Making your CV stand out from the crowd in order to secure that first interview can be difficult. How do you ensure you are noticed? Susie Timlin, Global Director of People & Culture – Hays Talent Solutions, offers advice on how you can achieve this.
In a competitive recruitment process other candidates may be more qualified than you on paper, which is why it is important to understand that the direct purpose of your CV is to secure an interview and not the job. Hays as a business receives over eight millions CVs a year, with an average of 250 per role, so standing out on paper is essential. That means at this stage of the process, getting a foot in the door needs to be the main focus of your CV.
Susie offers six pieces of advice to put you ahead of the pack.
“A concise personal statement directly beneath your contact details provides employers with a snapshot of your key skills and work ambitions. It’s the first place an employer is likely to look, so succinctly detail your proudest achievements here.”
“Try to use adjectives that are similar to those used in the job advertisement, without replicating it word for word. If the employer prioritizes someone with “effective leadership skills” then make sure you demonstrate yours during the early part of your personal statement.”
“Remember that employers are interested in tangible evidence of your abilities, not just a list of overused adjectives. It’s not enough to just say that you’re hardworking, loyal and a good team player, you need to be able to demonstrate it with solid evidence.”
“Similarly, when listing achievements, keep in mind that what really impresses employers is data. If you can illustrate your achievements with facts and figures – how much revenue you brought to the business that year, how much the client increased their investment by and so on – then do.
“You can do so by being specific with your numbers and data. Consider the differing impact of the following two statements: 1. I consistently exceeded sales targets in my last year. 2. I exceeded sales targets in the last four quarters by x%, resulting in an overall annual increase in turnover of £x.”
“Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. Using phrases like ‘was involved in’ and ‘assisted’ implies that you were more of a bystander than an instigator – recruiters pick up on these things. Use strong action verbs and take credit where credit is due.
“A couple of caveats, however: never claim involvement in something that had nothing to do with you and don’t bad mouth former colleagues or employers – this is one of the most frequently cited reasons for candidate rejection.”
“Finally, and perhaps the most obvious but often overlooked point, is to make your CV as accessible as possible. Send the document over as a PDF so there is no chance of the hirer not being able to view it, make sure all the font is of a legible size and ensure your contact details are current and correct. Recruiters appreciate a streamlined process and will reward you favourably for it!”
Susie offers one final thought on the subject “Of the many CVs I review each week it’s those which are clear, concise and accessible which I appreciate most. Build your CV around a few key achievements which relate directly to the job advertisement and you’ve got every chance of progressing to the next stage of the process.”
For more information on this subject and more, visit Viewpoint, Hays’ career advice blog.
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2016 the Group employed 9,214 staff operating from 252 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2016:
– the Group reported net fees of £810.3 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £181 million;
– the Group placed around 67,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 220,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 22% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 45% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 33% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;