How to write a CV that makes a great first impression
Did you know that the average time the hiring manager takes over reading a CV is about 20-30 seconds? With so little time being spent you can understand how important it is to make a great first impression. Your CV has to have the ‘X-Factor’ if you want to stand a chance of getting an interview.
Although the initial stage may be a quick read from the hiring manager, they are more likely to put you on the ‘yes’ pile for a more in-depth read at a later date if you can make the right impression.
We’re here to let you into a few secrets on how to make your CV stand out from the competition and provide that all important great first impression…
Create an eye catching header
The first detail the hiring manager should stumble across is your main header that has your contact information. Consider having your name right at the very top and centred in bold. The font should be larger than the rest of your CV so it stands out nicely at the top.
Your CV or résumé is essentially a ‘sales pack’ which showcases your talents. Having your ‘brand name’ at the top creates a great first impression and makes it easier for the hiring manager to remember you.
The rest of your contact details – telephone number and email address – should go just beneath your name in a smaller font so as not to overshadow your ‘brand name’.
Include a personal statement
The inclusion of a personal statement can increase your chances of getting an interview. It adds a nice personal touch to a somewhat formal document, and can provide a fantastic introduction to your CV.
- With a few short sentences your personal statement should:
- Explain why you are applying
- Give a brief overview of who you are
- Provide a reason as to why you are the right person for the job (include main qualifications, experience and/or skills if necessary)
If the HR manager is only going to spend a few seconds reading your CV it would make sense to briefly show them you have what they are looking for. In some instances you will find that the employer doesn’t even read much further than the personal statement if they can quickly see you have the skills and qualifications they require. You could already be short listed for a further read later.
Highlight your outstanding achievements
The hiring manager isn’t just looking for an applicant that provides all the relevant skills. They are also looking for someone who can demonstrate their performance and prove to the employer that they can backup any claims.
Most applications are able to showcase lots of relevant skills, qualifications and experience; but what most fail to do is to provide the evidence that they can apply these aspects efficiently in a working environment.
Make sure you highlight your outstanding achievements so they can clearly be read by the HR manager. Don’t hide or fail to include the best parts of your career so far, and provide a clear indication to the employer that you have what it takes to perform to a high standard in their available position.
For a more in-depth guide, please read our article called – How to create the perfect employment history section for your CV.
Make it relevant – tailor your CV
The biggest mistake a job seeker makes when writing a CV or résumé is to put down their entire life story. An employer is not interested in everything you’ve ever achieved, and instead wants to see that you have the right skills.
Rather than write just the one CV that you keep for years and update from time to time, consider writing a brand new one every time you apply. Make it focused towards the requirements of the job description, and also take note of the company you are applying too.
You need to find out what makes the company tick so you are better prepared to write a CV that gives them what they want. Research the company’s website and their social media pages to have a better insight into how they function.
To make a great first impression with your CV you should personalise it to the role and the company. The hiring manager will be instantly impressed with how much care you’ve taken to read their advert and to acknowledge and understand their needs and that of the customers.
For more information on why you shouldn’t write a generic CV and how to customise your application, please read – How to tailor your CV to the role.