There are many unsubstantiated guidelines and misconceptions surrounding the predominant aim of the CV. But, in truth, there is one (yes only one) reason why a powerful and attention grabbing CV is an absolute necessity in today’s highly competitive job market;

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It is a harsh reality that many recruiters will literally spend 15-30 seconds ‘reading’ your CV. The reason is that when faced with multiple applicants for only one position, there is simply not enough time or resource available in a standard working day to sift through applicants that do not demonstrate the necessary attributes, ambitions and talents for the position they have applied for.

In a recent study conducted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, 47% of recruiters said that out of all the CVs they received, over half (50%) contained grammatical errors. The online survey took place in December 2006 and overall, was answered by 266 recruitment professionals. Basic errors – misspelling ‘Curriculum Vitae’ is one of the most common mistakes.

Taking ownership of your CV and recognising its value is the first step in the production of a great document. Your CV is your sales tool and potentially, the only opportunity you have to sell yourself to a prospective employer.

Powerful and compelling CV writing can only be achieved with some serious thought and analysis of your career and personal ability. Be positive, do not include any weaknesses and most of importantly do not include anything that you cannot substantiate at an interview.

If you are only ever going to take one piece of advice on this subject then it should be this:

Lead with your achievements

In the first few seconds an employer will want to know who you are, whether or not you can do the job and what benefits you can bring to their company. If you do not eloquently yet assertively portray this information then your chances of attracting the necessary attention are greatly reduced. Use ‘key’ or ‘power’ words at the start of each sentence and bullet point. Be direct, don’t waffle and don’t use terminology that a recruiter can not immediately identify.
Written well, a great CV will gain you access to numerous opportunities and should deliver exactly what it is designed for – opening the door to the interview room.