Published: 25 July 2018
As recruiters it takes us on average about 25 seconds of glancing at a CV to decide whether it’s a yes or a no. Seemingly when it comes to our own CV, we tend to have more difficulty parsing out the bits that make us a stand out candidate to other recruiters. We tend to overthink it until we are cross-eyed. It's a strange paradox that occurs often among recruiters so we've put together a list of 7 question you can ask yourself to keep you on track when evaluating your own CV:
Is It An Easy, Well Thought Out, and Appropriate Format?
Keep it simple! In order to make the most of the 25 seconds (max!) it will take a hiring manager to scan your CV, make it clearly organised with appropriate margins, spacing and alignment. Aligning left is easiest on the eyes and using bolded fonts can draw attention to important details. Use one colour to make it pop and using a colour in line with the brand, can be a nice touch that takes no time at all to modify.
Have I Listed Quantifiable Achievements?
Generic lists of achievements have a way of sounding irrelevant and boring. If you boosted NFI by 35% for the last three years that’s much more attractive to a hiring manager than “achieved top sales company-wide”. Be specific about what you achieved in your past roles. Your CV is not the place for modesty - brag away!
Does A Boring ‘Objective’ Monopolise the Header?
Gone are the days where you must include Career Objective at the top of your CV. As recruiters, can you honestly say that you read them on the CVs that you see daily? And if by accident, you happened to skim it, did it have any bearing over the candidates suitability for the role? It’s usually quite fluffy and inconsequential, don’t let it suck up valuable space on your CV. Instead use this space to create a clean profile by ranking your skills including and soft skills you champion.
Have I Removed Unnecessary Personal Details?
Putting your address on your CV can seem routine but if your potential employer thinks that you could get tired of the journey, it can mean losing out. In addition to this unintentional effect, it can also be unsafe if your CV is floating around the web. Unless you can think of a really excellent reason to include on your CV, take it off. Also take out any ‘fun facts’ about you, your cat, your children or any other nonsense that is intended to be cute.
Did I Put Your Best Stuff Above the Fold?
Above the fold is an old timey newspaper term (you know, those physical stacks of paper we used to get our news from before the internet). It means that the best news remained above the literal fold of the paper so it was seen first. In this case, it means putting the most attractive bits of your experience within the top third of the first page of your CV. This is the most prized space of your CV, use it wisely!
Have I Saved it as a PDF and Previewed?
Always submit your CV in PDF format versus .docx or anything editable. This ensures the formatting will remain as you intended. Since you will not be sure what software will be used to view, try opening the PDF in Google Docs and Word and previewing before sending it off.
Have I Kept It Up To Date?
Ensuring that your CV is up to date is crucial. Both your content and look and feel should reflect the current period. Keeping your CV aligned with the dates on your Linkedin profile is also something you should ensure align, as hiring managers will double check and question if there are differences. Looking over your CV routinely (even when you're not looking to change jobs) means you can modify and include achievements as they happen. Naturally as you go on,what you choose to include will change based on what is most remarkable and it's best to do this while they are fresh in your mind versus trying to recount all the great things you did 6-12 months ago.
All in all these tips should help you view your CV with more objectivity and remind you of the things that matter most to other recruiters and hiring managers. Generally it comes down to keeping things easy and accurately reflecting all the things that make you a great find.