Does your CV pass the seven-second speed test?

When it comes to CVs, it’s no secret that you don’t have long to impress. This can be a frustration when you spend hours on a CV, particularly if you send a cover letter too! research was taken place by the ladders.com and found out that the average time spent reading a CV was 6.25 seconds. You only have a short time for your CV to work its magic. In this blog, we run through whether your CV passes the test of getting to the next stage.

Be clear on what you want:

This can be stated in your personal statement, but make sure this is clear and concise. Highlight what makes you unique, what you can add to the company and becoming a great team member. This should only be 3-4 sentences long and MUST be customised to the role and company, you can find relevant information on the company’s website.

Personal details:

This may seem like stating the obvious, but as recruiters, we come across it far too often. This can be adding the wrong letter or digit to a phone number or email address, or even having a previous phone number on there. Moral of the story, your CV would get nowhere if this was the case, and you could be missing out on your dream opportunity.

Always add…

Phone number

Address

Full name

Email address

Experience:

This is one of the most crucial parts of the seven-second scan. What employers are looking for is built up years of skills and experiences, so only add your relevant employment along with the dates you were there (employers are put off by any gaps in your CV, so if there is a big chunk of time missing from each job to the next state the reason but only with one sentence) this is what makes or breaks your CV, so make sure it attracts the hiring manager for the right reasons. Add your recent experience first, if it goes beyond so many years that it becomes unrelevant you could add the company name and dates with no information, this way it shows you are willing to have a discussion about it if the employer would like to know more.

Always add…

The duration at each company

The company names

Relevance

Unique skills

Your duties

Education and achievements:

Employers will scan through your education to see how committed you were to your studies and the grades you achieved. Order from the most recent or highest grades you have achieved first. Achievements that relate to your career should always be mentioned in a way that is relevant to the company. As an example; ‘In my time at my previous employment, I was in the top 3 for successful salespeople out of 100 people in the company’ it is important to write stats and show quantitative and qualitative results you achieved. Don’t be afraid to show something unique about you, for example, I walked the great wall of china or I took part in the London marathon for charity.

Always add…

The name of the school/college/university

Years of starting and completion

What you achieved

Something unique about you!

Appearance matters:

Recruiters and hiring managers are sometimes looking through hundreds of CVs, so don’t have the time to look through in details, especially as they know exactly what they are looking for. If the recruiter or hiring manager then has to look through a crammed, untidy, no relevant information to the CV then they won’t make time for it. To avoid this, display information in a list or similar structure.

It can be frustrating when your hard-working CV doesn’t go any further, but take it as a lesson learnt that improvements need to be made. If you are a talented candidate, you will get somewhere.

By Laura Holland

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