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Six Tips for the Six-Second CV

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​You’ve got just six seconds to make an impact.

That’s it. Six.

Your CV has to grab a recruiter, shake them by the collar and shout, ‘It’s ME you want!’.

So how do you compile all your experience in a way that makes that lasting first impression? And, more importantly, gets you an interview? We’ve read enough CVs to know what works and what doesn’t, so here are six ways to get your foot in the door…

1. Make a statement

Think of your CV as a sales pitch. Write a relevant and attention-grabbing personal statement. They don’t want your life story, so make it snappy and use a few explicit and well-placed keywords about your knowledge, experience and successes.

Try not to use clichés such as ‘excellent communicator’ and ‘team-player’.

Shape your personal brand and highlight the difference between you and other candidates.

2. Blow your own trumpet

It can be tempting to list the duties from your previous positions, but this practice can leave your CV looking like a job description. Active language helps you sound like a doer instead of a mere participant. So, state ACTION and OUTCOME:

e.g. 'I allowed for increased efficiency in planning requirements by designing and implementing a monitoring spreadsheet in Excel‘I allowed for increased efficiency in planning requirements by designing and implementing a monitoring spreadsheet in Excel’ 

This isn’t the place for modesty, so sing about your successes. And, if a point doesn’t further or promote your suitability for the job, leave it out. 

3. Sort out your layout

Just as the first bite of food is with the eye, a recruiter’s first impression of your CV will be in how it looks at a glance. Don’t put them off before they’ve had a chance to read about how amazing you are:

  • Make it clear and accessible. 

  • Stick to easy-to-scan bullet points and avoid justifying the text. 

  • Ensure that formatting is consistent and allows your experience and desired skills to stand out. 

4. Tailor it

Your CV isn’t one-size-fits-all. Adjust your personal statement for each application. Use the job description to your advantage and align each of the necessary requirements (found in the *essential and *desired but not essential sections of the job description) with your own skills and experience.

By using your CV to describe the employer’s ideal candidate, you can’t really go wrong.

5. Chek yur speling n grammer

Don’t forget to do this before sending off your CV. Having another person check after you helps find missed mistakes once you’ve become draft-blind. Employers will be looking for a reason to whittle down CVs: spelling errors give them the perfect opportunity to throw yours in the bin.

6. Revise and refresh

Regularly update your CV to add new experience. Sending out an old CV looks unprofessional and generalised. An up-to-date CV shows care and the desire to succeed.

Once you’ve crafted the perfect CV, why not send it our way? Drop your CV off here to be considered for our vacancies.