The CV that will really get you a job interview!

Remember that the goal of a CV is to get you an interview, not the job straight away! Knowing that recruiters spend on average just 9 seconds on a CV before deciding whether you are worth being invited to an interview or not, makes the task even more challenging. First impressions do matter! Having a great strategy in place how to approach the task can save you considerable time in your job hunt. Follow these steps and you will have interviews lined up for you!

  • 1) Every line in your CV – I really mean EVERY line! – has only one purpose: to promote your skills, qualifications, achievements and strengths as best as possible. For example, don’t start with the word CURRICULUM VITAE (which literally means “the race of life”) or RESUME at the top. Everyone can see what kind of document it is. Thus, mention in your first line your name in bold letters. The ideal length of your CV should be two pages.
  • 2) Make it easy for the recruiter to contact you by providing your (correct!) address, email and phone number.
  • 3) Your personal profile statement is one of the most crucial parts of your CV. It needs to be attention grabbing. Invest considerable time in highlighting your competence (hard and soft skills, experience, motivations etc.) in an original, unique and interesting way. Look at how others are writing their profile summaries and do it better. Many career advisors say you should mention also your personal career goals in this statement. I disagree on that point, I would say that YOUR personal goals don’t add value to the company, it’s more about what goals you can achieve FOR the company. Even though, the best case would be if your personal goals would match perfectly the company’s goals too.
  • 4) If you are applying for very different jobs in different industries you must customise your CV accordingly, not just your cover letter! Always highlight those particular skills and experiences which directly relate to the job. Only doing it this way you will have a great chance to be invited for an interview. I can assure you that a good recruiter can tell the difference between a CV which is tailor made and one which is standard!
  • 5) Find out as much as possible about the job and then mention the right keywords with regard to the job ad. This is crucial because it is most likely that the first screening of your CV will be done by a computer software rather than a “human” Recruiter. If you don’t make it through the electronic scanning, forget the interview!
  • 6) Use clear headings to highlight each section: personal details, profile statement, employment history, skills, education, any other relevant details (earliest availability, travel flexibility, etc.).
  • 7) Remove everything that is irrelevant and does not add any value to the relative job. Your reasons for leaving previous jobs, your references, your salary expectation, your job responsibilities which go back decades and hobbies that are not adding any real value to the potential job should be discussed during the interview and not be mentioned in your CV. As I said earlier, use every line to sell yourself and tell the company what BENEFIT you can add to the company with your skills and experiences.
  • 8) In order to really impress a possible employer it is not sufficient to just list your past job responsibilities (it doesn’t reveal anything about your real performance) but to mention your key achievements. They can speak volumes! Make sure you stick to the true facts and don’t inflate the figures. If possible quantify your results. For example, “Increased the number of clients to 23 % within a year”, or “Reduced the number of complaints from 26% to 9 % from the previous year”. Whatever you achieved so far, don’t hold back and mention it! Remember we are living in a fast-paced, competitive and results-driven corporate world.
  • 9) Many CVs get rejected based on the fact that they have grammar or/and spelling mistakes. Re-read your CV and don’t just rely on your computer software to spot potential mistakes. Make sure that your resume is absolutely error-free. There is no harm in asking also family members to give you some feedback. They might spot mistakes that you simply didn’t notice.
  • My last top tip for you is this one: Mention your social media presence on several networking websites! Many recruiters do check on their candidates’ digital presence, sometimes before inviting a candidate for an interview and - even more often - before offering the job to someone. But do it only if you are 100 % confident that the content you published online so far (comments, pictures, videos, etc.) is impeccable and that makes you look like a knowledgeable, competent professional and a decent person. Use this as your additional promotional tool – your secret weapon - which many other job applicants might not think of! 
Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.