevant jobs or skills from your CV, it frees up essential space so you can elaborate more on those that are relevant. Besides if the interviewer is only going to spend 5 seconds reading your CV, then make sure what they do read is going to appeal to them.

4. The Right Language

The right language within your CV is absolutely necessary. Particularly, if the company is using a tracking system; as the system will be matching keywords within your CV to keywords in the job spec. Therefore adapting each CV according to the role you are applying for is essential in gaining a valuable advantage. In the event you are not going through a tracking system or you are working with an agency, then your recruiter should be able to offer advice on what you should be including within your CV.

5. Shout About Skills

Applicant tracking systems are usually set to pick up specialised or technical skills, so make sure you using them within your CV. In addition, ensure you are also using the correct spelling for technologies and include industry specific abbreviations or acronyms. You’d be amazed how many different ways ‘salesforce.com’ has been spelled within just one CV. One pitfall to avoid is throwing keywords in, in the hope that you outsmart the system. Interviewers and recruiters will quickly see through it, which won’t do much for your reputation.

6. Quality Control

Time and time again, we are presented with CVs that include very poor spelling and bad grammar. Often the culprit is relying just on spellchecker, which does not take into account different spellings, or correctly spelled words that are just misplaced. Always proofread yourself, before asking a good friend or colleague to proofread it again. And don’t forget to ask for their opinion on how well you present yourself within the CV.

Happy CV writing and good luck!!