(or: Making an impact)

We have looked at plenty of people reading CV’s.

One thing you notice about their behaviour is how quickly they can reject an individual, how fast they make a decision about those they don’t want to see.

We reckon you have 10 seconds maximum to make an impact, and if somebody likes you they may read the CV for up to a minute. That is it, no more interest than that.

And it makes sense for a hard-pressed regional director or dealer principal faced with a pile of say 30 applicants. They will sort those into the Definites, the Maybes and the Rejects within five minutes. And that means, if you do the maths, an average of 10 seconds a CV. And if they don’t have enough then they may come back to the Maybes and read them in greater depth. But they won’t spent more than a few minutes doing so.

So the most important message is that your CV should be detailed enough to sell you but short enough to be read comfortably within a minute and to make an impact within 10 seconds. Whatever the layout, whatever the format you send it in, 2 pages and 650 words.

And there are no exceptions to this rule. I have heard people pleading that they are a special case, that their experience merits more than that, that they are different to everyone else. Well, you are all different, you have different experience, different views, different capabilities.

But broadly speaking you recruiters have the same needs, to quickly and efficiently sort the wheat from the chaff. And if your CV is too difficult, too involved, too much like War and Peace then you will get rejected more often than others.

When you only need one job, when you only need that slight advantage for one opportunity, then do not think you are that different. You won’t stand out from the crowd, you’re more likely to languish in the recycle bin.