Two pieces of A4 paper could be all standing between you and that dream job, so get them right says York job finder general Simon Wallace
Part seven: the CV
How do you make your CV stand out from the crowd? What do you need to include? For this part I am going to let you into the world of the hirer; the person that sees your CV and decides whether or not to invite you for interview. Once you have seen the CV through their eyes, you will know the answers to the above.
A CV is all about you isn’t it? Not really. A CV is actually an advert. It helps to sell you to a prospective employer. And it has to do it very quickly. Imagine one hundred people applying for a job. How long does it take to sift through one hundred CVs to find four or five that are suitable for interview?
Different hirers will have different ways of going through them, though their first pass usually involves rejecting:
- any with spelling mistakes (why would I want to hire you if you don’t check your work?)
- any that are too long or too short (two sides of A4 is sufficient for most jobs)
- any that aren’t set out well / easy on the eye (if I want reports from you in the role, I need to be able to read them easily).
There are others but the above criteria often reduces one hundred CVs to about twenty.
The next check is whether you have the necessary skills mentioned in the job advert. This is where the hirer has to actually read the CV.
Have you listed all the required skills at the top so the hirer can see them easily or have you buried them within your various different roles? The danger being the hirer might miss them; it is acceptable to repeat yourself on a CV.
In the shortlisting process, the 20 CVs have now become four or five. In order to get into the “interview pile”, you need to check spelling, pay attention to presentation and length and list how you meet the requirements of the job at the top of page one, just underneath your name.
This is why you should write a different CV for each job you apply for.
What else you include depends on how much research you have done. Do you know who the hirer is? Do you share any interests with them?
Do you know which school they went to (did you go to the same one?). At a later stage the hirer will have to convince their manager that you were the right choice, so make it easy for them.
Of course, if you have been following the series, the hirer will already be looking for your CV specifically to go on the “interview pile”.
In the next part I will help you ace that interview.
- See the rest of the Job Finder General series here
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