top of page
  • Writer's pictureSarah Merry

The 3 second CV

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

Yes, that's how long your #CV may be glanced at before you are put on the Yes, No or Maybe pile...3 seconds. Not long eh? But when hiring managers are inundated with #CVs from everywhere in the world and their inbox is bursting with application emails and their phone is ringing off the hook with customers calling; that may well be all they can afford. Knowing this means it is vital that you don't waste the opportunity to be put on the Yes pile.

It's imperative that you give employers a reason to meet you, if you know what they are looking for and you know you fit the bill, then make sure your CV tells them that. I know it sounds obvious but in my 22 years' reading CVs I can honestly say that the majority of candidates miss vital things off and add too much irrelevant detail.

Of course your name, address, phone number and email address are essential. I've had outstanding CVs land in my inbox but I have not been able to reach them or have had to do some detective work to locate them on social media sites...some line managers might not be so forgiving or have the inclination. Always include your education, however long ago it was - employers like to see this.

Employment History - start with today's date and work backwards - their eyes will go straight to this to see what you are doing now - you don't want this hidden on the next page. Think about putting achievements here rather than duties. For instance; if you are a Travel Agent; most people will know what a travel agent does but they won't know what you specialise in or that you won "employee of the year" or had "highest sales revenue in 2017 in the region " unless you tell them. Bullet point these specialisms and achievements. Make it easy for them to read.

If you get stuck on this part of the content then it can be helpful to ask a trusted colleague to help (if appropriate!) They might think of things you have achieved or projects that you have been part of that you had overlooked.

Interests - Have you travelled? Have you any achievements that make you stand out? Do you volunteer? Have you any interesting hobbies? Are you a member of any sporting club? Then include these - never lie (remember that interview on the Apprentice!) and I'd avoid putting things like socialising or playing xbox! unless your applying for a job at Xbox HQ.

Keep it to 2 sides of A4 if you can - if it goes over this the chances are you are wasting words. An incredible old boss of mine, Kim Jones, who was an excellent copy writer, once told me to to write what I want to, then go through it and try to halve it, then halve it again. We really don't need as many words as we think.

Put a profile at the top, underneath your contact info; keep this brief - 3 or 4 sentences at most. Summarise what you are looking for and what you can offer. Don't waffle and make it relevant to the job you are applying for.

I get asked a lot about the format of the CV - there are lots of fancy, illustrated templates that you can download now. It's a subjective thing but I would say keep it simple - sometimes these colourful templates can distract from the most important parts of the content. I'm still a fan of good old fashioned black and white words, but then I am getting on ! Go for something fancy with logos and colour if you are happy that it does not take away from what you can offer but don't feel pressure to use that style - good old fashioned type works perfectly.

Obvious tips but one that is often forgotten....Spell check, grammar check and spell check again.

Now get writing, and send your CV to and wait for the #Rockpooltreatment. We can't wait to help you discover your happy.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page