The CV is a means to an end. It should be viewed as a paper gateway to the most important part of any recruitment process - the interview.
To understand the best approach to writing a CV, you should think more broadly about the process of applying for jobs.
The candidate/potential future employee is selling their labour services.
The employer/potential future employer is buying labour services.
The CV is therefore a sales document, a sales pitch selling the product - your labour services.
The CV needs to clearly set out your labour services and should offer the right features and benefits to fit the particular role you are applying for.
For the last ten years and currently, in most cases, it is a buyer’s market for labour.
What this means is employers tend to enjoy a good level of applications when recruiting for new staff in most categories of professions.
The implications of this situation for the candidate is their CV needs to be focussed, targeted and accessible to the decision maker in terms of being placed on the ‘yes’ list to attend an interview.
Understand the reality of the recruitment process. A recruiter who receives anything more than 20 applicants for one particular role (and in the current market it can be 40, 60, 100) will often engage in a swift process of separating the applicants into two lists. List one – instant reject. List two – A creation of a long list which means the CVs will be scrutinised further.
The second list – the long one – is then scrutinised further to create the final shortlist for interview which can be as limited as three candidates for one particular role to anything up to ten.
To ensure your application/CV makes it to the final shortlist of candidates for interview, it is important to understand how the recruiter will assess the CVs to separate out candidates into rejections, long list and then shortlisted candidates.
The recruiter will assess your CV against the key competencies and work experience types required in the role applied for.
They will, in simple terms have a list of approximately three to ten key competencies and three to ten sets of work experience types required, and then scan each CV ticking off the list. There will be a base line score which will be dependent on each particular role and will move dependant on the quality of the CVs submitted. Essentially the recruiter will in rough terms assess what the average scores are and put forward for the next phase those CVs which surpass the average.
Given the process set out above, to ensure your CV is chosen for the long list and then shortlist, the approach you must take is to mirror the key competencies and experience types required in the specific job you have applied for. Furthermore, you must complete the process of mirroring the criteria by displaying them all of the first page of your CV, and if you are able to, the first third of the first page.
The rationale is straightforward. You must make it easy on the recruiter to identify the match.
By taking this approach you are also sending the message to the recruiter that you understand what competencies and experience types are required by virtue of your presentation of your CV which will raise your profile as a candidate insomuch as you will be stand out as a more sophisticated applicant.