Why a professional CV should improve your job chances by 2500%

A good CV is no guarantee of a job – but a bad CV is pretty close to a guarantee you won’t get one.

UK employers are currently seeing an average of 85 applications per job – according to a survey published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters this summer.

The numbers are higher in some industries – with firms like Unilever and Procter & Gamble reporting 160 applications for every graduate marketing and sales job advertised.

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that more than 20,000 graduates – that’s 9% – were unemployed six months after leaving university. Many of the rest were taking jobs shelf stacking or cleaning the street to pay the bills.

The sad truth is the employer holds the whip hand and, if they receive dozens of CVs for every position, they can afford to be picky.

Standing out from the crowd: how the hiring process works

I used to hire large numbers of people and it was the same old story: We used to see far more CVs than we had jobs available. We needed a way to sort the wheat from the chaff – and we didn’t have any time to waste.

The first thing I did was file any CVs with typos, mistakes or inconsistent layout or style in the bin. I wanted people with an eye for detail and if they couldn’t pull it off on their own CV, how could I rely on them in the workplace?

Maybe I was being picky eliminating someone because they had an apostrophe in the wrong place or a full-stop missing but when I had 100 CVs on my desk I didn’t need to take the risk.

Then after I narrowed it down to maybe 20 CVs I was happy with, I scrutinised their qualifications, work history and achievements to see how suitable they were for the job.

But I was busy and didn’t have 15 minutes to get to know each CV in minute detail so another handful slipped through the net because their biggest selling points were hidden somewhere I didn’t have time to look.

Or because their CV wasn’t tailored specifically enough for the particular job I had on offer. Or because they simply didn’t explain things clearly enough.

And so the process continued until I had it whittled down to three or four candidates on a shortlist from their CVs.

So in my case I whittled it down from 100 to three or four – usually four – on the strength of the CV.

Then it was up to the candidates to prove themselves at interview stage. If I didn’t like any of them I’d go back to the 20 on my long list. But that rarely happened.

So where did I get that 2500 figure in the title from?

I was interviewing for jobs in the media and these figures are pretty typical – according to a survey conducted by High Fliers Research, employers in this industry typically see about 110 applications per position, while shortlists of four are not uncommon.

Taking these figures as a barometer – admittedly things change a fair bit from one industry to another but these are reasonably typical – a well-written CV should improve your chances from roughly one in a hundred to roughly one in four. Or 2500%.

Let’s cut through the bullshit: If you are woefully underqualified for a position a good CV writer won’t be able to help you.

Our professional CV writers are the best at what they do but they aren’t miracle workers.

However, a good professional CV writer can squeeze every last bit of juice out of your CV to make the most of your achievements – then set them out in the right way to give you the best possible chance of landing your dream job.

With so many bad CVs out there, you’ll be surprised what a head start that will give you.

Like I say, a good CV might not guarantee you a job but a bad CV is pretty close to a guarantee you won’t get one.

Use that information wisely – you’ve got the rest of your life to think about.

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