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The science of a good CV...

Posted by
15 Jul 2014

Applying for jobs and never hearing back?

I recently read a report that used eye tracking technology to review decisions made by recruiters during the initial CV stage of an application process over a ten week period. I thought the report highlighted useful information for a job seeker to have when updating their CV or LinkedIn profile...

  • On average, a recruiter will spend 6 seconds on the initial 'fit/no fit' review of a CV
  • 80% of this time is taken up viewing the candidate name, current title/company, previous title/company, start and end dates, and education
  • The rest of the time is used by looking for key words that match the role.

Surprised? From a recruiters point of view, if you were recruiting ten positions and you received ten applications for each role, that's 100 CVs and covering letters waiting in your inbox first thing in the morning. If you spent five minutes on each CV, it would take over eight hours to review.

My recommendations to make sure your CV catches someone's attention:

  • Make every second count; make sure your CV is easy to read and flows well, with bullet points and headings
  • Don't use visually distracting items such as pictures, borders and different fonts/colours - pictures take up 19% of the review time, and can ultimately contravene equality and diversity laws
  • Make sure key information is displayed; dates of employment, education results etc.
  • Don't waste space on your CV with irrelevant information - you should have multiple CVs or change the CV for each application; for example, f you are a property solicitor specialising within commercial and residential matters, you should apply for a residential role with a residential focused CV and visa versa
  • Using key words/information from the advert and job description will instantly add weight to you application; for example, a CV that states a candidate has experience in a high volume role that is applied to an advert stating the role is high volume, will draw more attention than one that does not.

For further CV advice, please click here to visit our candidate resources.

A CV that is easy to read and flows is 60% more likely to make it past the first stage. If you would like any help or advice, please contact one of the team who would be happy to advise or assist rewriting your CV or discussing your current career situation. You can contact me or my colleagues on 0113 2439775.

Tagged In: CV, Employment, Legal, Recruitment
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