CVs are scanned by the reader for about 7 seconds before a decision is made on whether or not to invest more time in reading. That additional time, if you get it, normally lasts no longer than 2 minutes. When the reader is reviewing tens or maybe hundreds of CVs everyday, standing out for all the right reasons should be your primary concern.
7 to 127 seconds is not long enough for someone to conduct a considered interpretation of your experience and turn it into argument for placing you in a role. It falls to you as the CV writer to do that thinking for them by presenting the most relevant information in a way that suggests how helpful the experience, abilities, and knowledge you have will be in the role. When you do this effectively, the reader can quickly see how you fit the role and organisation, hopefully leading to an interview.
But how?! There are 6 strategies you should know about when making your next application:
Have a consistent format with clear font such as Calibri (sans serif) or Times New Roman (serif) in an easy to read size like 11 or 12, and aim to not crowd your page. Empty space in between sections makes for easier scanning and identification of key details.
Useful Contact Details
A great resume is no good if the reader can’t contact you! Include your mobile, email, and linkedin URL if you have one. (If you don’t have one, look for a previous blog on why LinkedIn helps in your job search). Full addresses are no longer required on CVs.
Similar to a Linkedin Headline, offering a short tagline that sums up your career brand will set the tone for the reader. It also adds key words related to the role to your document which will encourage applicant tracking systems to select your resume for further review. This feature can be situated under your name, separate from your contact details, and above your profile.
Tailor Your Personal Profile
When done well, a profile serves as a the best introduction you could give. Like meeting your future employer for the first time with a super polished opening line. A quality profile includes what you have done, the skills you gained, and how they will be applied to their specific role.
E.g. Customer Service professional with over 10 years’ experience ensuring positive client experiences through the application of intuitive problem solving, people, and organisation skills. Seeking to join your busy customer facing team where my technical abilities and a positive attitude will enable me to be successful in your role.
Key Competencies & Skills
Having a section dedicated to your demonstrated and developed skills shows the reader what you can do, rather than relying on the reader to identify these skills peppered throughout the resume. Your experience statements will then reinforce the skills you have already point out, and focus the reader on what makes you suitable for the role. Remember, resumes (and cover letters) are about what you can do for the employer, and not the other way around.
These are the dot points you may (should) have under each role in your work experience. One way to do this is as a list of responsibilities and achievements.These could serve double duty by displaying HOW you accomplished them. Think of it this way: if there were 5 different people all doing the exact same work as you, what would make your work different from theirs? It’s the WAY that you go about your work that makes you different, and will inform the reader in how your approach to tasks will suit the role.
Example 1: Receptionist
- Greeted clients
- Showed to rooms
- Cleared rooms
Example 2: Receptionist
- Demonstrated strong customer service skills in greeting up to 20 clients per day
- Informed employees and politely showed guests to meeting rooms
- Cleared rooms of tea and coffee in a timely and neat manner to ensure guest comfort and turnaround of the rooms
I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to add to your resume and get your message across to the employer, and pass the 7 second test! More help is available through Selection Partners Career Coaching. For more information, give us a call at the office! 0398328100