Over the past two weeks i have recruited for a number of roles. One position was a Security Manager role for a retail organisation and the other maritime operators for a company which has considerably expanded its operation. The situation for both roles was very different. The Security Manager position was one role of which i received 50 applicants. I had 30 minutes available to sift CV's, score them, put them in order of preference and prepare them for my line manager to review. With regard to the maritime operator roles, i was looking for high volumes of CV's but due to deploying on task had minimal time in which to sift, ensure they fulfilled the clients requests and forward for their perusal. For both roles therefore time was the key factor which meant i couldn't possibly read the CV's in detail but had to skim read them. Therefore if the prerequisites from the job description weren't easy to identify in the CV it was shredded before being read in detail. Whilst working for Control Risks as full time consultant in protective services it was exactly the same, we received hundreds of CV's and if the CV could not be skim read it would be shredded immediately. We probably read around 10% of CV's that arrived at Control Risks again due to a lack of time.
These are therefore The Security Advisor top tips to ensure your CV is read and not shredded.
1. The CV must look inviting to read and easy to extract information from. If when you look at a CV it looks hard work and unlikely that you will be able to even skim read it, then it will be destroyed rather than waste time trying to read it.
2. The CV must be skim readable in under thirty seconds. For the security manager role detailed above that is literally all i had per CV to establish my short list. Try to skim read your own CV in under thirty seconds picking out key information. To compare, take a look at the CV examples on The Security Advisor site, all can be skim read in under thirty seconds.
3. A good profile is enough to ensure your CV is put through to be read in detail. If you outline everything in the profile at the start of the CV that the reader is looking for from the job description then they need look no further as you have the prerequisites they want. The profile should be no more than five lines.
4. Only add information that adds value, no one will be put on task because they have a GCSE in history. Information that adds no value dilutes the information required by the job description making it harder to identify the key requirements.
5. Bullet points make information easier to read over large paragraphs. The bullet point most relevant to the job description should be at the top, therefore the more time the reader has the more bullet points they read.
6. Those who follow the brief on what to do will be looked upon favourably. For the maritime positions i was requesting publicity rather than fees yet some people still sent a CV but didn't complete the site profile creation and review.
7. If the employer requests a CV then send a CV, don't send supporting documentation unless requested. It's hard enough sifting 50 CV's in thirty minutes without additional documents. For the maritime position one person sent 16 supporting documentations, none of which were read.
8. Personal attributes do not sell you to an employer! No one has been given a job because they are team player but an individual, a good communicator and able to adapt. These are the minimum you would expect from a security operator and therefore not selling points. What these words do though is again dilute the rest of the information that is required by the job description making it harder for the reader to pick out what was requested and therefore harder to read.
9. When you send a CV the file name should be as follows 'Forename Surname CV', 50% of CV's received for the maritime operator roles arrived with no name in the file name, so instead were titled 'CV' or 'maritime' for example. This again makes it harder for the reader to see who has sent information.
10. Your address and contact details are not selling points so why make it the first piece of information the reader views? Contact details are only relevant for the person being offered the job so put them at the end of your CV.
By following these basic top tips and some of the other employment & CV advice on the site you will put yourself ahead of most of your peers in the application process. The Security CV format, used on The Security Advisor site, which i developed was done so specifically for the security industry to ensure the CV was read when being received with a high volume of CV's. When i started the site i was asked how it 'Raised standards in the security industry' as per the tag line, and one way is definitely on improving the application process. Don't just spend ten minutes browsing the information, take a full morning and rip your own CV apart. Try some different formats, some alternative wording or amalgamate some of the site information with what you already have, but above all ensure your CV is skim readable in under thirty seconds, if not then it's not getting read.