5 Ways To Prevent Employers From Binning Your CV

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There are hundreds of tips available about what you should and shouldn’t write on your CV. Some of the don’ts are quite obvious. Not using Times New Roman or Comic Sans as a font and the need for impeccable spelling and grammar don’t require any further explanation (though many CVs go straight into the bin for those very reasons).

Other dos and don’ts, however, are less obvious. School rule number 1 is that a CV should not be longer than one page, but these kind of ‘rules’ are actually not that strict. Also, some people are horrified by the idea of a photograph on your CV, where others think it can be a good idea if used wisely.

Put yourself in the shoes of the employer. About 200 people have applied for the role in question and you are not looking forward to spending a day going through that endless pile of CVs, let alone the covering letters. What would you do….you would start by sifting the wheat from the chaff. So we have written you a list of things you should consider when creating a CV if you want to make sure it ends up on the right pile.


1.   Profile statement

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Although it’s not considered compulsory, if you want to make a great first impression, a profile statement at the beginning of your CV is something that can’t be omitted. For too many people this can be daunting because it’s just a bit awkward to blow one’s own trumpet. Stop looking at it that way and think of that 200-high CV pile on the employer’s desk.

You generally have 15 seconds to impress before your CV becomes a winner or a binner. Use those 15 seconds wisely and explain in just a few lines who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t use hollow words such as ‘excellent communications skills’ or ‘I have a passion for…’, just because they sound good. The effect is often counterproductive. Think carefully about your actual characteristics and skills and ask others for input if you need some help.


2.   Structure and lay-out

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The most common way of structuring CVs is chronologically. It gives the potential employer a clear overview of your career and is particularly good if your career path has been consistent, progressive and within the same industry. As employers generally prefer this format you can’t really go wrong with it.

However, if your career path has been rather bumpy and you have done a fair bit of job (and industry) hopping, then a skills-based CV may be a better option. Start off with a profile statement and a brief description of your career objective, followed by your accomplishments and skills. Put the work experience and education sections nearer the end.

If you are happy to use a chronological format but you just think it looks a bit boring, consider jazzing it up a little. The good news is that you don’t need to be a graphic designer if you want to create a CV that looks professional, appealing and just cool. If you know how to use Adobe InDesign, then that’s great of course, but Word and Pages (Mac) are also pretty advanced nowadays. If you spend some time familiarising yourself with these programs, you’ll be surprised with what you can do. Try downloading some free fonts for example (don’t forget to save your document as a pdf.-file), and have good look online for inspiration. Whatever design you choose, though, always be critical and decide if it’s suitable for the company that you’re applying for.


3. Made to measure

Up until now, we’ve been talking ‘your CV’. However, every job requires a slightly different version of you. For example, some of your skills may not be so relevant for one role but can be crucial for another. Read every job description carefully and always create a tailor-made CV. Don’t be lazy and revise your CV every single time you apply, especially if you apply for different types of jobs.


4.   References

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The reference sections on CVs often only state ‘on request’. Asking former employers for references is a lot of work for recruiters and potential employers, so why not take Mahomet to the mountain? This is an excellent opportunity to let other people promote you. If done appropriately, this is the best form of advertising there is. Ask people of importance, like your former manager or a client if you’re a freelancer, to write a few positive and relevant lines about you and your work. A minimum of two testimonials is to be recommended in order to make it look convincing. It goes without saying that fake testimonials are a deadly sin.


5.   Make it keyword friendly

Using the right keywords is mostly important when you upload your CV on recruitment websites like the IT Job Board in order for recruiters to find you. Many recruitment companies search for the right candidates electronically, which means they use very advanced software systems to browse through all of those tens of thousands of resumes in the database. You have to keep this in mind when writing your CV.

If you are working in the IT industry and you are ready to send out your CV, then have a browse at our current it jobs?

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