This week, I want to look at something even more fundamental to enhancing your chances of getting an interview – namely, how you present your CV.
Present your CV: Style versus Substance
There are two schools of thought regarding the presentation of a CV. One is that content is king, and so long as you mention the pertinent points in roughly the right order, then you’ll be ok.
The other is a more anally retentive school of thought (and one I personally subscribe to) in that presentation counts for everything, and without focusing on the details then you’re potentially harming your chances, regardless of how good the content is.
My personal view is that even if you’ve given your CV an extra bit of aesthetic polish, this only adds a few percent to the overall impact on a recruiter and that’s a few percent that you previously hadn’t got. Every facet where you can add a few percent here and there quickly adds up to create a very compelling CV.
Present your CV: Getting off to a bad start
As a recruiter we see some truly awful CVs. Poorly presented, badly spaced and structured documents with awful font selection, that can be painful to read. They can be so poor that it will actually put the person off reading any content, and whether that’s fair or not, it’s a subconscious action and it happens.
It’s almost like the individuals don’t look (and I mean properly look) at their CV, and put themselves in the position of the person reading their document. They’ve created a document that doesn’t ‘sell’ them at all and actually works against them.
There are a number of excellent CV templates available (and quite a few on MS word) so there really isn’t an excuse for a poorly presented document. All you need to do is download the template and substitute your details in it.
I’m a big believer in minimising risk wherever possible. CV presentation is one very obvious (yet regularly missed) area where you really can maximise your chances of getting an interview.
Present your CV: It’s all in the detail
Presentation isn’t just about layout either. Other things you must consider are the legibility of the fonts you’re using (stick to clear, easily read fonts and not script fonts such as Bradley Hand ITC), and make sure that the ones you use are web-safe fonts.
This is vitally important – some fonts that are on your computer might not be visible on someone else’s, which means that your CV will not be able to be read. Use the web-safe fontlist to make sure that your CV doesn’t fall foul of this.
Also consider the appropriate use of bold and coloured text. Don’t overdo it. Make sure there’s a nice balance to the document that looks pleasing to the eye.
Once you’ve done that, ensure that your CV is well spaced, you use bullet points where it feels right and finally, do a spell and grammar check on it. There’s nothing worse than seeing a CV littered with spelling mistakes.
Or if you want to download our complete pdf eGuide on CV Writing Tips, click here.