Recent reports have shown that CVs are now looked at for just 8.8 seconds before being thrown onto the yes or no pile; a process likened to Tinder. Competition for entry level jobs is fierce, with average figures varying between 40 and 100 applicants per job.
Having been through the stress of job hunting myself, I know how daunting, disheartening and emotional the process of getting a job can be: feeling around in the dark unsure of the right career path, spending hours on job applications and never hearing from them, or stumbling on the first hurdle of online tests.
From my experience it is best to approach the process of job hunting in stages.
Stage one: optimising and maximising your CV
Here are 10 tips to help ensure your CV is thrown onto the right pile:
1. Double and triple check grammar and spelling
This is a common CV faux pas and by not doing this you could be thrown on the No pile without a second glance.
2. Structure it well
Make sure your CV is easy to navigate and the most important information is on the first page; this includes your contact details, relevant skills, education and qualifications.
3. Adopt a professional tone
You may think this is incredibly obvious but it can be difficult to readjust your writing style if you’re used to writing informal emails, texts and messages. Make sure you are not tossed aside because you don’t appear to be taking the job application seriously.
4. Keep it to two pages
Any more than two pages and the recruiter may throw your CV on the No pile for not being concise. Cut out any activities or work experience that don’t demonstrate the relevant skills you can offer.
5. Include an introductory paragraph
Keep it to around 50 words and explain the key skills you have that will grab their attention. Make sure it is tailored for each job and you’re demonstrating the qualities and skills they are looking for.
6. Make sure it’s relevant
Don’t list generic interests but instead link every activity to skills you have gained, reflecting how these make you ideal for the job.
7. Use the space wisely
Don’t waste space listing grades. Fitting the job description with the right qualifications is important, but you also need to highlight the ways you have gained skills that contribute to personal development; for example, volunteering, work experience, extra-curricular activities, underlining how these experiences relate to the skills and qualities they are looking for.
8. Highlight your achievements
Rather than listing responsibilities, list achievements, proving your ability to do the job and do it well.
Detail the most relevant content first so in 8 seconds they can see you have experience and skills that match the job description.
10. Keep your CV up-to-date
Even if you have a gap between jobs, make sure to highlight any volunteering, studying or activities you have participated in during that time. This will show you are proactive and always seeking to gain new skills.