5 Secrets of a Successful CV

For one to secure an interview in the current market, a professional CV is mandatory. Your CV is a direct representation of you, it is what the employer or recruiter sees first before they decide if it is worth their time to meet you in person. Looking at your CV now, what does it say about you? Do you think it can get you through the interview door?

If 10 people applied for the same job and coincidentally happen to be from a similar background of education and work experience, how do you differentiate and choose the best person?

This unfortunately is very common when it comes to talent acquisition. When a hiring manager sends out a clear and precise job specification, they usually end up with similar applicants. However, after shortlisting candidates, only a few will be contacted for an interview. But how come? What makes other candidates more appealing to the hiring manager even though they haven’t yet met them?

Well, here are 5 simple yet effective secrets to getting chosen:

  1. ATS (Applicant Tracking System) OptimisationBecause each job post attracts numerous applicants, it has become necessary to bring in computer programs that will shortlist the relevant candidates to save precious human time that can be used to look at worthy candidates. So, when writing your CV keep ATS in mind because it might very well be your first gatekeeper. If you know the role requirements for the job you are applying for, then you are better equipped to understand what proficiencies to focus on.This may mean tailoring your CV for each of the different roles you apply for. Skills you may deem unimportant to mention may be just the skills that will help your CV rate high when scanned. Include the relevant keywords needed to qualify you for that position. Read more on ATS here.
  1. Layout and FormattingThe appearance of your document is important, especially how the information is formatted. It is important to highlight crucial information first, such as your key competencies and what makes you the perfect candidate.How you design your CV demonstrates the type of person you are and showcases your level of professionalism. At a glance, your CV has to attract the hiring manager or recruiter and gain their interest to actually pay attention to every detail of your CV. Make good use of the page space, font and graphics. Click here to view samples of modern and professional CVs
  1. Cover LetterA great cover letter alone can get you the job, a cover letter is a great opportunity to tell your story and convince the person reading that you are worth working with. It should be personalised for the job you are applying for, rather than going the generic route. The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to an organisation, demonstrate your interest in the company or the specific vacancy, draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to interview you. Often this letter is the first contact you have with a prospective employer.Click here to read a great article on how to write a cover letter.
  1. ContentYour CV content should reflect a professional tone throughout the document and convey a message about your competency level, do not neglect grammar and spelling. How you articulate yourself speaks volumes about you and the type of candidate you are. Your CV needs to be concise and precise, it should not be longer than four pages.It is always recommended to consult with professional CV writers, especially when you have a lot of content and accomplishments.


  1. LengthYes some of us are well accomplished and have a lot to put down on our CVs, however, it is recommended you do your best to minimise the length of your CV, you need to learn how to say more with fewer words.An ideal CV is two pages long, if you struggle to summarise your key competencies and relevant accomplishments in two pages, then a four page CV is the recommended maximum.

The primary purpose of a CV is to market yourself professionally and show why you are a candidate of choice. So do take extra care when preparing your document.

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