Does your CV pass the 30-second test?

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

Think of all the things you can do in 30 seconds. You could make a cup of coffee, reply to an email, pick an outfit for the day or make a paper aeroplane. One thing you can’t do in 30 seconds is put together a decent CV. However, it is likely that this is the length of time that a recruiter will spend giving your CV an initial once-over. That’s why it’s key that you ensure those 30 seconds hold the recruiter’s attention and hopefully secure you an interview. Paying proper care and attention to your CV will help to avoid your CV being turned into a paper aeroplane itself.

Here are some top tips to passing the 30-second CV test:

Start strong

It’s essential that you make a good first impression. Include a professional profile at the start, explaining how you are the perfect fit for the role in just a couple of sentences. Pick out key pieces of information that tick the boxes included in the job description. Spend time on this. If you don’t immediately capture the recruiter’s attention this may be the only section he or she reads.

Stick to two pages

There is no point sending reams of information and examples. This will help you decide what to include and what to leave out. As you go along, ask yourself whether the information you are including will help you secure an interview. If not, cut it out. You don’t need to list every single qualification you have and every job you’ve ever done.

Keep it clear

Focus on the layout, using an easy-to-read font and clear headings to draw the eye to key areas of your CV. Use bullet points to cut out unnecessary waffle and to make the information included more concise. Don’t include long paragraphs of dense text as these will be off-putting and are likely to go unread.


Once you’ve done completed the above steps, give a copy of your CV to a few trusted friends or a careers expert and ask them to peruse it in just 30 seconds. What are their first impressions? Is there anything missing? Did they want to spend more time looking at your CV or had they already started making folds and seeing how far they could throw it?

Make any necessary tweaks before sending off your CV, ensuring that your contact details are up to date so that the recruiter can easily get hold of you if he or she is interested in inviting you for interview.

©opyright The CV Writer

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

For a more detailed description of what’s included in the pack Click Here

By placing your order with The CV Writer you agree to our Terms and Conditions in full.

Five lines that are killing your CV

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

Struggling to set your CV apart?

With a number of jobs seemingly requiring similar skillsets, CVs can often end up looking like virtual replicas of one another, making the hiring process more difficult (and more irritating) for recruiters. And much of it simply comes down to an overreliance on the same old stock phrases.

To help you ditch the clichés, here are five lines you should steer clear of when you’re writing your CV:

‘Although I don’t have much experience in…’

Hiring managers aren’t immediately attracted to candidates that constantly apologise. Not only does it show a lack of confidence in your ability to do the job at hand, it also emphasises your shortcomings instead of focusing on what skills you actually do have.

If it’s a skill or qualification that is essential for the job you’re applying for, apologising isn’t going to persuade the employer to consider you, and if it’s not 100% necessary, why mention it?

Either way, you’re unlikely to ever come out in a positive light after your admission. In fact, if you doubt yourself, the employer will probably doubt you too.

Remember: think about what you can offer in a role, not what you can’t.

What you should do: Focus on what skills and experience you have that make you a good fit, and draw attention to those instead. Be positive, confident, and sure of your abilities – and recruiters will be too.

‘I’m great at multi-tasking’

Let’s face it, multi-tasking is important for almost every role.

Unfortunately, this has led to a phrase which has been so overused in CVs, that it’s probably lost all meaning to employers. We’re not saying that the ability to multi-task isn’t a valuable attribute. However, simply including that you’re good at it provides very little value to recruiters. You actually need to back it up.

Think of relevant examples of when you’ve put your multi-tasking skills to the test, and how they’ve been employed to benefit the business.
It’s all about how you say it – not just about what you say.

What you should do: Talk about any tasks you’ve done that exemplify your multitasking skills, and use them to quantify your claims (i.e. how you managed multiple tasks to achieve a successful outcome – and what the outcome actually was). This way, you’re avoiding the clichéd phrase that almost everyone has in their CV, and replacing it with a tangible example that makes your CV unique.

‘I’m a team player, who also works well alone’

Chances are, you’ll be good in a group and working individually. Most people are.

However, the real problem with this phrase isn’t the fact that it’s notoriously overused, it’s that it doesn’t really say a lot.

To an employer, saying you’re ‘a team player, who also works well alone’ just looks like a slightly lazy way of trying to cover all bases, because you feel that maybe, one of them might be a necessary requirement.

Essentially, it’s the CV equivalent of sitting on the fence.

So, instead of including both, why not focus on the one the role requires the most? If you’re going to be working in a team, then focus on that. And if it involves working independently, utilise those skills instead.


What you should do: To avoid recruiters skimming over this point, make it mean more. Demonstrate a time where you’ve proved your success of working in a team, or how you’ve completed tasks independently. It’ll sound much better than the generic wording, not to mention represent your skills more accurately.

‘I’m a perfectionist’

Whether you use this phrase on its own, or couple it with its even more irritating prefix ‘my biggest weakness is…’, this point simply has no place in your CV.

Even if you genuinely are a perfectionist, this over-exaggerated character-defining phrase often translates as: ‘I’m really picky over minor details’.

In reality, nothing is perfect – especially in the workplace. If an employer reads about your obsession with perfection in your CV, they may be left wondering how you’d really react when things don’t go to plan.

Either that, or you’re trying to pretend you have no real weaknesses, other than your pursuit of greatness. Which, unfortunately, is something recruiters can spot a mile off.

There aren’t a lot of positive outcomes.

What you should do: Be honest. If you give recruiters enough of your skills, achievements, and experience, they’ll be able to make an informed decision on what you’re really like. And never, ever bring up weaknesses on your CV. Save that for the interview…

‘I’m a people person’

Although this attribute is incredibly important for a number of jobs (particularly customer facing ones), it’s a bad idea to include it in your CV.
As with most clichéd phrases, it doesn’t have much meaning.

Doesn’t everyone have the ability to speak to other humans, at least to some extent?

Additionally, it’s likely that your CV will be sent to someone in HR, and members of this industry notoriously dislike this phrase – so not only will you be using an overused line, you’ll also risk mildly irritating the person with the power to move your application further.

Without any context or elaboration, this is essentially just a fancy use of alliteration – and one that your CV could definitely do without.

What you should do: Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your ‘people skills’, but display them in a way that effectively describes your communication skills, customer service experience, and affability, all at the same time. Proven instances and examples of successful interactions and good relationships with colleagues or customers will always work in your favour.

©opyright The CV Writer

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

For a more detailed description of what’s included in the pack Click Here

By placing your order with The CV Writer you agree to our Terms and Conditions in full.

When is your CV not even worth sending out?

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

And the answer is simple; when it’s full of pointless words that have no meaning or use. We are sent on average 100 CV’s a week for review. Many of these CV’s are of a very high standard and only really need some minor corrections and changes to make those one or two all important improvements that can mean the difference between being invited for the interview and not being invited.

But on the other hand we also receive a number of CV’s that on first sight we can understand exactly why they are not winning their owner an interview. Some of these are very basic things. In this article we want to try to show you some of the things we receive in CV’s from people.

For privacy and data protection reasons we cannot re-produce CV’s that people have sent to use in our professional capacity, but we can give you a flavour of some of the things we see written in people’s CV’s that really shouldn’t be there.

One of the most common things we see is where people actually use Curriculum Vitae or Resume in big bold lettering at the top of the page, there is no need to be stating the obvious in your CV when the recruiter receives it they know what it is. You could equate this with having your own name tattooed backwards in big letter on your forehead so you know who you are in the morning when you look in the mirror.

The next basic mistake is again all about people stating the obvious; they lay out a CV as follows:

Name: Joe Bloggs
Address: 15 Any Road, Any Town, Any County, BB1 7HH
Home Telephone: 020 1234567
Mobile Telephone: 07722 111111

And then to really point out the obvious they have Name, Address etc in bold to point them out. Ask yourself this question:

When you write a letter to anyone do you write your name and address in the same format? If the answer is NO then why have you written the details in that way on your CV?

So many people also have a habit of thinking if I use a nice designer font for my name that it will make me stand out more, the simple fact is that it doesn’t make you stand out if you use a nice big bold fancy designer font, the one way to stand out is to use the right words that answer all of the recruiters questions, and the recruiters standard questions they are looking for answers for from your CV are:

  • Does this person have the skills we need to fill the position?
  • Does this person have the experience we are looking for?
  • Does this person have the qualifications we are looking for?
  • Does this person have the right aptitude to fit in with our company?

They won’t find this answer in fancy, designer and multi coloured fonts or nice patterned borders around the edge of the pages, or big boxes all over the page.

We have talked before in a previous article about the importance of having a personal profile at the top of your CV. It’s your chance to tell the employer in a few short sentences just what you have to offer them in terms of your skills and experience. But so many times we see people’s CV’s with personal profiles written along the lines of:

“I am a dedicated and willing person always happy to get stuck in to a challenge, putting myself forward as a leader and showing my potential through hard work and dedication. I strive to impress and exceed all expectation and I work really well both on my own and within any team.”

Nine if not ten times out of ten a personal profile written in this style would be of no benefit and won’t score you any points with the recruiter; in fact you’ll be extremely lucky if your CV hasn’t already thrown away at this point.

The next section of mistakes comes within what some people calls Skills Set or Skills profile (there are many other variations of this) but the basis is the same, this is where you can showcase specific skills you think the potential employer should know about you. We see to many people wasting this opportunity to really show their talents by using the following “skills”

  • Works well in a team
  • Great time keeper
  • Expert in my field
  • Excellent manager
  • I’m not good working on my own I’m the joker in the pack
  • Making people laugh Love working hard

Some of these may sound as if we’ve simply made them up, but we really do receive many CV’s with those exact words written in them. Your CV is designed for one thing and one thing only to get you an interview.

It is a sales document designed to sell the idea in the recruiter’s mind that they really want to meet you because of what you have written in your CV. Even for what some people would see as a mundane job you can really impress a recruiter with your use of words.

Putting the right words in the right place can make the difference between being offered an interview or having your CV thrown in the bin.

Words like Achieved, Delivered, Organised, Prioritise are the types of words that you should be using in your CV they are known as Power Words because they have impact and stand out, and they stand out far more than a size 24 font in thick bold lettering that just says Curriculum Vitae.

Your CV is all about delivering impact statements, short punchy lines that contain power words that deliver your point and give the recruiter the ability to put a quick tick on their checklist against your name.

The next set of common mistakes comes within the Responsibilities/Duties section of the CV again we see many CV’s with the following lines written in them:

  • Open up in the mornings
  • Make the coffee for everyone
  • Type letters for my boss
  • Cover for my supervisor when he skives off
  • Drive a van round the county Work in a warehouse
  • I did all the packing work
  • I wrote all the invoices
  • Chased people round to get results

Again you’ll see none of these statements really mean anything, they don’t contain any strong power words, and they don’t make you stand out as someone that can answer the recruiter’s questions we listed above.

I wrote all the invoice for instance could be changed to Produced all the companies invoices, you’ll notice how different this statement now sounds; removing the I and replacing wrote with a power word Produced gives that relatively simple statement far more impact on the reader.

As you see from the simple example above changing just one word can change a mundane boring line in to a line that carries far more impact and can make the difference between being offered an interview and having your CV discarded at the first sift.

One the most common mistakes we see on CV’s people send to us is the use of the incorrect spell checker, MS Word is set to a default of English US and not many people carry out the simple task of changing that to English UK, which means when they run the spell checker words like Organised are changed to Organized (z is the American spelling) but many people place blind trust in the spell checker and assume that they spelt the word wrong and that the spell checker must be right.

There is an art to writing a CV and it’s not art as in how the page is designed, i.e. how much time you spend deciding which designer font to use, or what colour your headings or boxes should be, the art of CV writing is in the words you use in the CV to show the recruiter who you are and what you can do.

Now look over your own CV and see if you would honestly receive the ticks on the checklist as a recruiter for the way your current CV is written, here are the questions again:

  • Does this person have the skills we need to fill the position?
  • Does this person have the experience we are looking for?
  • Does this person have the qualifications we are looking for?
  • Does this person have the right aptitude to fit in with our company?

If after giving your CV the once over you find that in your own opinion you wouldn’t seriously consider offering yourself the interview it’s time to get your thinking cap on and get stuck in to re-writing it.

©opyright The CV Writer

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

For a more detailed description of what’s included in the pack Click Here

By placing your order with The CV Writer you agree to our Terms and Conditions in full.

Reasons NOT to use online CV Builder website

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

This will probably be one of the shortest articles we at The Career Engineer are every likely to write; but here goes anyway.

The reasons we hate those annoying online CV Builder websites are simple:

They produce generic CV’s (everyone’s is the same)

They don’t make your CV personal (they generally insert standard phrases that everyone uses)

The layout are far to arty and pointless, (a CV should ALWAYS remain business like and professional)

A LOT of these websites build their logo or website address in to your CV that you just can’t remove, which quite frankly doesn’t do you any favours when it comes to sending it off to employers, they see that or web address and the instant thing that goes through there minds will be “so you couldn’t write a CV then” and invariable your CV will be thrown straight in to the bin, and you’ve wasted you money.

And the most annoying part of online CV Builder sites is the cost they charge ridiculous sums to churn out basic boring CV’s that in almost 100% of cases will NOT get you that job interview you expect your CV to get for you.

Well that should cover that subject we did say it would be a short article.

©opyright The CV Writer

The CV Writer, helping you write a CV, guiding you to a career.

For a more detailed description of what’s included in the pack Click Here

By placing your order with The CV Writer you agree to our Terms and Conditions in full.