Your CV is usually aimed at time-impoverished professionals, thus it’s no surprise that research conducted by Ladders found that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds actively looking at CV’s during the initial shortlisting phase.
It took you more time to read this article’s introduction than a recruiter will actively spend examining your CV.
Thus, it’s up to you to make it easy for them to conclude that you are a strong candidate and want to take a closer look at your CV. Here are 8 things you should probably avoid doing to make your 6 seconds meaningful.
1. Not proofreading
Go through your CV carefully and thoroughly. After you have finished, get a friend, family member or colleague to do the same. Check for spelling mistakes, inconsistent or erroneous information, and grammatical errors as these easily put off recruiters.
2. Not having Sections & Headings
Psychology recognizes a process called chunking. Chunking is a term referring to the process of taking individual pieces of information (chunks) and grouping them into larger units. Chunking allows people to take smaller bits of information and combine them into more meaningful, and therefore more memorable, wholes.
By ‘chunking’ the information on your CV and using Section Heads such as;
- Personal Profile
- Work Experience
- Memberships & Associations
- Interests & Hobbies
You give the recruiter a clear road-map of where all your information is and actually make it easier for them to remember you and your information.
3. Using Chronological or worse off No order
The recruiter might appreciate abstract art but probably not on your CV. Present your information in a logical and orderly fashion. Make sure to include dates (months and years) related to your various information.
Most recruiters prefer the use of a “reverse chronological” format. Basically, your most recent experiences (work and education) should come first, with the later experiences coming further along in the document. This, more often than not, works in your favour as your most significant qualifications are usually the latest, and they will be the first to catch a recruiters eye.
You might also choose to be brief about your earlier experiences so you can describe your more recent roles in greater detail.
4. Assuming your CV is a thesis
According to Reed, the most effective CVs aren’t just informative, they’re also concise. Try and get straight to the most pertinent points, and ideally take up no more than three pages (this is subject to experiences). Don’t put your life story on your CV. Every single sentence there should play a part in your possible recruitment. If it does not, chuck it!
5. Having the wrong font
Choose a professional font. This ensures that your CV can be easily read and simply scanned. A few recommended fonts are;
- Times New Roman
Comic Sans is not your friend.
6. Having a picture on your CV
Having pictures on CV’s is a great source of contention in the HR community, I say don’t do it, unless it is required or VERY PROFESSIONAL. The recruiter will probably spend 3 of your 6 seconds looking at your picture instead of your educational background. I once handed someone a CV with a picture and they looked at it and said “ooooohh who is this Slay Queen!’, not that being a ‘slay queen’ is a bad thing. It however, changes the narrative from who is this qualified professional, which is what you want your CV to say.
Selfies are not meant for the CV.
7. Including information that might discriminate against you
Unfortunately, recruiters are people too. Your age, tribe, marital status, religion, and sex may serve to disadvantage you. Stereotypes are constantly at work, you might have the best educational backing and work experience but the fact that you are single may deem you as ‘playful’ or married as ‘unable to fully commit to the job’. Unless this information is specifically requested, don’t include it. To reiterate
Every single word on your CV should play a part in your possible recruitment. If it does not, chuck it!
Let them find out if you’re male or female when they call you in for an interview. Noted that this is easier to do if your name is Musonda as opposed to Mary.
Don’t lie about your qualifications or work experience, it’s almost comical how small the world is. The truth shall prevail and the lies will only serve to make you unemployable. Also, try to avoid hype and generalities.
It’s AMAZING how many CV writers are born leaders and strategic thinkers with excellent communications skills!
If you found this helpful, you might also want to read these other articles