How To Make Your CV Rank On Top

Updated: Jun 9

With the unemployment rate rising in New Zealand and more talent being let go due to the current pandemic, you have to work harder, now more than ever, to stand out from the crowd when looking for your next role. Most recruiters and employers spend less than 60 seconds on the first read of a CV and generally have a mountain to get through.


There are a lot of key aspects that recruiters look out for when fishing through CVs; as well as utilising specific software that is designed to automatically sort through candidate’s information to assist with finding the best candidates, quicker.


Software and Automated Processing


To assist with finding the right candidate for a role, there is now an automated process that most recruiters use via specific software that organises applications, extracts essential information and can even sometimes rank your CV for that particular role depending on a number of key factors.


Some key pointers to ensure your CV is positioned ahead of the rest:


  • Referencing keywords that are listed in the job description (or job ad) is one of the most important factors that you can do to enhance your CV. The software will pick up on these keywords first and foremost

  • The order of your work history should begin with your most recent work experience first (we want to know where you are straight away!)

  • Avoid using any unnecessary images and graphics that could detract the reader and software from finding the vital info; keep it sleek and simple!

  • List all of the specific transferrable skills and qualities that you will be able to take into your next role – ensuring they match those of the job description and making sure they appear regularly. This will give the software a much better chance of picking these up

  • Ensure your document is either in Word or PDF format, as it will be better suited for the software (and on the eye!)


What do Recruiters Specifically Look for?


As well as utilising software to assist with finding the right applicant, recruiters also look for specific aspects that will set you apart from the rest:


  • Have you included a cover letter? You don’t necessarily need to repeat your CV but instead this gives you a chance to show your personality, curiosity and an attraction to the role, company and industry… why wouldn’t you?!

  • Again, ensuring the file type is either a Word document or PDF will be much better suited

  • Always customise your CV to match the role you are specifically going for, including tailoring the key words.

  • Spellcheck! This is vital and can be a big turn off as it gets recruiters thinking; “well how can they trust you to spell check your grammar in your next role?!” Most computers allow you to automatically spell check these days; so there are no excuses.

  • Don’t forget to include the time you spent in each role (including the months). If you exclude these, it gets us thinking why you might not want us to know the details….

  • Unrelated and outdated information… this does nothing but highlight that you either have not put the effort in to update your CV and/or you have wasted the chance to showcase better information and experiences.

  • Show us your achievements and projects and highlight the important factors that made you succeed in your previous or current role(s). For example… If you’re going for a sales role, show us your KPIs/targets and how you achieved these! Even if you didn’t quite hit 100%, there is still worth in showing that you tried your best or at least grew year on year. Or if you’re in construction, we want to know what projects you’ve worked on and the value of them.

  • KISS! Not literally… but KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! Simply put, make sure you give us the information we need to know but keep it simple. Use bullet points and summaries and get straight to the important facts.



  • Have you used a consistent, easy to read font?

  • Include your contact details… we need to be able to communicate with you!

  • Don’t have too many pages… we encourage you to keep it down to two or three pages at most

  • Do you have an active LinkedIn profile? Nine times out of ten, recruiters will search you on LinkedIn if they like the look of your CV. So having an active presence on this professional platform can act as a further resume!

Overall, your CV won't stand out if you don't get the basics right. In addition to the above points, it is important to ensure that your CV is clear, concise and easy to navigate. If you need a hand with your CV there is an easy to use template on our website, not to mention loads of online resources and our Lynx Recruitment Consultants willing to help.


Take care everyone!

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