Some studies have shown that employers only look at a CV or resume for about 6 seconds before making a decision on whether or not the applicant should be considered for the position. The old saying about not judging a book by the cover would be true in a perfect world but when hundreds of people are all applying for the same job, its necessary for a few snap judgements to be made.
Fortunately, there are several little things you can do to ensure the CV you submitted is not one of the ones passed over after only a few seconds. The most important thing one can do is make sure the format of the CV is spot on. Within that format, pay attention to details but remember to stay relevant to the position you are seeking.
The Perfect Format
Those who are making the hiring decisions simply do not have time to try and suss out where the relevant information they need is located. When a recruiter scans the digital or print version of a submitted CV they want to be able to easily find the details they are looking for. Putting a CV together in a creative way may seem like a good way to make a fantastic first impression, but it will most likely have the employer shaking their head as they move on to the next applicant.
A CV template can help makes the process much easier on everyone. It is important to recognize, however, that there are numerous examples available online that will cause more harm than good. Be sure to find a reputable company, such as Hloom, when selecting a template.
There are little details within a CV that speak to ones level of professionalism. When these are overlooked it can cause a potential employer to take a pass on even the most highly qualified candidate. Obvious examples include spelling and grammar mistakes. While most word processing software will catch glaring spelling errors, they frequently fail to recognize when a word is improperly used or grammar rules are broke. For those who find it difficult to navigate the grammatical highway, there are several free resources available online from top universities.
Another detail that will be a red flag to a potential employer is an unprofessional email address. Many people create their email addresses while in college and while firstname.lastname@example.org may be what you use most frequently, it does not inspire confidence. The best option for a CV is an email that consists of ones first and last name. If that is taken, try using your initials with your last name or some other variant that is clearly identifiable as the most professional version of yourself.
CVs are known for being longer than their counterpart, the resume. However, that should not be considered an invitation to write a novel on the merits of your academic and work experience. It is imperative that only the information that is most relevant to the position one is seeking is included.
When a potential employer is given a CV that is multiple pages long they may lose interest after the first or second page. If the truly important information is located on one of the last pages, it will never be seen. The classic advice remains that a resume should be one page and a CV no more than three pages. If your academic and work experience would exceed this, pair it down to only the highlights.
There are many reasons you may not obtain the position for which you have applied. You might not have the experience or qualifications or you may simply not be a good fit for the company culture. However, you can only be disqualified for one of those reasons if the employer is willing to actually read your CV and give you a chance. Give yourself the best chance to get a job that you'll enjoy and are qualified for!