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A hiring manager spends five to seven seconds when reviewing your CV. There is very little time to make a great first impression, but your CV is supposed to do just that. The CV is an essential part of the job search process.

Recruiters and hiring managers view hundreds, if not thousands, of CVs over their careers. When they evaluate your CV and decide whether or not to contact you and invite you to an interview (taking you one step closer to success), they have a trained eye.

We’ll jump right into how you can make every second count by preparing a CV that will advance you to the next step: getting an interview invitation.

How should you format your CV?

The format of your CV should be determined based on your target audience. A recruiter or hiring manager is someone who sees hundreds of CVs on a weekly basis. Their role is to identify the best candidates for a role and to shortlist them efficiently.

It is likely that they will immediately discard a CV that appears unprofessional. How should your CV be written?

1. How long is the ideal copy length?

Keep it short and simple by following the KISS formula.

It depends on your experience how long your CV should be. You should expect your first application to be closer to 1-2 pages long. You will most likely need two pages of your CV if you are applying for a position that requires at least 10 years of experience.

You do not have to include every task you have completed if you have a lot of experience. Your skills and experience should clearly and concisely demonstrate why you are the best person for the specific position you are applying for.

2. How should you layout your CV?

The following questions can help you determine if you have done a good job when it comes to the layout of your CV:

  • Is it easy to find all the relevant information?

  • What fonts, colors, and font sizes have you used consistently?

  • How well organised is the information?

Getting to the point of having a perfect CV involves considering the following five points…

  • Organise your experience chronologically – Employers are most interested in your most recent work experience. Don’t make it more difficult for them to find the information elsewhere on your CV (remember, is it all easy to find at one glance?).
  • Hirers spend less time searching for your accomplishments when you use bullet points.
  • Enough white space makes it easier for recruiters to find the information they need.
  • Use KISS – Keep text sizes simple, such as 12-14pt for titles and 11-12pt for body text. Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman are some of the best fonts for CVs.
  • Keep your CV concise and short, and make sure you include the most relevant information. Do not fill up all the space equally, however! Don’t forget to give extra space to information that is most pertinent, such as recent qualifications and experience.

Resume writing: What do you need to include?

Despite the fact that CVs can differ significantly by country, we’ve put together a list of what they all have in common:

As obvious as it may seem, people often forget to include contact information on their CVs or put it in an inaccessible place. In addition to your full name, email address and phone number, your contact information should be easily accessible.

Describe your work experience and focus on your key accomplishments rather than simply listing your responsibilities.

In your education section, put an emphasis on your most relevant educational achievements (e.g., your English major if you are applying for a writing position).

The skills section allows you to include any additional skills you have, such as communication skills, IT skills, or foreign language skills (which can be an advantage when applying for jobs in Europe).

Professional Summary

Ensure that the language you use in your summary is clear and easy to understand. Take the position of an HR manager reading through hundreds of resumes. Is it worth spending much time on a resume if you have to read the very first sentence several times before you understand it? It’s unlikely that you would.

To summarise your career, keep it short and sweet:

  • One or two sentences highlighting your greatest accomplishments

  • Describe what you can bring to the company.

3. The importance of tailoring your CV to the job description

A generic CV might leave a negative first impression, so tailor your CV specifically to the position you are applying for. How can you tailor your CV?

Make sure you read the job ad and job description 

It is sometimes easier just to click the “apply now” button rather than tailor your CV again as your CV is already uploaded to the platform. As a result, it’s extremely helpful to match your CV to the job advertisement (and job description if available, which is usually more detailed than a job ad) and its requirements. You should ensure that you tailor the skills section of your CV according to the skills outlined in the job ad.

Make sure you research the company 

If possible, align your CV to the company’s mission, vision and values (e.g. teamwork, collaboration, leadership).

4. CV proofreading

What a great job! This CV is well-structured, includes everything you need, and leaves out what isn’t relevant or important. The time has come for you to submit your CV.

You should review any piece of content before submission – once it’s out, there’s no turning back! Spelling mistakes and typos should be checked. Is there any information that is hard to understand, or does it all make sense? Afterwards, send it to a friend or colleague (or a professional colleague) and ask them to proofread it. Now that you have finished editing your CV, you are ready to send it!


Author Amie

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