Writing an “Instant Hit” CV

Ever wanted your CV to be an instant hit with a recruiter / HR person / or an employer?

Here are 6 questions that run through their mind, this is how they think. Once we understand it, we can start looking for ways to capitalize (or just plain, give them what they want.)

So imagine, a CV appears in the inbox – “ping” – they open it – “clickity click”.

1st they scan the body of the e-mail.

They’re looking for a clue as to what it’s about. It’s subconcious. What pops up at them? Anything? Nothing?

Thus far they’re driven by a few things. Curiosity, maybe. Genuine interest, unlikely. Hope that you can solve a problem for them, maybe. Duty, perhaps. Boredom, quite possibly (any distraction is better than what they may be busy with.) Excitement, only if they’re new.

Cynical maybe (of me), but always no matter who they are there’s usually the knowledge that your application could be important for them.

So you have a few seconds of their attention. And if you make use of a short, sharp, to the point, bulleted list of reasons that’ll show – with hard relevant facts (VS soft, fluffy, or meaningless claims of being “hard working” and a “broad based specialist”) –  that you have something for them, something relevant (used again on purpose!), something credible, then perhaps they’ll move on to your attached CV with a positive feeling (always good).

Then they open the CV. And what are they thinking?

  • What does this guy do? (They want to understand where you may fit into the ‘machine’ that is their business / their clients’ business.)
  • Does he have what I value (it could be experience in a certain position, a certain qualification, a certain title, a certain achievement, or they may be looking for a certain personality – all of which solves a certain problem he’s got)?
  • What does he want to do and where? (Would this guy actually want to do what I have in mind? Or is he off on some other track?)
  • What’s special about him? (Remember “average” may actually be “special” – consistent, reliable, predictable, trustworthy.)
  • What was his most recent job and what did he achieve? (Is this person any good at what they do? What did they achieve?)
  • On a personal level is there any special? (People are curious and intrigued by people who do things – it may be you ran the Comrades, you help out at a hospice, you collect antique cars, you paid for your own university courses, etc)

These are the questions that run through their mind. And they are clues to a good CV.

Do we ever give the reader what they want? Or do we hide all these things away on page 4 and in a sub heading on page 9. Or not include them at all. Or never bring them to the fore. Or hope that the reader will join the dots and figure these things out for themselves.

If we can give them answers, if we can make it clear what’s special about us, what benefits we offer, what makes us credible, then we get attention. If we don’t, we risk being lost in the crowd.

Take a minute. Look at your CV. Imagine YOU’re the employer. Ask the questions.

What changes should you make? Make them.

[Or contact me at gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za for my personal help.


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