So you may have a general idea about what should be included in a good CV. You may have even purchased a nice, fancy template from Etsy. Better yet, you found a free creative template from a careers website. But now what?
While a creative template may be eye-catching and likely to grab recruiter attention, content is still key. A nice template will only get you so far if the content is sloppy or not engaging.
So why is it important to have a good CV?
Well, your CV is the first chance that you get to make a good impression on a potential employer. Yes, you might be charismatic. Yes, you may sail through interviews. And yes, you may have all the attributes listed in the job requirements. But what happens if this is poorly presented on paper? Well, you will not be considered for the opportunity, it is that simple. A well-written CV on the other hand, well, it will boost your chances of securing a face to face interview. Therefore, it is certainly worth taking the time to work on the content and presentation. If you highlight and structure your skills and experience in the right way, it could make all the difference.
Why is content so important?
We cannot stress the importance of well-written content enough. Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds scanning a CV and so it is important to find a balance and to add only relevant, yet concise information that will grab the recruiter’s attention. It can be tempting to include your entire history in your CV but this is not necessary, you must focus only on your recent, yet relevant, experience. Wasting valuable space will only harm your application.
Why is presentation so important?
The first and most obvious answer is that you want to grab recruiter attention, stand out from the crowd and get noticed. However, an overly creative CV template may actually harm your chances. Again, you have to find a balance between professional and appealing. Unfortunately, modern-day Applicant Tracking Systems are not designed to adequately filter CVs that contain too many columns, boxes, and fancy formatting concepts. Whilst your Photoshop CV may yield positive results for you if it lands in front of a recruiter, it will likely end up in the reject pile if parsed by an Applicant Tracking System.
So how do I ensure that my CV is both presentable and well-written in terms of content?
In terms of presentation, it is best to stick to basics so a Word document or PDF file. With regards to the template and formatting, we recommend that you use a modern, yet professional, template, one that is not only ATS-friendly but one that will also grab recruiter attention and stand out from the crowd.
As for content, it is good practice to avoid personal pronouns. We also recommend against the use of clichés such as “works well in a team and on own initiative” – these points are overused in today’s market and will not set you apart from other candidates. The last thing to consider is the use of monotonous language. You want to come across as an achiever, right? So if you ‘developed’ something, why not state that your ‘pioneered’ it instead? Now doesn’t that sound more appealing?
So there you have it. Your CV is your passport to employment and failing to write it correctly may mean the difference between getting to the interview stage or going straight to the rejection pile.
If you want to know how your CV fairs up, then why not upload it for a free CV Review?