Building confidence with a ‘spot on’ CV!
How many times have we heard it said that ‘first impressions count’? We all allow our unconscious thinking and biases to make judgements the moment we meet someone new and our CV is no different. Many recruiters state that they make an initial assessment within 20 seconds of looking at an applicants CV! If so, how would they respond to yours?
When we are pitching ourselves to a potential employer our CV and accompanying cover letter could be the make or break stage in the process. So what are you to do? A recent article published in Money magazine by Kristen Bahler makes the following points which I think are worth noting:
‘Despite changing trends and formats, the inclusion of head shots and logos etc, the basic fundamentals of crisp writing, clarity and brevity still reign supreme’. In other words, style is no substitute for substance.
‘Design and format matters’. Balance between text and blank spaces should result in a ‘smooth, clear look’. Make it easy to read and balanced on the page, is how I describe it. I sometimes suggest to clients that they should think about each word as if they had to pay the printer for each character used. This would make us all think twice about every word and its importance and impact on the reader!
Be conscious of the top third of the page. This is the initial area to be ‘scanned’ by the reader and it needs to be relevant and impactful. This extends to the format of your email address and of course your personal profile. One of my favourite gripes is the inclusion of ‘fun or quirky’ email addresses. Don’t use them, choose a simple and professional email that wont offend or put unwanted images in the readers mind. If your email is firstname.lastname@example.org then you might want to change it to something simpler like john123! Gmail is fine and widely accepted across all industries now.
‘Emphasise your skills’ and make this relevant to the position you are applying for. This means ‘reworking this section’ for each job you apply for and this takes time and effort. Do not use a generic CV for multiple positions. You need to stand out for all the right reasons.
Time and time again great candidates fail to reach the interview process because they have not put the time and effort into the initial application and CV. This is time that will be well spent and when you are happy that your CV says the right things about you, it will help you approach the application process with a lot more confidence and optimism. That has to be a help!
The complete article by Kristen Bahler can be found here