How to prevent your CV being thrown straight into the bin
James, October 2, 2013
You have carefully composed your CV, with much thought and deliberation.
Now you are about to send it off or email it to a prospective employer, in the hope of landing that job you want so much.
But how do you know that they'll consider it, or even read it? It's best to think about all the things that might happen to it along the way, in the hope that they never do.
A check list is a good idea. It's all too easy to leave out vital information while you are working on the bigger picture. Your name obviously needs to be in there, together with address, phone number, and email address. Focus on educational achievements and job experience, too.
Good grammar and accurate spelling are both essential. Not everyone finds this easy, but your computer can correct text for you. Lack of these skills is a major source of dissatisfaction among employers, so if your CV is lacking in this respect, they are unlikely to add another such person to their staff.
Don't make it too long. Jobs are precious today, and the number of applicants will reflect this. If you give recruiters too much to digest, they won't read it at all. Keep the information to the point. To be faced with piles of CVs is quite daunting, so make it simpler for them, and yours stands a better chance of ending up on the right pile.
Lay out your work clearly, in short, well spaced sections or paragraphs. Bullet points and subheadings break it up nicely, making it easy to read, so that relevant detail can be quickly picked out. Tailor the content to what is appropriate for the post, to convince them that you are a contender.
The same simple font should be used on the CV and on its covering letter. Start the letter with a name rather than Dear Madam, etc., and state the exact job title. Don't send a hand written application unless you want to give them an excuse to eliminate it straightaway.
Check the job description for what is required, to make sure that you have the desired skills and experience. It's good to appear confident, but it is pointless to pretend that you can do something if you can't.
There is nothing wrong with letting a little of yourself shine through. A few personal comments, perhaps even with some humour, can place you in the minds of the recruiters as an individual. If they like what they read of you, they may be more inclined to get to know you better at an interview. It also gives them some idea of whether or not you will fit in with their organisation.
Submit your CV in plenty of time. If you are late with this, it gives a pointer to your timekeeping generally.
Lastly, be aware that some employers use the recruiting process as an opportunity to fill vacancies other than the one advertised, or to keep a list of suitable names on file. So it is always worth a try if it's a company you want to join, even if you're not positive you will succeed at first.