You sat up late working on the perfect CV. You’ve gone over every word and honed every sentence, and now you’re ready to send it off. You can picture it in the hands of your prospective employer. She’s reading every word and marvelling at your formatting skills. She must be impressed, right?
Maybe! But then, maybe not.
Did you know that, on average, prospective employers look at each CV that comes across their desk for six seconds?
Here’s the thing – in today’s job market in New Zealand, the average office administration or executive assistant role will have 50+ applicants. No recruiter or employer has time to read every word on every application. That’s why you need to make certain yours stands out for all the right reasons.
Here are Five Tips to Make Your CV Stand Out from the Rest.
1] Make sure your CV includes what it needs to include.
For those six seconds your prospective employer has your CV in his or her hands, they will look at three areas. If they are not complete, or even worse not included, your CV will probably land on the “No Thanks” pile.
Make sure the first information on your CV is:
- Your personal contact details. That means, your home address, email and contact phone number.
- Your recent work history. Start with your most recent work position. For each role, include start and end dates, the employer’s name and a few bullet points outlining what the role entailed.
- Your education and/or qualifications. Start with the most recent qualification but only include significant ones or those that relate directly to the job. For instance, the Excel course you attended may have no relevance to a retail job, but for an office administrator’s job, it’s significant.
2] Make sure your CV matches the role you’re applying for.
You want the reader of your CV to say, “Wow! This is just the type of person we’re looking for.”
Most employers will pay greatest attention to your two most recent roles. With that in mind, take time to ensure you list the responsibilities and achievements of these positions, and ensure they are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
For instance, if the job advertisement says, “Must be proficient in MS Office,” write about the time you created an Excel database for client records, or the expertise you have in creating eye-catching PowerPoint presentations.
What this means is, you will need to slightly change your CV each time you apply for a different role. That may seem onerous, but relevance is part of the trick to ensuring your CV stands out from the rest.
3] Less is more!
Keep your CV relatively short. Three pages is a good size provided you have enough good information to fill those pages. And, if you have more than three pages worth, go onto the fourth page, but only if the information is relevant to the role.
Three pages is a good length for an employer to scan over in those magic six seconds.
A good technique is to use bullet points. This makes your CV easier to scan. A recruiter or employer is likely to be put off by too many words.
4] Formatting is important.
In the same way as you want to keep your content short and simple, so it is with your formatting.
This is especially important for office jobs such as office administrators, executive assistants or PAs. If your CV does not look good, chances are you will not get an interview.
So, keep it simple. Go for a simple but neat layout in black and white, on an A4 sheet of paper. And, choose a good looking font and stick to just that one font.
5] Read it over before you send it and then, before you send it, read it over again.
Spelling errors, cut and paste mistakes, grammatical slip-ups, they all reflect poorly on you – doubly so if you are applying for a role where written communication is important.
As a company that specialises in office support recruitment, we have seen the CVs of candidates being cast aside because of simple spelling mistakes or blatant mistakes with grammar.
So, once you’ve completed your CV, read through it again slowly and check every word. You might even consider asking someone else to give it a quick review.
There you have it, five tips to make your CV stand out from the rest. Notice that none of these tips involve gimmicks like bold colours or fancy formatting. The key is to do the basics well so that, in those six seconds of reading, your potential employer cannot help but be impressed.
Any more questions
If you have any more questions about your career path, give the team at Cavanagh Recruitment a call. Contact Us.
We are New Zealand’s leading recruitment agency for administration and executive recruitment roles because we go the extra mile to ensure that great companies and excellent candidates get to meet each other.