In just nine speedy seconds the average recruiter will have decided whether you are suitable for a job or not. It is therefore vital to ensure that your CV showcases your experience and relevance in the best possible way. Too many candidates forget that this simple document is often the first stepping stone to a fantastic opportunity, so it’s essential that it packs the wow-factor! As a Researcher at Oasis HR I see hundreds of CVs everyday so wanted to share my top tips for successfully selling yourself with your CV.
1. Presentation is key
The cosmetic appearance of your CV completely frames how you are perceived by an employer so it’s crucial to get it right. Given that you’ve got all of nine seconds to make an impression, making your information digestible and accessible is key. Using lists and bullet points is going to make it far easier for a recruiter to pull out the relevant details quickly. What’s more, keeping your style (font, colour etc.) consistent, neat and slick will go a long way to creating the right impression.
2. Get the basics right
The best way to rile a recruiter is to submit a CV littered with spelling and grammar mistakes – it looks lazy, unprofessional and demonstrates poor attention to detail; three traits you wouldn’t dream of using to publicise yourself during a job hunt! Don’t give someone a reason to discount you for a position before they’ve been fully exposed to your achievements and experience.
3. Avoid using a personal photo
In my opinion a personal photo is something that should always be saved for LinkedIn; allow your skills and expertise to do the selling!
4. Regularly update your CV
This is obviously hugely important if you are actively on the market for a new role. However, if you’re not, it doesn’t hurt to freshen up your CV every few months. It’s so easy to forget key career milestones and then when it comes to dipping your toe into the job market your CV doesn’t accurately reflect all your relevant achievements.
5. Highlight your personality
The first question a recruiter will ask when reviewing your CV is – are they capable of doing the job? And if the answer’s yes, well you’re one step closer to securing your new role. The second question is – are they right for the business? This concerns your sector experience, types of previous employers and your cultural fit. Whilst cultural fit is best assessed in person, including relevant interests and hobbies within your CV can help highlight your personality and further demonstrate your relevance for the employer.
6. Tailor your CV to the role
Displaying a firm grasp of the role and the business shows you are really serious about the opportunity. Tailoring your CV to the skillset that is required is imperative for getting that initial foot in the door; it shows both initiative and understanding.
7. Don’t send a generic cover letter
A cover letter is a great way to support your professional CV by displaying more of a flavour of your personality, and highlighting what you can bring to the role and the employing organisation. However, the biggest mistake you can make is sending out a generic cover letter. A recruiter will translate this to ‘you are applying for jobs on mass and are therefore not serious or passionate about the role or company’.
8. Cop in a Car
This is one of the mantras we live by at Oasis HR. Why say a ‘policeman in an automobile’ when a ‘cop in a car’ will do? Yes your CV is ultimately a marketing document designed to promote you. But that doesn’t mean it should be five pages long and list every single accomplishment, responsibility and swimming badge you’ve achieved since birth! Keep it relevant, concise and try not to exceed two pages.
Exaggeration… we’re all guilty of it at some point or another. Why let a few facts get in the way of a good story, right? Wrong. Your CV really isn’t the place for fabrication or exaggeration. Recruiters aren’t stupid and realise if you’ve sprinkled a little pixie dust over your CV to help sell yourself. We’re interested in the facts; tangible achievements, job tenure, job titles, previous employers, qualifications and where possible, some hard statistics. It will soon become very clear if you can’t evidence your statements during further conversations.
10. Explain gaps in your employment
Recruiters are trained to look out for a number of ‘red flags’ when sifting through CVs such as ‘job-hopping’ or long gaps in employment. There are many valid reasons why an individual should need or want to take time out from a career that wouldn’t be classified as a ‘red flag’. So don’t leave us guessing! If you’ve taken time out for studying, to have children, or so on, then tell us!