6 seconds—according to research, that is the average time spent reviewing a single CV, so you need to make them count!
Building your CV can be a complicated task. It is challenging to represent all the information you’d like to include in a single concise document and present it well. If you've been around the block a few times, then you know that it is almost impossible and sometimes even painful to squeeze your experience into a one-pager. On the other hand, if you’ve just started your career, or perhaps just onto your second role, you may find it challenging to populate your CV with meaningful experiences.
Picture this, you're a hiring manager looking at yet another 4-page CV, in a format you've seen hundreds of times - how likely are you to remember that individual? So, as a candidate, what should you look out for when updating your CV? Let’s find out.
Beyond simply showcasing your experience, an essential function of your CV is to help you stand out. Recruiters sift through dozens of resumes a day. Even if your skills make you top talent, if you fail to present your knowledge well, you risk fading into the background.
“Make sure that your CV demonstrates your unique blend of skills and experience and, in some cases, familiarity with any software that may apply for the job. Also, include examples of commercial success (achievements) and problem-solving,” says David, who is a recruiter specialising in IT & iGaming.
Keep A Uniform Format
Whether you use an off-the-shelf template or decide to create your own—make sure you are consistent throughout your CV. Uniformity is key when it comes to structure and format. Bearing in mind that the recipient probably reviews daily a good number of CVs, you need to make sure that yours is straight to the point and quick to understand, making it an easy read.
“Use one type of font on a simple layout, which is not too crowded. Keep a consistent design for content, use one colour and simple text alignment” says Adriana whose main area of specialisation is General Recruitment, specifically within the Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical industries, with a total of 4 years of experience.
Take your time to develop your CV so that it truly reflects who you are. Unless the job advert tells you to use the Europass CV template, Konnekt recruiters suggest moving away from it. Not only has this format become quite outdated, but it makes every candidate look the same, therefore making it more difficult for your target audience to identify candidates that actually stand out.
“Keep it simple. Your choice of font and layout are key to making sure a potential employer carries on reading your CV. Simple formats work best,” says David.
Focus On The Essentials
It is imperative to keep the most recent work experience atop of your CV, with the rest following in chronological order. Ideally, you should separate your work experience and education details with subheadings. “Focus on the essentials. If you have a degree, don’t list all your O’levels,” says Kim, who manages the Talent Acquisition team.
Include only the meaningful details that are either necessary for the recipient to get in touch with you or essential to outline your skills, experience and achievements. With this said, you do not need to add extra information such as your height, age or marital status, number of children or lack thereof (unless these details are specific for the role as stipulated by law).
Always make sure to keep your CV short and simple; it should not be longer than one or two pages. Maria highlights how important it is to “not beat around the bush. Mention achievements such as process improvements, targets reached and cost/time efficiencies.” Maria has three years of experience, and her main focus is General Recruitment, with particular expertise in the fields of Retail, Manufacturing & FMCG.
Error Free Zone
Yes, we all make mistakes. Granted, you sometimes see typos in newspapers too. However, when it comes to your CV, this is simply not acceptable. Make sure that you review the document for typos, grammatical errors and any spacing or alignment issues. What will your future employer think if your CV looks sloppy? Consider a mistake a missed opportunity to impress a potential employer. So you might want to ask a friend or a family member to proofread it too. “Avoid errors at all costs,” says Luke, who has been working within the recruitment industry with a specialisation in Finance for roughly five years.
Remember, your CV is always a work in progress; you need to keep polishing it. Look at your CV critically, keep going back to edit it and proofread it again and again.
Pro Photo Or No Photo
Adding a photo to your CV is a bone of contention in the industry. In general, we advise against photos, however, should you feel this is absolutely necessary please (PLEASE—we beg of you!) use a professional-looking photo. We can assure you, your future employer isn't interested to know what you look like in beachwear or sportswear (or with a cap on, or flowers in your hair). Selfies are also frowned upon—so please, either go pro or just don’t go there at all. So, if you insist on having a photo, make sure it's a professional-looking headshot. See examples below;
Essentially, you should “regard your resume as your business card” Edel, recruiter within General Recruitment team, maintains. At the end of the day, you want it to represent who you are. Your CV needs to make a strong enough impression on the recruiter or HR so that they reach out to you to secure an interview—What follows will be up to you.
While the saying don't judge a book by its cover stands firm, since the recipient of your CV hasn't met you as yet, you therefore need to make sure that your CV paints the most realistic and best possible image of yourself. Six seconds is not a long time, so first impressions are vital to securing a job interview. Think about it this way; you have a window of opportunity to market yourself to get the job you want, so make sure to use the space wisely to state what you can bring to the table. Be precise, concise and confident; don’t shy away from showcasing your assets. Be relevant, and above all, be honest.