I get a lot of questions from friends to review their cv. I always feel a little embarrassed when I tell them that I don’t actually fully read and analyse a resume. I tend to scan it for key words that will tell me whether I might have a matching vacancy or not.
When I stumbled across an online article in HR Square that referred to a study done by The Ladders, my feeling of guilt disappeared. TheLadders used eye-tracking software to study the behaviour of 30 recruiters over a 10-week period, to see how they read resumes. According their research, these recruiters spend an average of six seconds before they make the initial 'fit or no fit' decision on candidates.
6 seconds…. that is the blink of an eye. You might think that we are a lazy bunch, disrespectful of the time that you have put into writing your cv. And maybe you are right, we often don’t pay attention to the effort that you have put in. But given the large number of resumes a headhunter receives every day, it might be wiser to use that information to your advantage and give us what we are looking for. So here is what you can take away from the research and my years of going through cv’s:
· Use a clear and concise format. Ensure that your layout is well organized and has a strong visual hierarchy. A cluttered cv makes it more difficult to find information and evaluate your profile.
· Use the space between your name and your last position to highlight your skills and what you have to offer. When you are applying spontaneously, use it to indicate the type of position that you are looking for.
· Adjust your cv to the positions that you are interested in. If you are looking for a technically-oriented position, make sure that your technical skills are clearly showing. If you are focusing on a leadership position, use the summary to describe your style and your approach to people management. Highlight your achievements with data and figures.
· Start with your latest working experience. Although a chronological order, starting with your education and first jobs might appear more logical, chances are that we will never get to the experience that is truly useful.
· When you have more than 20 years of experience, it can prove to be difficult to be concise in showing what you have to offer. You can use an executive summary to highlight your USP’s and provide further detail on responsibilities in an annex.
· Review your cv carefully for spelling and grammar. For some odd reason, spelling errors tend to pop out, even with the blink of an eye.
Whether you like it or not, truth of the matter remains that we don’t read a cv from beginning to end, we scan it looking for specific information. Your resume gives us a glance of who you are and what experience you have to offer. Put this information on a platter and use your six seconds to make an impression.
If you need any assistance or if you want a review of your cv, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Through a personalized and tailor-made approach, Ingenium Executive Search aspires to assist you in attracting the right talent that matches the DNA of your company
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