Getting your CV noticed

Getting your CV noticed

Statistically, recruiters take less than 20 seconds to look at a CV before deciding whether it should go on to their shortlist. So how can you make sure that your CV is the one that gets noticed and selected for the interview pile rather than the rejection bin?

Here are 5 things you can do to improve your chances:


  • Include Your Achievements

People often highlight their responsibilities, but it’s their achievements which really demonstrate a  positive impact on an organisation. Employers want to employ someone who shows drive and initiative and is willing to go beyond the duties laid out in the job description. The higher up the hierarchy you go the more important it is to demonstrate achievements.

What do we mean by achievements?  Well, for example:-

  • Have you saved the company money?
  • Introduced more efficient systems and ways of working?
  • Did you enhance the company’s reputation with an innovative campaign?
  • Did you increase revenue?
  • Improve the performance of others?
  • Improve the company’s social media presence?

Remember to give examples and to quantify these wherever possible. For example:-

‘I consistently achieved in excess of 110% of target for 6 consecutive quarters’

‘I wrote and delivered a sales training programme for new starters’

‘I won industry award for the most innovative graduate recruitment campaign’ 


  • Make sure the first half of the CV has maximum impact


Even quick readers can’t read a whole CV in 20 seconds so make sure that the first half of the first page has maximum impact.

This means having a Personal Profile that gives an immediate and positive snapshot of who you are and what you have to offer in no more than 2-3 sentences.  A good profile will usually include a job title, industry, years of experience, some skills and personal attributes.

‘A highly successful Business Development Manager, with over 15 years’ experience in business development and key account management in the media sector, encompassing both digital and print. A reputation for building trusted and profitable relationships…………..

The next section needs to encompass the most important information you would like the recruiter to know about you. The section could be headed ‘Key Skills and Abilities’ , ‘Expertise and Achievements’,  ‘Key Information’. It’s really up to you to decide which information will have the most impact.

  • Make it digitally friendly

Recruiters will use applicant tracking systems to find the most relevant candidates for their roles. This means they choose keywords to find relevant CVs. Key words are usually job titles, industries, qualifications, and skills. So make sure you research what they are likely to be using via job descriptions of similar roles and include them on your CV.

When using online Jobs Boards as part of your search, make sure you regularly update your CV and reload it onto the site. Updated and new CVs are looked at first by recruiters.


  • Include interests and voluntary work

Listing interests such as watching television, socialising and Facebook are not going to make you look like a potentially interesting future colleague! But interests and voluntary work that demonstrate positive skills and attributes should certainly be included, especially if they are slightly unusual or you have held positions of responsibility.

They can also be a great ice breaker for an interviewer.

‘ Club Secretary for the Cumbrian Mountaineering Club since 2015. Last year I organised and co-led a sponsored expedition to Mount Kinabalu in Borneo to raise money for Cancer Research.‘


  • Create links to other sources

As a minimum, your CV should include a link to your LinkedIn profile. Here recruiters will be able to see endorsements for your skills, recommendations, and other representations of your work such as blogs, presentations etc. and show that you are well connected through industry and professional groups. Candidates working in creative industries should have links their own web page, and to Tumblr and Instagram showcasing their work.


It also goes without saying that  your CV should be accurate, well presented and structured, with no spelling or grammar mistakes, on no more than 2 pages.

When making applications it can sometime be daunting to see the number of applicants that have already applied for the job you would love to get. But if you follow these guidelines, there’s no reason why your application should not get you through to the interview stage.


If you feel I can be of any help with your applications, please select the ‘Winning Applications’ option  from the Services/Coaching Options menu on my website.

Or get in touch via the Contact Page.