Wait, you haven’t heard the catch, yet. You only have seven seconds to do so. You’re put on the spot. You’re nervous. You’re sweating. What do you say? What do you focus on? Should you start with your work experience…DING DING DING, time’s up!
Imagine if employers would actually put you through that. What a nightmare, right? Well…They already kind of do, to a certain extent. Studies have concluded that employers spend an average of seven seconds reading through a CV before making a decision on whether or not the candidate is qualified for the job. Seven seconds…Wow, talk about fast judgments. It’s basically like Tinder (dating app), but instead of focusing on your fab jawline, employers focus on your skill-line.
When it comes to the recruitment process, first impressions definitely do count. And you probably only have a few seconds to make a good one, so make it count. That’s why you should write and structure your CV in a certain way to make it stand out. It may seem like a difficult task to do. But, when you think about it, it’s not that hard, as a large number of CVs out there are considered predominantly bland and standard. Boring. You need to market yourself. It’s a game.
If you want to make a good first impression to employers, you’ll have to put your best foot forward. As they say, “the first step is half the journey.” And that’s where your CV comes in. So, we have written this blog post to give you some tips on how to strengthen your CV and ultimately make a good first expression to employers.
Here are some hacks on how to have a killer CV:
1. Start with yourself
It’s never too late to start focusing on enhancing your abilities and developing yourself. You can always learn something new. And trust me, your CV will thank you.
If you already have strong qualifications and a solid skill set, then you probably already have them listed on your CV. Don’t you? But why leave them as is? Why not make them shine even brighter? And if you don’t really have that much experience and believe that your skill set might be lacking, then now is the time to change that and step up your game.
You’ll need to focus on building and enhancing the skills and qualifications that are relevant for the job that you’re seeking. Let’s say, for example, that you’re looking to get a job in the accounting industry, you should try to get as involved as possible with anything significant in the industry. This can include volunteering to do your family’s and friends’ book keeping, joining an accounting society, or even going to accounting events where you can learn valuable insights on industry developments – something that you might be asked about during the recruitment process.
Remember, employers will want to know when, where and how you have used your skills to create value. So, you should try to put your skills to practice whenever possible. This is also why you should never lie on your CV. Keep it real. Don’t expect to have “Capacity Building” as a primary skill on your CV and not be asked about it.
2. Keep your CV clear and concise
I know, you finally got the chance to brag about yourself without feeling arrogant or pretentious. It can certainly be tempting to shove as much information as you can in your CV, with lots of business terms, in order to seem more sophisticated. But, this method can backfire, big time, and just make your CV more complex to read. Keep it short and simple, it’s not an extended essay.
Don’t get me wrong. You should definitely aim to come across as polished and professional. But don’t overdo it, because that’s when your CV loses your personal essence and character and becomes just like all the other old plain CVs out there. Your spirit should shine through your CV.
You should keep your CV organized and easy to read, as not to discourage employers from properly going through it. Remember, you’ve got 7 seconds so you should aim to have a sense of flow in your CV. And please, oh please don’t repeat anything in your CV. There is just no need for redundancy.
Also, you should keep in mind that including a bunch of irrelevant information in your CV will just make you look like you don’t get what the job responsibilities are. Avoid it. You don’t want to seem as uninformed, do you?
3. Find a job and tailor your CV to it
I don’t know if you’ve already picked up on the memo of this blog but tailoring your CV for each job you apply for is considered the golden rule of CV writing. Employers already have set skills and qualifications that they’re looking for, so you should include the ones you have that mirror the job description.
Start your CV with a solid personal summery (also known as career objective) that can brand you as right for the job, as well as grab the attention of the recruiter. At the end of the day, it does occupy the most important part of your CV, the top centre.
Your CV should reflect that you’re fit for the job. This means you should only include information that is related to the job and can be appreciated by the employer. Don’t put that you’re an expert in animal behaviour when applying to a corporate job. They don’t need to know that, and probably don’t want to know.
4. Keep your CV fresh
When was the last time you updated your CV? A month ago? Two months ago? You can’t remember?
It’s extremely important to keep updating your CV, at least once every few months, as employers always prefer and sometimes prioritize freshly updated CVs over old rusty ones. You never know when a job opportunity might appear, and it’s always best to apply within the first 48 hours of a job posting. You don’t want to delay applying because of an outdated CV, do you?
If you already have an updated CV on cdl.co.ke but want to make it fresh to employers, you can easily do that by pressing the update your profile.
5. Focus on your achievements
Okay, we get it, you had like a million responsibilities at your former job. But the question is were you good at your job? Did you deliver?
Don’t just include a long list of your job tasks you performed. Tasks are self-explanatory, for the most part, and any other person could have done them. You should illustrate how you added value to the company. And use numbers, employers love their numbers.
For example, “I was able to develop and incorporate a project management strategy that aided in cutting costs by 30%, as well as making the whole procedure considerably simpler and shorter.”
Lastly, if you’ve gone through your CV multiple times and feel like it still needs some work and you’re a bit stuck, then you can always consider seeking professional help. Thankfully cdl.co.ke offers various CV writing services that job seekers like you can take advantage of such as CV Writing Service, and CV Templates