It would seem to go without saying that a winning CV should have correct spelling and grammar, and be visually and aesthetically appealing. Yet of the hundreds of CVs that come across my desk every year, I see very few that meet even these basic criteria.
You need to put yourself in the employer's seat for a moment: you're about to invest tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into a stranger, in the hope that they will prove not only to be worth the investment but will enhance your business. If this stranger cannot even be bothered to present their details in a clear, concise, and accurate manner, what does that tell you about their attitude and capabilities to do the job?
We live in a highly technological world that is computer driven and the need for instant information is critical. Today’s employers are used to living in this tech world and know that if they don’t see what they want from looking at your CV for a few seconds, they can easily find it in the next one. Some of the larger companies are using ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) that search for key words and eliminate CVs before they are even seen by a human being.
As a CV writing business, we are seeing more and more that people with CVs which at first glance would seem to be quite well set out and have strong histories, are not getting interviews. Employers are becoming more discerning and cautious, and are looking for more "proof" of a candidate's potential. CVs that are primarily skills based are no longer cutting it in the marketplace and achievements based CVs are now seeing better results. Anybody can state on a document that they are a “team player” - but if you demonstrate this through showing that you were a key member of a team that drove a new initiative, which resulted in savings to the company, then you will get noticed.
The two key factors that we find are achieving the best results in the current employment climate, are to present employers with an aesthetically perfect document that provides them everything they are looking for quickly and easily (it doesn't need a distracting flashy format) AND shows the employer what the candidate has achieved for other employers. This is what turns an ordinary CV into a powerful marketing tool.
Again, put yourself into the shoes of a potential employer: you have received 50 applications - some are 6 pages long (you don't have the time to read a book!) - some have incorrect spelling and grammar (I'm not going to let that person prepare my important business documentation!) - some are full of big claims (where is the proof?) - and then there's one that clearly and concisely provides the information you are looking for, with facts and figures to demonstrate what the candidate has achieved for other employers (let's get this person in for interview straight away!).
It's as simple as that :).