Submitting your CV is a requirement for over 90% of job applications. This means that if you want to secure a job interview, you will most probably need a CV – and a high-quality CV at that.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A HIGH-QUALITY CV?
It needs to be visually attractive – think about it, with an average of 250 CVs submitted for every typical job, you are going to have to stand out from the crowd.
Unfortunately, most CVs are distinctly average and look bland, boring and dull. What would this type of CV say about you to a recruiter?
Some schools of thought out there suggest that content is more important than the appearance of a CV, but is this really true? It goes without saying that content is important, but what may be just as important is getting a recruiter to read your CV in the first place.
Did you know for example that most recruiters only look at a CV for 7 seconds before deciding whether or not they are going to read it? This is not a long time, so first impressions really matter.
The first thing that a great CV must do is to cry out ‘hey, look at me’. If you ask any recruiter, they will tell you that they rejoice when they come across a great looking CV that shows some originality. This is because they are sifting through 1000s of CVs a week; an activity that can become extremely tedious when CV after CV is just like the one before.
When you have a CV that is striking (for the right reasons!), you can be sure that the recruiter is going to take time to take a look. With an amazing looking CV, they are probably even going to look at it for more than 7 seconds! Without an impressive appearance, there is a real danger that your CV will get overlooked in the pile – so even if you were the best candidate for the job, there is a risk that the recruiter will never know this.
CLEAR DEMONSTRATION OF YOUR JOB SUITABILITY
Great – so you have the recruiter's attention with your stunning looking CV and they are scanning through it to see if it ‘ticks the boxes’ for the job role in question. In order to pass the 7 second test and get them to read your CV in more detail, the following things need to jump out at the reader:
Your key areas of expertise
Main skills & knowledge
Easy to understand career chronology
Qualifications and training
More than this though, these areas all need to be RELEVANT for the job in question. Let me explain why in the next section.
PROVIDING RELEVANT EVIDENCE FOR THE JOB YOU ARE APPLYING FOR
The final requirement for a high-quality CV is content that provides specific evidence of your ability and suitability for the role you are applying for.
Think about it - you could have brilliant examples of creative writing on your CV but what use would this be for a financial role? This tells a recruiter nothing about your suitability for this type of job. Instead, they will be looking for things such as numerical skills, analytical ability, attention to detail and other qualities that are needed to succeed in a financial role.
This is why it is so important that content is aligned to the job that you are applying for. It also needs to be specific and not vague, so avoid general statements and cringe-worthy clichés. We can all say on our CVs that we are excellent communicators or self-starters with exceptional initiative, but where is the evidence for this?
To demonstrate your suitability for a role you need to provide specific details of the experience you have with a clear link to the positive outcomes that your actions led or contributed to. For example, maybe you led crucial negotiations in your last job that generated exceptional outcomes for the company – provide the specific details of what the issue was, what you did and what you achieved. Likewise, maybe you noticed an organisational problem and proactively developed a solution that saved money or increase productivity in some way. Again, you need to show what the problem was, what you did to address it and the specific positive outcomes that resulted. If you have statistics, figures or any quantifiable data, be sure to include this.
WHERE CAN I FIND QUALITY SUPPORT TO HELP ME CREATE THE PERFECT CV?