According to research by the National Citizen Service, recruiters spend just nine seconds reading through each CV, so yours needs to be concise and colourful enough to catch their attention.
As a candidate, how are you able to show off anything valuable about yourself in that time, and how can you demonstrate you’re the right fit for the job?
Describe accomplishments, not responsibilities
Instead of repeating your job description, focus on the accomplishments you’ve made while living up to that description. Describe the ways you’ve excelled in your profession and have gone above and beyond. Mention specific projects and how you contributed their success.
Add some thrills
While having the ‘X Factor’ is not about colourful fonts or a wacky layout, it is about being different and making yourself stand-out from all the other candidates.
Show you can spot trends and have opinions in your areas of expertise. If you keep an up-to-date blog, have spoken at an event, or even had some work published, be sure to include a link to it on your CV so a recruiter can take a look.
Use specific keywords
Recruiters are starting to use job sites to search for jobseekers based on industry specific keywords, making it important to try and include the terms that define you and the type of position you’re looking for, in your CV.
This could range from making the most of synonyms - for example using a range of different terms for job titles (e.g. Project Manager, Construction Manager, Site Manager, etc.) - to being industry specific with your terminology and expanding on any qualifications you may have.
You should also be sure to include any keywords or phrases mentioned in the job description itself. Bold them to make sure they’re picked up in a quick scan.
Remember that you’re trying to sell yourself. Using passive phrases like ‘was involved in’ and ‘assisted with’ implies that you were more of an onlooker than a ringleader. Use strong action verbs like “oversaw” or “spearheaded” and take credit where credit is due.
Putting a number on the work you do gives the recruiter an idea of how you might fit into an organisation. If you can quantify any of your job descriptions, do so. For example, how much product did you sell monthly? How much money did you save your company? Using hard numbers is a great way to back up your accomplishments.
Showcase your personality
More and more companies are starting to hire by personality rather than just experience. Use this opportunity to put your best foot forward and get acknowledged for the charity work you’ve done or the networking events you organised.