10 seconds to wow!



10 seconds to wow!

First impressions count, especially with a CV, especially in the highly competitive contact centre market. When your CV is in front of a hiring manager or recruiter, it will typically get between 10 and 30 seconds of ‘air time’ to impress, so don’t let your CV fall at the first hurdle.

Contact Details - A Ridiculous Email Address & No Home Address
It may be amusing to use a ‘funny’ email address, but it can really let you down, invest in a professional address and one that can’t be easily mis-spelt.

It takes 5 minutes to set up a ‘professional sounding’ email address via Hotmail, Yahoo, Google or any of the other free email providers.

Ensure you include your full home address on your CV, without this the recruiter doesn’t know where you are looking for work and can’t register you on their systems, your CV will also enter the abyss as without a postcode to search on your CV will be hard to find again....

Spelling & Grammar

No real excuses for this, but it’s amazing the amount of CVs that come through littered with spelling mistakes and poor grammar. Remember that this is a document that represents you and mistakes will reflect incredibly badly.

Check and check your CV once again. Use a spell checker and also paste it into a word document and then paste into an email, any mistakes should be identified by a spell checker, but some words could be deemed as correct but still spelt wrong, in the wrong context – EG: Your and You’re

One great way to check your CV is to sit down and read it out loud. This will flag up any sections that may be too long or may need more punctuation.

A Candidate Picture & Document Formats
This may be something that is acceptable on the continent and lots of Europass CVs include photos, but including a headshot on your CV in the UK will probably just get your CV one step closer to the ‘no’ pile.

Unless the line of work requires that you have the right image for the role, i.e. acting or modelling, then there is absolutely no reason to include a photo of yourself.  A candidate will be judged on their ability to do the job based on their skill, work history and education not because they have a nice smile.

You should also stick to a word format for the CV and not a PDF or a ZIP file, etc. Recruiters are not able to use PDFs as all CVs submitted to clients have to be re-formatted with contact details removed. A border line PDF CV will more than likely hit the reject pile as it’s too time consuming for a recruiter to re-format.

Inaccurate Dates
You must ensure that when you list your jobs that you have accurate start and finish dates; usually stipulating the month and year will be sufficient. A CV without this information will be rejected because the recruiter will simply think you are trying to hide something.

It’s also important that if you have a gap on your CV that you explain it – for example “went travelling” or “took a career break” or “caring for relatives” etc... Gaps always create questions and its much better to answer the questions on the CV than create doubt in the minds of the recruiter or hiring manager.

There is nothing worse than seeing a CV on screen or paper and spending ages trying to decipher where each section starts and ends. Poor formatting won’t just turn off the recruiter it could also put a candidate at a real disadvantage when it comes to job boards. Some job boards will struggle to correctly display a poorly formatted CV at all.

You need to clearly identify each job including dates and company worked for. Under each role you need to provide bullet points under ‘Key responsibilities’ and then another bullet pointed section under ‘Key Achievements’

Also use easy to read and professional fonts such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Ariel and no smaller than size 10 and no bigger than 11.

How much detail to include?
There are differing opinions on how long a CV should be; some say two, some say no longer than three pages. Most companies who are recruiting will only be interested in the last 5 to 10 years of your career, and obviously the most recent couple of positions will probably be the reason that you have got the interview in the first place.

Stick to the key facts, but ensure you give context of the type of company you work for, especially if it’s not well known as the recruiter may not realise what industry you are working in and this could be key in identifying the right candidate for the right job. Also provide context around the size and scale of the organisation and most importantly around the size of the team you manage or are involved with.

Misleading Information
Make sure everything you state on your CV is correct and accurate. More and more businesses are now carrying out extensive background checks prior to taking somebody on board. Nearly everybody embellishes their achievements in jobs on their CV, but...

We have seen many candidates trip themselves up, with the most common misleading information being put on CVs being:

  • The inaccuracy of dates to try and cover up job hopping or unexplained gaps in employment
  • Inflated or inaccurate education achievements, including purchasing online degrees which are worthless
  • Inflated salaries
  • Exaggerated job titles
  • Exaggerated career accomplishments

Ensure that your CV is bespoke
With the advent of the online job board, applying for positions has never been so easy. This unfortunately means that a lot of people have a scatter gun approach to job applications, firing off the same CV over and over regardless of what the role entails.

But gone are the days when it’s deemed acceptable to use a single CV to apply for all the job opportunities out there. And although it may be time consuming, writing a bespoke CV for a particular job application will get you noticed above those that simply spam their CV at all and sundry.

Similarly many candidates don’t change their cover letters and so often send letters that are about completely different jobs, this will really put a recruiter off and its likely to put you straight into the ‘no pile’. Attention to detail is KEY and if you can demonstrate via your CV and covering letter how ideally your experience and skills match a specific position, you will have a much better chance of clinching that job interview against the competition.CV