30 seconds in 21st century CV design

The first thirty seconds of your CV can greatly increase your chances of employment. Thousands of CVs float around the job market every day, many of which compete with yours. Where a CV gives you a 30% chance of securing a job, coming face-to-face with a prospective employer increases your chances by 40%. The role of your CV is to generate enough interest and excitement for organisations to want to interview you.

Recruiters worldwide will confer that prospective employers take on average thirty seconds to view your CV and consider interviewing you. Recruiters know well how to sell you to prospective employers using this limited time, or face losing a placement. Look at the first page of your CV. Does it begin with your personal profile, “married, two children, code 8 license, hobbies: surfing the net?” What is that? Your chances of securing a job interview using this strategy are severely limited. Organisations of the 21st century are looking for 21st century CV design that tells them you innovative, creative, effective and different from everyone else.

Good CV design begins with a one page or less ‘executive summary’. It’s the sales pitch for You Inc. Open the summary with a paragraph of your number of years of working experience, titles held, and organisations and industries you have worked with. State whether you have both international and national experience. Include an outline of your education, especially if it post graduate studies e.g. MBA. If you have little or no work experience include your academic results especially if they were exceptional e.g. with distinction, cum laude.

A paragraph on your technical skills (emphasize the skills required of the job you are applying to) and your area of expertise. Include membership to professional bodies if relevant to your industry.

An outline of your achievement and accomplishments ends the summary. Most CVs describe activities instead of results. What employers are looking for is the impact of your activities on the organisation. If you were the top sales achiever for two years consecutively, that sells you immediately and eliminates the competition. Include any excellent references, quoting the referee verbatim.

For job seekers with no or little experience, this new CV strategy can be adapted with emphasis on transferable or applied skills learnt through various community projects, or participation in university student bodies, or part time employment.

With each new job, you need to work toward making this thirty-second pitch or elevator speech more appealing to prospective employers. Become the best, win awards, make a difference and you chances of employment will greatly improve.