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6 Ways to Make a Great First Impression

In today’s job market, it is getting harder to stand out. Great grades and an impressive career history won’t guarantee that you’ll secure an interview, let alone win you the job. But with recruiters and hiring managers typically looking over a CV for a mere 15 seconds, you need to find a way to grab their attention quickly and get them wanting to read more.

Here we share with you some of the most effective ways that you can ensure your CV gets noticed by those who can help you make your next career move, wherever you are in Oxfordshire.

1. Show them how great you are:

Too many applicants simply fill their CV’s with details of the responsibilities they had with each of their previous roles. This is great in terms of providing an overview of your capabilities, but they do little to sell you as a great candidate.

To do that you need to demonstrate the results of the work you did in each role and the impact this had in terms of productivity, sales generated or time or money saved. Use numbers or percentages to show how much and how many.

2. Focus on the job you are applying for:

The people reading your CV will do so quickly and they will bin any application that isn’t specific to that position. Avoid using the same CV for multiple jobs and instead tailor it to the job in hand.

Highlight the skills and experiences you have that match the key requirements of the role - you may need to spend time creating more than one CV, but if you’re serious about finding the best role it will be time well-spent.

3. Use ‘action’ words:

To show off your experiences and accomplishments use sentences with descriptive verbs – think ‘achieved’, ‘developed’, ‘planned’, ‘established’, ‘supported’…the list goes on. Using short impact sentences that demonstrate what you have done will get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers quickly and push your CV to the top of the list.

4. Keep it simple and clear:

Your CV is a like your own personal shop window - its purpose being to showcase the things that employers really want to see and entice them to want to find out more about what you can offer them. And like a shop window, it needs to have just about the right amount of detail – if it is too busy they’ll move on to the next one.

Keep your CV to no more than two pages, free from clutter and void of any fancy fonts or images that could distract the reader from finding the information they are looking for. Make use of bullet points and get to the point of what you want to say quickly and without waffle.

5. Ditch the jargon:

Use language that the recruiter and hiring manager will understand. Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations that might only make sense to another employee at your current company – these can often vary between organisations and you shouldn’t assume that the person reading your CV will ‘get’ what you are referring to. So make sure that the descriptions you use can be clearly understood.

6. Use examples to overcome the so what factor:

While your experiences and achievements to date will be your strongest assets in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers, how your skills have been used to positive effect are also important.

So instead of saying that you are a ‘team player’, what does that actually mean? Think of examples that show you really were a team player, for instance:

"In X position, I was part of the team that launched a local community awareness campaign. My role was to work with the project leader to analyse the results of a market research questionnaire that were then used to create the key marketing messages for the campaign."

The key thing to remember when writing your CV is this: your application will be one of many that the recruiter or hiring manager will see, and as much as they would like to spend more time reading each one it simply isn’t practical.

By focusing on what they want in their ideal candidate and communicating how your skills and experiences make you the obvious match, your chances of making the shortlist for interview will rise significantly.

One of the great things about dealing with recruitment agencies like Allen Associates is that you can register with us and have your CV reviewed before we discuss any specific role.

For further information on how to write the perfect CV, click here. If you have any questions or need advice on your next career move, get in touch with the team today.

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