If you are going to be successful in the job market it is vital that you get invited for interview. In the vast majority of cases what you write on your CV or in some cases an application form determines whether you get to the next stage or end up in the trash.
Most people don’t write a CV that often. As a result they never get really competent at. It is also sometimes really challenging writing about yourself. Chances are you don’t want to come across as a know it all.
On the other hand if you can’t present you well, who can?
Having reviewed hundreds of CVs I can honestly say that in general the standard is generally mediocre and in some cases just poor – even among people who are very experienced and senior.
Here are some ways in which you potentially make it really easy for recruiters to reject you.
Typing Before Thinking
Microsoft Word is great. It is easy to open up and start typing without thinking about structure, what to include and what not to include.
Spending a little time planning will give you a head start on most people.
Write A Limp Professional Profile
This is the first thing a recruiter sees. What it says or does not say can be the difference between a resounding yes to interview and an outright rejection.
What it needs to cover in 5 or 6 sentences is; demonstrate your track record, highlight what you have to offer, highlight what you have achieved and your best attributes so that the recruiter says we have to see this person.
All Dos In Your Career History
There is a right and wrong way to present your career history.
The wrong way is to use what I call the Edit Copy Edit Paste Approach. What I mean is that you take your job description and copy all of your responsibilities on to the CV.
The right way is to summarise your responsibilities and focus on your achievements. This is what sets you apart from everyone else.
Writing Passively About Achievements
You don’t want to be seen as pushy so you use limp or passive language when talking about achievements.
Get confident in writing in positive language. Recruiters love words like improved, enhanced, reduced, increased, eliminated when reading about achievements. It gives them the sense that you are the type of person they want to have in their organisation.
Not Being Specific When Talking About Achievements
It can sometimes be challenging to provide hard numbers when describing achievements. At the same time the more you can quantify the better.
Sometimes this will require a bit of creative thinking. Take reducing sickness or reducing processing time as examples. It might be hard to put an exact number on this but you can probably arrive at a good estimate with a bit of thought.
The Bottom Line: While you don’t have total control over whether your CV is rejected or not, there is a lot you can do to increase the chances of getting invited for interview.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants to achieve more career success. Learn more here.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.