Owing to the ever-increasing number of job seekers, the job market has become highly competitive. A single advertisement on job sites and company websites can elicit over 150 applications from eager candidates. Some industries are highly popular and they possess low barriers of entry e.g. sales. Such industries might receive over 300 applications for a single advert.
To a human resource professional on the receiving end of these applications, it is, without doubt a rather daunting task looking for the perfect fit in a sea of applications. The human resource experts have, therefore, grasped CV reading skills that allow them to skim through CVs in 7 seconds or less, for what they consider important. This is the stage where CVs are shortlisted and proceed to the next stage. This means that as a candidate you have 7seconds to convince the person skimming through your CV that you are worth the shot.
You have to ensure that you are aware of what a recruiter looks at when skimming through your CV and understand what catches their attention. Below are the areas that will make your CV stand out;
Your CV Format
The recruiter has limited time and if they find your CV format difficult to decipher, it will go down to then bottom of the list. Ensure that the format you use is appropriate for the particular industry, and that it is simple to read.
Highlight the Important Sections
It is important to ensure that the important sections in your CV are clearly highlighted on the first page. Details like your bio data i.e name, address, email address, telephone number should be clear. Avoid non-important details like your height, tribe, and marital status. Questions about them will be asked if the interviewer deems it necessary.
Apart from your bio data, information about your qualifications, skills and work experience should be touched on in the first page of your CV. Your current work experience should be highlighted as it is of more importance to the recruiter.
Highlight then tittles in your work experience
It is important that you clearly outline roles and timelines in your work experience. When looking at your work experience, the recruiter seeks to know what positions you held in different companies and for how long. Lack of this information makes you look dodgy and raises red flag. Also, this is another reason for your CV to go to the bottom of the list.
Turn-over is a factor
How long you last with various employers is crucial information for any potential employer. This is because it usually sets a trend in your professional life and it is a clear indicator of how long you might last if hired. Do not let this hinder you from getting your dream job. Separate your internships and short term contracts from your permanent positions to avoid the illusion of short tenures.
Little things have the potential to make or ruin your first impression. Be careful and thorough to ensure that dates are correct, the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. Typos and bad grammar will definitely make your CV an eyesore.
How to grab attention with your CV
Taking care of the above pointers puts you out of harm’s way, but still doesn’t guarantee shortlisting. To ensure that you get the chance to showcase your suitability as a candidate in an interview, you need to convince the recruiter that you are the solution to their business’s pain.
Understand the company by going through their website and other resources. Such information will help you formulate relevant and informed answers and to align your solutions with the company’s existing operations. It will make you more relevant if you can support the information in your CV and cover letter with significant points of action on how you will be of value.
When talking about your skills and achievements, be specific. For instance, stating that you possess customer service skills or interpersonal skills is cliché. State how you reduced customer complaints in your previous company by X%. Figures catch the attention of the reader and they will want to know more.
Such compelling information should be what the potential employer sees first instead of tired CV phrases present in every other application they receive.
Finally, customize your CV for each application to ensure its relevance and to avoid cluttering it with unnecessary information, which may ruin your chances of nailing that interview.