Our partners at Welltodo Search have written this guide with a view to sharing their insights into what makes a CV get noticed and stand out.
We recognise that finding your next role can be a real challenge with lots of hoops to jump through. One of the biggest challenges is just getting noticed in the first place. Many of us feel that if we just had the chance to speak with someone from the hiring company, we could showcase our skills, but our CV often stops us getting this opportunity.
In this guide we detail the key factors that influence a hiring manager when screening a CV. Detailed below are the key areas which we believe are critical when hoping to get your CV noticed.
When reviewing a CV, the key components a hiring manager will look for are:-
- Layout – is it clear to read?
- Career history – has the candidate held similar roles, within similar companies?
- Do they have any unexplained gaps in their CV?
- Do they demonstrate loyalty to a company?
- Does their CV show progression and promotion?
- Are there any moves that don’t make sense?
The layout of your CV is a crucial factor when applying for jobs and trying to get noticed. On average a hiring manager will spend between 5-10 seconds skim reading your CV to decide whether you could be a relevant candidate for the role.
Therefore, the format and layout are critical factor to ensure that the key skills, roles and background jump out.
General Top Tips
- Use bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs to list your skills, achievements and responsibilities.
- Avoid logos, colours and gimmicky CVs. Keep colours, design and creativity for a portfolio rather than your CV.
- Keep your CV to 2 pages ideally, a maximum of 3.
- Highlight in bold Job title, company, location, dates
- Make sure your personal details are at the top, easy to read and clear. So many people forget to include their email and phone number. The hiring manager won’t be able to contact you without this.
- Have a clear personal profile at the top of your CV, this should be no more than one paragraph and specific to the role you are applying for.
- Explain as gaps in your CV briefly and if possible summarise any reasons for leaving roles e.g.: made redundant.
List each of your previous roles, including:-
- Job Title
- Dates of employment from and to
- Number of direct reports
- Bullet main achievement’s
- Bullet main responsibilities
Writing a personal profile
Your personal profile should be specific to the job role you are applying for. It is good to have a template profile that you use, but for each CV sent you should tailor this to the role. Think about the skills and experience the job role requires, then gear your profile to demonstrate how you have a track record of delivering these. Try to use some of the key words that role is seeking without being so obvious that it looks as though you have copied.
Explaining your job moves & gaps
It is really important that if you have any gaps in your CV that you address these, equally if you have moved jobs regularly that you explain these too.
If you have any gaps you can detail in the relevant place for example
“2010-2011 – Travelled Australia and South East Asia”
“2010 – 2011 – Took 6 months out to care for sick relative”
It is better to address any gaps in your CV so that the hiring manager can understand your journey, rather than make any negative assumptions.
Moving from job to job
If you have moved jobs quite quickly or had a period of having a quick succession of jobs then you should address this.
Give reasons for leaving e.g.: contract or interim role
It is better to give a short reason as to why you have moved to stop the hiring manager from ruling you out unfairly.
Skills & transferable skills
For you to be considered for a role, the hiring manager wants to see that you have the relevant skills or transferable skills if you are from out of industry.
Think about how you list your skills, experience and outcomes for each position. Is it relevant to the role you are applying for and how can you summarise this in the least amount of words to make an impact?