By Catherine Adenle
These are the 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV. If you are looking for a job, it’s important that you know the ways recruiters will notice your CV. it may be helpful to take out your generic CV and use these 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV to update it so that your CV can stand out from a pile and catch the attention of hiring managers.
The first and critical way of these 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV is to ensure that there your CV or Resume does not have spelling errors, typos and poor grammar. In the world of technology and ‘Spell Checks’, you will be amazed at how many CVs go through to recruiters or potential employers with errors and poor grammar. You as a job seeker need to remember that your CV represents you. If there are careless errors, spellings and formatting in your CV, it directly reflects on you, the candidate. The general consensus among recruiters is that your CV will more often than not be your one opportunity to make a first impression. You need to make the first impression a positive one.
Remember, all jobs are different. Every employer who posts a job advert is looking for specific qualities in candidates that are ideal for that role. An effective CV will take this into consideration and ensure it presents to the recruiter what they are looking for. Ensure that your CV tells powerful mini-stories in a good running order about you for the role that you are after. An effective CV is your personal branding summary document for any role that you are applying for. It must talk the talk in your absence.
See your CV as an extension of your branding pitch in front of a recruiter when you are not there. Don’t make it generic. Put up something that quickly summaries your experience, skills, qualifications and accomplishments for the role in under a minute. Show that you understand the role. This can be done by showing the recruiter that you understand what they are searching for. If you have certifications that prove you are knowledgeable about industry trends, then include them. If you have a professional network that shows how involved you are in industry events it is best to mention that in your CV. Employers want to feel special and want you to write a CV specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.
A very good way to NOT get your CV read is by sending them a badly laid out functional CV. At the top of your CV, always include an easy to follow general functional summary. Use bullet points that can be easily customized to match what the employer is seeking. Hand the recruiters what they are looking for on a silver platter.
Find out what the “hot buttons” of the job and employer are and make every one of the words on your CV hit the target. Immediately following your summary, provide the recruiters with an easy to follow the chronological history of where you worked and when. It is here you need to also detail your accomplishments.
Another of the 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV is for it to contain details of your accomplishments, skills and experience. Your CV needs to describe more than just your job duties. An effective CV must clearly detail your accomplishments. Mention the business benefits and results attributable to your direct effort, involvement or leadership. The second most common complaint among recruiters was reading a CV that is too task-oriented. Also, do not just rely on long lists of power words to describe work or accomplishments. Be sure to mention pieces of evidence of your accomplishments.
Do not separate your skills and accomplishments from each position. Someone should be able to look at it and know what you did at each job, and how long you were there. Make sure to provide specific examples of how the company benefited from your performance. Accomplishments should be quantified in money or percentages, for example, ‘Increased productivity of department from 40% to 70% generating £300K more revenue.’
A CV that does not include dates sends red flags about a candidate’s background and could be tossed out immediately. The obvious assumption is that the candidate is trying to hide something. Furthermore, be honest about your dates of employment.
When you provide dates, your work history should be in reverse chronological order. The general consensus among recruiters is to place the employer information, title and location to the left-hand side of the screen. Your employment dates should be aligned to the right so that your reader can easily “skim” down the page. And if you have a proven track record of staying with a job for a while, absolutely make sure that your employment dates jump out to the recruiter. This is a real selling point about you as a candidate.
Infographic: 20 Guaranteed Ways to Get Your CV Noticed by Recruiters
It is paramount that your CV is clean, clear and not full of major formatting errors. Most candidates are unaware that many formatting features will not view well on a computer screen, and more importantly, will not download properly into many recruiting systems or job boards.
To see what your WORD document CV will look like as a text file, take it and paste it into NOTEPAD. You can then make any minor formatting changes as necessary within NOTEPAD.
Another of the 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV is of course for you to add your information. Every good CV should start with full name, address and contact information at the top to grab recruiters’ attention, and give them a rounded view of who you are and what you have to offer.
Then follow this with some great information to include your core skills, qualifications, achievements, placement experience, in a bullet-pointed list and give recruiters some good reasons to continue reading it. It’s also a good idea to follow your personal details with a well-written profile followed by a core skills section – a bullet-pointed list of your most valuable attributes that could be split over two or three columns.
Remember, recruiters, do not need to know your age, height, weight, marital status, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliations. They are trying to fill an open job requisition, not match you for a blind date.
Your CV should not be more than 2 pages unless you are a medical doctor, an architect or a multi-media developer. Situations that usually contribute to long CVs are; too many jobs; a career that is not focused, an inability to be concise, written communication problems, or something similar. All of which makes you look like an unplaceable candidate. No matter how tempting it is to go into detail about the first job you had 25 years ago, don’t. Instead, let your CV showcase your most recent accomplishments. Recruiters are only reviewing the last 5-10 years of your career, 15 at most.
If you are a recent graduate with limited professional work experience, your CV could be only one page. If you are from academia but are seeking a position in the industry, do not include every publication or journal paper you have ever presented. For employment beyond 10 years ago, create a Previous Employment section. You can quickly list your older assignments by simply including title, company and dates.
Your CV should not bore recruiters. It must be sharply focused, no long and wordy paragraphs of endless information in one section. Whenever you try to over demonstrate your capabilities through the use of fluffy words that add no value to your Resume, you almost always end up with a CV that employers will toss in the recycle bin.
Recruiters want CV details to be short, concise and to the point. No recruiter has the time to read long paragraphs, which look like a narrative out of War and Peace. Make sure you quickly get to the meaty part of what you are trying to communicate about yourself. Your CV should be easy for the reader to scan your text for your skills and accomplishments. Consider using the following formatting techniques:
One of the most basic CV tips is to go beyond just listing what you think is required but it’s important to simply demonstrate how you made a difference at each company you worked for, providing specific examples.
No one cap fits all when you prepare your CV. Ensure that you tweak your CV for the job that you are applying to. Whenever you develop a generic CV, remember that for each job you apply for, you need to take your time to read the job ad, the skills required, plus the experience expected. Use all of this information to tweak your CV before sending it. If you don’t do this, you are certainly going to make your CV end up in the recycle bin. Employers want to know that you have an understanding of what the job requires. Write a CV specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in their organization.
Your CV should specifically state the type of industry, revenues, public or private in the body or beneath the specific company. This will help the reader determine if it’s a direct industry OR an ancillary industry. A great idea is to bullet-point in your summary the specific industry experience the recruiter is seeking. Add certifications or professional qualifications that are relevant for the role.
One of the 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV is for your CV to look credible. We all know the temptation is there to beef up your background by stretching the truth here and there to land that job. It is becoming more commonplace for companies to do extensive background and reference checks on a candidate’s background prior to hiring. Also, companies are demanding that their recruiters do more extensive background checks. Recruiters stated the most common misleading information on CVs are:
If you cannot take the time to craft a compelling opening or headline for your CV, then lead with what will grab the recruiters’ attention. Instead of an objective that can pigeonhole your focus too narrowly or an introduction that adds nothing to your background; use the top piece of your CV to really sell your skills, experience and accomplishments.
Tell them who you are and what you do immediately. You can come up with one powerful sentence or phrase to grab attention. Think of this as a headline to a major front-page news story. What is going to grab that reader to want to read further? Customise your headline to match the job description and press the hot-buttons of the recruiters.
Video: How to format and structure your CV
Keep your font simple and easy to read on a computer screen. Do not use italics or extremely difficult to read fonts like Edwardian Script. Font size is just as important as style. 8-point fonts are too small to read, even for a pair of glasses-wearing Superman.
Microsoft seems to have settled on 10 points Arial as their default font in most of their applications. People are accustomed to reading such on their computer screen. For headings, recruiters shared that 12-point bolded is the best choice.
The second best choice is Times Roman as every newspaper and magazine is printing with such. Once again, people’s eyes are accustomed to reading text in this font. However, 10-point Times Roman, (unlike Arial), is too small for a computer screen. It is recommended if you choose Times Roman, use 11 or 12 points. 13 for objectives or headings.
Unless specifically requested otherwise, your CV should be sent as a Word Attachment. Do not send your CV as a PDF, Mac file, etc. A recruiter simply does do not have time to download and convert special files. In addition, do not send your CV in a ZIP file.
No CV should be 60 pages long period. Unless you are a graphic designer, a medical doctor, an architect or a multi-media developer, no recruiter will spend time going to your “homepage” to download your CV. Even if you are a graphic designer, you still need a Word attachment CV. So if you are an accountant, engineer, etc. do not try to invoke your fanciness, because no recruiter has the time or desire to call up another page.
Another top reason for avoiding formats other than Word or a plain text file is that it becomes increasingly more difficult to download into many HR and recruiting systems. If recruiters cannot enter your CV into their recruiting system, they will be unable to match your CV with any positions that do become available. This also goes for mailed and faxed CVs.
Unless specifically requested otherwise, recruiters are looking for easy to open Word Attachments. It is always a good idea to name and save your CV Word Attachment “Jackson, Catherine CV”. Recruiters have no time to guess the author of the attachment.
Unless you are a supermodel or are applying to a position such as an actor or TV personality that might require a headshot, there is absolutely no need to include your picture. Unless they ask, do not include your photo. A candidate should be judged based on their skills, education and work history, not looks, race, sex, age, etc. In addition, sending a picture only increases the file size and download time of your CV.
Much the same goes for graphics and endless URL links. Furthermore, because of the fear of computer viruses, many recruiting departments are set up not to accept graphics, pictures, downloadable files, etc. Unless you are applying to be a web site designer, an architect or a journalist, do not include URLs. Otherwise, your CV will just be deleted before it is even opened. In the case of URL links, they just clutter up your CV and no recruiter will ever spend time clicking on these links.
Your CV has to GRAB the recruiters’ attention from the onset. If your CV does not convey a match within 10 seconds, they move to the next candidate. An effective summary section will help the recruiter identify if the job seeker is a viable candidate for the position quicker. This summary section can be customised to the position you are applying to.
For candidates of a technical nature, it is imperative that a Technical Summary is also compiled. Make sure that these technical skills are clearly laid out and current. When creating this tech summary, be careful not to create a long list of “alphabet soup” no one will ever read or understand.
A CV should not be written in the first person. No recruiter or future employer wants to read a CV full of “I did this, I implemented this, and I did this and that…” Furthermore, writing a CV in the first person often leads to it becoming too verbose.
Writing a CV in the third person was also slated as a major pet-peeve among many recruiters. A CV is simply a quick marketing piece about the job seeker’s background and how it matches the requirements of the position. It is not a biography for a book jacket cover. For example: “Jane Smith is an excellent project manager, who has managed many…” is uncalled for. Just start with, “Managed many …”
Employers are probably going to be a bit more understanding now than in the past regarding gaps of employment because of all of the Covid-19 redundancies, layoffs, cost-cutting, reductions, etc. However, holes or gaps in dates in a CV will solicit questions from employers and recruiters alike, so be prepared to answer them. Even if you took a sabbatical for personal reasons, it is a good idea to state such.
Candidates often leave off very important and critical experience or information that is pertinent to the job they are seeking. Just as bad is to include this important information but burying it so deep into the CV the recruiter will not see it. Trust me, no recruiter has the time to play Sherlock Holmes to figure out a candidate’s background.
Jobseekers must be aware that recruiters receive literally hundreds of CVs a day and spend only about 25 seconds skimming through each CV. This is why it is imperative that if a job seeker possesses the requirements of the position, that they grab the recruiters’ attention immediately with the skills and experience.
The best scenario is to customise each and every CV that you send out and tailor it to the bull’s eye or hot buttons that will catch the recruiters’ attention within 5-10 seconds.
Now that you know the 20 guaranteed ways recruiters will notice your CV, what can you add? Let us hear fro you. Leave your comment below.