Very helpful and clear messages, really enjoyed it and very helpful! :)  - Sixth form student workshop

Want a CV that gets results? Let's go back to basics...

10th November 2012

I've been working recently with several recruiters from different industries but all with very similar frustrations. We've all been having a good old moan at the standard of CVs we've been reading, even from some pretty experienced candidates who really ought to have known better. I know that many of you will find this hard to believe, but even in the current market, recruiters are still seeing far too many CVs which simply don't deliver, wasting time for recruiters and job seekers alike. 

Let's re-visit a few basic points that do seem to need attention in order to maximise your chances of earning that interview.

First of all, always use a spellchecker, set to UK , not US English, even if you think you are good at spelling. Watch out for words that won't be picked up by spellchecks; recently I've seen confusion in 'weather /whether',  'sum/some' and the old favourite 'affect/effect'.  Always leave plenty of time between completing your CV and the application deadline. Lots of people I've coached tell me how helpful it is to put away the whole application for at least 24 hours after you think you've completed it, then doing your final checks with a fresh pair of eyes.

Attention to detail is also measured by recruiters in the presentation of the fininshed document. That first impression is made not just with content, but appearance as well. Have you left enough white space, or does it look crowded and cramped? Have you selected a clear and sensible sized font? (12 type face is small enough) Will the recruiter be reading information about you in a helpful order? ( A tip for more mature jobseekers with a lot of work experience to offer; I'm most interested in your most recent experiences) 

When completing an application form, follow all instructions to the letter. That means answering the questions carefully with specific examples of tasks or skills that demonstrate that you have delivered the specific skills that  you've just been asked to describe.

Have you refreshed your CV for each separate application that you make, to ensure that the essential skills and experiences demanded by this vacancy are highlighted in each separate application?

Have you sent off your CV or application form with a covering letter/email that outlines your interest in the job, highlights your best asset and confirms your positive interest in that organisation?  

 Just remember, that when we're faced with a  huge heap of applications, those with spelling or factual errors scream "I'm not really that interested in your vacancy to put in much effort'. That does make it easy to sift candidates against the selection criteria 'Paying careful attention to detail' So long as your CV arrives on the desk of the right person, looks attractive, is easy to follow and describes clearly how your skills, interests and experiences match favourably into the vacancy, you are clearly ahead of most of your competitors and far more likely to attract an invitation to interview.

 For more help with getting your CV right, take a look at Nail That Job, the book, which has far more hints and tips about making your CV work hard for you.


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