30 years = hundreds of thousands of CVs. I have seen some stunningly dreadful ones - guaranteed to be filed under ‘wpb’ and a few corkers.
Here are my 8 tips to make sure your CV stands out from the crowd.
RULE 1: BE RELEVANT
Do not waste clients’ time sending your CV if your experience is not what they are asking for.
RULE 2: GET NOTICED BY THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Assuming you have the relevant skills try to get your CV noticed by a decision maker. If you know anyone at the company you are applying to, ask them to recommend you to the decision maker. If you do not know anyone, we probably do and can recommend you. This will help differentiate you better than any well laid out CV!
Now onto your CV:
RULE 3: GRAB THE READER’S ATTENTION, QUICKLY!
Imagine you are recruiting. You have had a stressful day and now have 100 CVs to read through!
You only have 20 seconds to make sure your CV gets through to the shortlist pile. 20 seconds x 100 still means over an hour and a half and less than 1% obey the 20 second rule. This is a key differentiator.
So, how important do you think it is to put at the top of your CV your address, marital status, phone number, pretty picture and qualifications? Please, put them at the end of your CV!
RULE 4: IMPLIED INTELLIGENCE
Show the reader you have thought about what they want to read. Make them ‘feel’ good about you.
Make it clean, clear, airy and simple to read. Challenge yourself to get everything on 1 page! Use images sparingly, only if relevant and will impress.
RULE 5: SEQUENCE
Create a logical flow to your CV:
1: NAME and JOB TITLE: Make sure your title is alongside your name and that it is the same as what the client is looking for.
2: PROFILE: A brief – maximum 50 word - profile. The length of this paragraph – plus one word! Your profile simply summarises your main capabilities (relevant to the advertised role) and ideally, relevant achievements. This paragraph should compel the reader to either short list you now or read on.
3: WORK HISTORY: See RULE 6. Is your experience from 15 years ago relevant to the reader?
4: REFERENCES: See RULE 7. Don’t say references available upon request!
6: CONTACT DETAILS: Only necessary if they want to contact you and they are not going to write so email and mobile will suffice.
RULE 6: WORK HISTORY: DETAIL ONLY WHERE IT IS NEEDED
You are trying to impress the client with your ability to be precise and to the point. You need to keep your CV short and light. You can elaborate about your experience as an apprentice with British Leyland in 1970 when you meet face to face. For now, your work history over the last 5 years is the most relevant and worthy of (relevant!) detail. 5 to 10 years previous, some (relevant!) detail. 10 years plus only needs where, when and title.
RULE 7: CONVICTION
Why say references available upon request when you have a unique opportunity to prove how good a job you have done previously by putting them in writing on your CV now! Embed them in your work history with the relevant employer.
RULE 8: GOOD IS IN THE DETAIL
Proof read your CV and get someone else to. Check the grammar. Check the spelling. And, check your numbers if you have used them. Nearly every CV we receive has at least one spelling mistake!