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26th Apr 2019

Recruiters spend ten seconds scanning a CV – how to make yours stand out


According to three industry insiders, a CV is still an important part of the recruitment process.

The job market has changed considerably in recent years but experts maintain that a good CV is still the first step to getting that much-coveted position.

Aine Crilly, HR consultant for The HR Elephant, provides career mentoring and crafts professional CVs for job seekers.

CV’s are crucial to creating a good first impression, according to Aine.

“There is essentially a 10-second window for recruiters to scan CVs, therefore it is vital to make an instant impact.”

Likening a CV to a passport, Aine says a well-written CV will take you to your dream job.

“When individuals are able to demonstrate in writing on their CV – how they can purposefully think, outline their drive and identify how they add value to the business they can guarantee themselves an interview at the next stage of the hiring process.”

Aie says that 50 percent of individuals who see a job advertisement that requires a CV don’t actually apply for the role, “as the dread of drafting a CV puts them off applying.”

Aine aims to take the stress out of creating a CV. She advises keeping them short and to the point.

“Recently we are seeing more advocates of the one pager CV. Personally I prefer a two-page CV that is still short and sharp as this provides enough detail but is not overwhelming to read.”

“Always include a paragraph for your summary/personal profile, in this think strategically: what is my why? what is my purpose? what am I passionate about? what is my value? This is your opportunity to describe what you do to the world and grab their attention!”

People, particularly women, are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet all the requirements, though Aine says job requirements should be viewed more as a “wish list” by job seekers.

“When you see your dream job but stop yourself from applying because you don’t meet every single requirement, apply anyways as getting no response is the worst thing that can really happen.”

“Success is a numbers game. The more you play, the more likely you are to win.”

Norma Carr and Karyn Williams run Independent Solutions, which provides consulting and placement services to the life science industry businesses.

Norma and Karyn’s clients all require CVs as part of the hiring process.

“They remain a key part of the hiring process. Your CV should be truthful, concise and above all address the requirements of the job specification.”

Aside from a strong CV, Norma and Karyn specifically look for evidence of what they call ‘soft skills’ on a CV.

“A strong work ethic is one of the most important qualities hiring managers look for in a candidate.”

Other desirable soft skills specific to the life sciences are positivity, accountability, willingness, adaptability and being an effective communicator. Norma adds that their hiring managers may also look at the applicants Linked in profile to get an overall picture of the candidate”.

Marie Devane runs Devane Careers, a Galway-based career coaching business that advises clients all over the world.

The employment market is moving quickly at the moment according to Marie.

“I’m seeing a lot of opportunities across all sectors right now. Employees are moving from company to company where they are seeing better pay and conditions, better work-life balance or indeed better location.”

Marie views the CV as the most important document in the hunt for the perfect job.

“The objective of the CV is to get you to the interview, therefore it needs to be written in a clear and concise manner showcasing all of your important skills, experiences, qualifications and uniqueness.”

Offering up tips for job seekers Marie advises keeping CVs, “classy, elegant, clear and concise”.

“My clients are always amazed at the difference I make to their CV’s. The new classy design makes them feel proud of their background. They can then clearly see their achievements and feel much more confident about submitting their CV for prospective opportunities.”

Marie asks clients to “get into the zone” of self-marketing.

“They need to be ready before they approach any employer. They need to know their unique selling point and what they are competent in. Too many times I have experienced candidates starting the job hunting process before they are ready, and before they know it they are in front of an interview panel.”

Employers are looking for employees who will be a good “fit” for the culture and work ethic of their organisation, says Marie.

“They want to hire individuals that not only have the required experience and qualifications but also are involved in their communities, volunteering, or demonstrate that they have other interests outside of their career. So be sure to include your interests in your CV.”