It takes less than 30 seconds for a hiring manager to make a decision on your CV. So what could they possibly looking for in that 30 seconds? Each hiring manager is looking for different things, such as key words and proven experience. While these are important, hiring managers are also looking for a cultural fit and things that make you unique. Here are some tips to make your CV stick out when applying for jobs.
Use a clear and logical layout and font
Your CV will contain a lot of information so it’s important that the information is organised. Before the reader even has time to read the text, the look and shape of your resume is the first thing their brain will process. Having standardised margins that aren’t too narrow (for example, one inch) is the safest choice for readability. The length of your CV is also important, with short and precise content the best for entry- to mid-level professionals.
Sans serif is the preferred font for professional documents. Details like colours and pictures really all come down to the personal preference of the reader, which is impossible to guess, and the type of job you’re applying for. At the end of the day, go with what you think looks good and professional but usually less is more.
Use a summary and incorporate meaningful industry keywords
The top one-third of your resume is what the hiring manager or recruiter scans to see if they will read the rest. Besides your name, phone number and email, the top third of your resume is where you should put a powerful summary that defines who you are, what you can bring to the table and your career aim.
Use powerful, active verbs to describe your past experience, such as ‘designed’, ‘developed’, ‘produced’, ‘planned’ and ‘oversaw’ instead of repeating the same words.
Control your timeline
Your CV should be a selection of your most relevant work history, so old babysitting jobs and every place you have volunteered is taking precious space. Exclude any experience that dates further back than 10 years unless it relates to the job you are applying for. Also, leave out graduation dates to avoid having the hiring manager pass over your resume if they think you’re too old or young.
Tailor your CV to the job you're applying for
You may have come up with the perfect CV but this doesn’t mean it’s the perfect CV for the job. It may seem easier just submitting the same CV to numerous jobs, but the hiring manager can usually tell if you didn’t make an effort to tailor your CV to the position. Read the job description and highlight the points that seem important and can speak with your experience and skills. Once you know what the hiring manager is looking for, find your experience that would excite them the most.