Hiring managers field dozens, sometimes hundreds, of applications for open positions. As a prospective candidate you want to increase your chances of being shortlisted. While we would like to think that our exemplary qualifications and experience speak for themselves, and would make us a shoe-in for the job, if the recruiter is turned off at first glance, you won’t stand a chance. Time is of the essence. You have just 5-7 seconds to make an impression. Your CV could end up in the wastepaper basket without even being read.
Here is a list of 6 things you can do to increase your chances of making it past that first initial glance and to the shortlist.
- Do try to make your CV no longer than 2 pages if you can help it. Remember your CV is not an autobiography and you need to be precise and concise. Wordy, longwinded CVs are daunting, waste recruiters’ time and are a definite turn-off. For example, do not waste time and space stating the obvious or the unnecessary by including mundane tasks which are not central to the role.
- Do use a professionally designed resume template. Presentation is important and many are designed to cater to different types of industry professionals and formatted to maximise the content. If your resume looks good a recruiter is more interested in reading it.
- Do make sure it is easily readable and scannable. Time is of the essence when a hirer is faced with reviewing two hundred resumes. Ways you can do this are to align the content to the left to make it skimmable; make strategic use of bold, capitals and italics (but do not overuse), this makes important information easier to find.
- Do use key words from the job description. Hirers are looking for these key words.
- Do include a summary statement at the top of your resume. Consider this your 5 second elevator pitch. This is a personal snapshot about who you are as a candidate and says what differentiates you from the rest of the crowd. It should have a personal element and may be a condensed version of the cover letter which, though often required, is not always read. Consider it your way of cutting to the chase before getting into the nitty gritty details.
- Do be meticulous about spelling and grammar. Bad spelling is a dealbreaker and a reflection of your ability to pay attention to detail, and the level of care and attention paid to crafting this important document.