CV Writing - Make an impact in 20 seconds

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Your CV has about 20 seconds to make an impact. It’s important to make the most out of this short window of opportunity.

Failure to do so will mean your CV ends up in the bin. Here are some CV writing tips to ensure your CV creates an instant impact.

Avoid bland professional summaries

Bland professional summaries waste valuable space. More importantly, bland professional summaries can turn the reader off your CV. Offer clear evidence to highlight how you’ll add value in the role targeted, clearly telling the reader why they should interview you. Communicate this information in five short bullet points, as this will make it easier to read and digest.

Excite the reader with impactful content

Avoid long lists of job responsibilities. Instead, tell your story in terms of delivery. Highlight how you’ve added value in previous roles, providing clear evidence of your results and achievements.

Get your message across in fewer words

You must deliver your message in the least words possible. Create concise impactful statements, with bullet points to make content easier to digest. You should use action verbs to help the content read with more energy. Remember, no statement should be longer than two lines.

Position relevant information on the first page

The reverse chronological rule can be an issue, especially if the work experience you need to highlight is earlier in your career. The heading “Relevant Work Experience” can help you navigate this issue, allowing you to position important work experience on the first page of your CV.

Let your CV to breath

Don’t shrink font size to pack more information onto the first page of your CV. This is cheating!! Similar applies to cutting white space. A cluttered first page is a turn off. It makes it more difficult for the reader to access important information, achievements and results.

Don’t make it easy for the hiring manager to bin your CV

Hiring managers are looking for reasons to bin CVs. Remember, they can’t interview every applicant. Don’t make it easy for the hiring manager to bin your CV. For example, don’t list qualifications on the first page of your CV when you don’t meet the minimum requirements.


Paul Mullan is founder of Measurability, a leading career and outplacement consultancy. for more info about our outplacement, CV and interview coaching services.