7 Tips To Help You Pass The 7 Second CV Test
Learn essential tips to pass the seven-second CV test!
When you’re applying for jobs, having a stellar work history and impressive grades may not be enough to land your dream role if your CV isn’t up to scratch. You may have poured hours into crafting the perfect CV, but the reality is that employers spend just seven seconds on average deciding whether your CV stands out or goes to the reject pile.
It may sound harsh and unfair, but the truth is hiring managers often face a flood of CVs for each job opening. That’s why they’re on the lookout for resumes that grab their attention immediately and give them a good indication that you’re a potential fit at a quick glance of the info you’ve provided. This is what’s sometimes known as the “seven-second test.”
So, does your CV cut it? To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together seven practical tips to enhance your CV and increase its chances of making it to the “yes” pile.
1. Keep your CV short
While you may be tempted to dive into detailed case studies showcasing every professional achievement and triumph you’ve accomplished since high school, relevance is key. Stick to the essentials that align with the job at hand. The rule of thumb here is that your CV should span no more than two pages. Three, at a pinch. Within this limited space, you’ll need to present your work history, educational background, and any necessary personal and extracurricular details. So, choose wisely what earns a spot on your CV, ensuring every word contributes to the overall narrative of your professional journey. Quality over quantity is the name of the game in crafting an impactful and concise CV.
2. Include professional contact details
It might seem obvious to most, but you’d be surprised at how many candidates overlook the importance of maintaining a professional image in their contact details. Having an email address like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org won’t do you any favours. Similarly, if you’re showcasing an online portfolio, ensure that your website or blog URL is professional sounding and showcases you in the best light. It’s astonishing how swiftly a recruiter can be turned off by a candidate based solely on an unprofessional email address. So, choose your contact details wisely to make the right impression.
3. Tailor your CV to the job
While transferable skills matter, remember the importance of relevance. If you’re aiming for a finance role, your experience teaching English as a foreign language should not take centre stage. Concentrate on highlighting experiences that truly make a case for why you’re an excellent fit for the specific job. It’s okay to skip over a job that doesn’t add much to your professional journey, especially if you have a lot to choose from. Furthermore, under each employment listing, spotlight responsibilities and achievements that match the job description. If the employer is looking for specific knowledge or experience, make sure to emphasise it. Don’t simply recycle the same CV for every application. Tweak it to suit each job for a more personalised touch.
4. Add a stand-out personal statement
Having a concise personal statement at the beginning of your CV is essential. It’s your chance to provide a glimpse into your professional identity, showcasing your passions and interests while revealing a bit of your personality. Crafting this statement may be a bit challenging, but investing time here pays off. Keep it short—three to four sentences—and remember to tailor it specifically to the role and company. If you manage to grab a recruiter’s attention in the opening line, you’ll significantly increase your chances of them delving deeper into your CV.
5. Steer clear of a dull CV appearance
Believe it or not, the way your CV looks matters. A plain, uninteresting CV may not leave a lasting impression, especially with the array of professional and visually-appealing templates easily available online today. Choose a template that aligns with both your personality and the job you’re applying for, and personalise it accordingly. You don’t need advanced graphic design skills to achieve an attractive CV. Taking a bit of time to select a template that stands out shows your commitment to the application process and demonstrates your effort to stand out from the crowd.
6. Use an easy-to-navigate CV format
That said, don’t overdo it. Unless you’re applying for a role that requires you to showcase your creativity, such as a graphic designer, be sure that your CV is in an easy-to-read structure, with clear headings and information neatly organised with bullet points that highlight key details in a logical order. This ensures that recruiters can quickly find the details they’re looking for, making the most of the limited seconds they spend reviewing your CV. By presenting your information in an accessible way, you increase the likelihood of capturing the recruiter’s attention efficiently.
7. Check your CV for typos
While a tiny typo might not be catastrophic to your chances, why take the chance of leaving a less-than-stellar impression? Make it a point to meticulously spell-check and proofread your CV. Numerous tools, both in word processors and online checkers, can help you with this. And if spotting errors isn’t your strong suit, consider seeking assistance from a friend with an eye for detail or even hiring a professional to proofread your CV. This will ensure that you truly are putting your best foot forward.
Does your CV pass the seven-second test? Seek expert guidance from the Exacta Solutions team today.