Your CV – The 1st Second is Critical. Why?

Are there little things you can do to make a quick but effective difference in the attention grabbing, interest generating, interview winning power of your CV?

Sure there are. And they have much to do with the first impression your CV creates. When your CV is received, opened and looked at for the first time, whether in print or on a computer screen – that first 1 second is critical.

It’s a moment when no words are read. But many early judgements are already being made in the mind of the reader – who said the world was fair!!? But now you know!

So with that knowledge you can choose to play the victim or exploit it.

What does that one first glance at your CV say?

Here’s what it can say about you – that you’re:

  • Neat.
  • Professional (code for organised, trained, of high standard, adhering to good practices and codes of behaviour).
  • A clear thinker.
  • A good communicator.
  • A person who’ll easily fit into a business environment – and contribute to it immediately.
  • A person who has high standards and that when dealing with colleagues, clients and superiors you’ll be reliable, organised, clear, and you’ll be a credit to your employer.
  • Highly computer literate.

And that’s before even a word is read. Pretty good going. But wait … let’s calm down a little and see the harsh truth.

What happens often, too often, to too many people, good people, people perhaps like you, is that the first impression they create isn’t the one described above. Here’s what you may be doing and here’s what that may be saying about you:

  • It may be saying nothing – your first page may just grandly announce you – of how much interest actually is that to an employer? This kind of grandiose cover page could be judged as an unprofessional whim.
  • You may put a great big picture on your first page – of you, or it may be clip art. You may have a page border of castles, cars, or diamonds. But won’t the reader just conclude that these are just tacky (in poor taste) attempts to create a big impression to hide the fact that your skills and qualifications are just average, or below average?
  • Your paragraphs may not be aligned – or may be aligned with spaces instead of tabs – or aligned with 5 tabs instead of one (takes a little extra effort but the visual effect is worth it). The conclusion may be drawn that your computer skills are lacking or that you don’t know how to work properly with MS Word, or worse, that you just don’t care.
  • You may have crammed your CV full of detail and it’s gone to 10 pages. The glancer may conclude that you’re someone who can’t get to the point, who can’t express him/herself clearly and concisely.
  • In your long list of “duties and responsibilities” there may just be random points. Could the reader conclude that logical thinking and proper organisation aren’t strengths you possess? Absolutely.
  • In an attempt to get to the nirvana of the 2 page CV, you may have used a very small font, single (or less) line spacing, and no paragraph spacing. You may just come across as someone desperate to comply, willing to sacrifice readibility for the 2 page CV – which is really missing the point altogether.
  • You may have use a font that’s very big – and they may conclude you have eyesight problems, or that you’re very old and your sight is fading.
  • You may have used a common format – a template, or a formate copied from your school textbook. These formats shout “average” – they put you in a box, they limit expression. Use them if you have to – they’re better than nothing but just be sure, again, that your alignments and all the stuff mentioned above is done perfectly.

You get the point, right? Your CV can speak without words – just a glance can speak volumes.

And yes, these are snap judgments people may make, rightly or wrongly, after just a glance at your CV. But that glance sets the tone for any further reading of your CV. You want it to be positive.

Badly constructed, worded and word processed CVs won’t do that for you – the reader may move forward, but with an irritated, unimpressed, negative mindset. And in a competitive job market that’s not going to help any.

Get your CV checked by someone you know is ‘hot’ on designing professional documents, ‘hot’ with MS Word and word processing, ‘hot’ on knowing how to format things, how to space words and sentences and make a document look smart.

Give attention to these ideas, tip, tricks – whatever – and you’ll get much better, quicker response to your CV send-outs.

Or, of course you can get it written professionally – click here to read more on my CV writing service.