One of our managing consultants, shares her insight on what employers and recruiters are scanning for on your CV
The first question to think about is: how long does a hiring manager take to review your application? If they receive lots of CV’s, it may only be seconds. So if you’ve crammed your CV full of information, they might miss the gems.
As a recruiter, I get sent hundreds of CV’s every month. I have developed some quick ways to review a CV and I am going to share with you what I look for. It should help you to get your CV content right.
It is worth starting out by reiterating the time someone will spend initially glancing at your CV. I can say honestly that I make my initial assessment within the first 10 seconds of looking at a CV.
Employers tend to shortlist people who have relevant experience and a proven track record in a similar role to one they are recruiting for. So I am looking at the candidate’s most recent role, if it is not relevant I will look at their previous role. I will quickly assess how long they have been in each of their roles and what business sector they have worked for, is it relevant to the role I am recruiting for?
With this in mind, before you think about applying for a job, be honest about where you have skills matches for the role. If you match most of the skills detailed in the job description, then it is worth submitting an application but, if you are looking for a total career change, just submitting your CV will probably get your application declined. In this instance it is best to pick up the phone, speak to the recruiter/hiring manager and talk to them about why you think your skills transfer or how you should go about your career change and see what advice they can offer.
So, you are a relevant candidate in terms of experience. The next thing I look at is your career history. Put your most recent role first on your CV and make sure it’s on the first page. If you have had a number of interim roles or have been made redundant after a short period, you should clarify this on your CV so that the hiring manager knows you have genuine reasons for leaving. If you’re not currently working, don’t be afraid to say so or explain why without oversharing. Far better to be honest from the outset.
Make sure your history details what you have achieved in a role; target’s you achieved, things you launched, cost savings you made etc. It’s great that you say you can do something but someone who brings this to life with their target vs actual achievement will always standout.
If you have qualifications these should definitely be on your CV. If you are a recent graduate with limited work experience use the experiences you have had during your course to sell yourself. If you did your dissertation in media relations and are applying for a PR Assistant role, for example, this is great to include in your CV.
The general rule when writing your CV is keep it brief, two pages is enough. Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager, what would you look for if you were in their position?
Keep your age, marital status, photos and family situation out of your CV. You want to avoid any of the information being used to negatively influence a hiring decision.
Be ‘on it’
When you apply for a role always follow up with a phone call. The best candidates always call to follow up and if you speak to someone that doubts your suitability for a role, it gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and potentially overcome any concerns the recruiter had to possibly and be selected for interview.
I hope these quick tips help and best wishes in your job search.