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How to improve your CV to interview ratio

Posted on 04 January 2023

How to improve your CV to interview ratio

6-minute read

In today’s job market, it can become very obvious very quickly just how competitive it can be. The CV that pulled in a ton of interviews last year suddenly is working against you and the whole process of searching for a new role is becoming your full-time job.

As firm believers in offering as much guidance to the community as possible, we want to try and share some clear insights into how you can improve your CV-to-interview ratio without looking at your CV (magic right!).

Firstly, what is CV-to-interview ratio?

Put simply and do this as you read it, how many CVs have you sent during this job search divided by how many interviews you have had (only count the first interviews and not recruiter screening calls from external recruiters).

So, for example, 17 applications and 2 interviews would give you 8.5:1 – so basically every 8-9 applications you get an interview.

Having an idea of where you start as a base point means you can tell us later if this article actually worked for you or not, but with that in mind let’s look at how you can improve this.

 

Is it formatted correctly?

Recruiters and hiring managers rarely read your profile line for line, word for word. We skim, we look for key information based on the requirement and as a result determine an action off the back of this.

As a result, the formatting of your CV is important.

Ensure your profile has a clear and simple layout. Graphics, shapes, and unnecessary images are removed and the whole profile follows a top to bottom format that allows the reader to understand: Personal information, Education, Core Skills, most recent role cascading to last and any extra projects.

Personally, we are not big fans of one-page CVs as you do miss off a lot of important details but two is ample, try to keep the core skills and most recent role on the first page to truly capture the reader.

 

Is it ATS ready?

A correctly formatted CV should be Application Tracking System (ATS) ready if you save it as a PDF or Word.doc, if saved as an image I am afraid you might be entering into ATS abyss never to be seen.

We offer a free ATS-ready CV template - The Definitive CV Guide (perituspartners.co.uk) but if you opt for your own consider these:

  • Keep the header and footer sections free of information.

  • Images are fully removed (sorry designers, put them on your online portfolio).

  • It is saved correctly.

  • The system can pick up clearly your company name, job title, length in each role and description.

 

Essentially what happens when you click apply the ATS will drag the information from your CV into the company’s portal and that is what the hiring team will see mostly.

 

Have you sold enough of yourself?

Your CV should inform, entice, and leave the reader wanting to know more. Have you really done that when you read back through your profile or have you simply listed basic project explanations and core skills.

A good action here is to try and add a STAR explanation if possible under each opening, if you want to know what this is you can read our article here - Career Advice (perituspartners.co.uk)

 

Is it relevant to the opening?

Is your CV relevant to that opening, for example, if you are a Frontend Developer with React experience but applying for an Angular opening… there is less chance you will hear back, it sounds obvious but often this is what trips a lot of people over.

Ensure that your profile is relevant, we would encourage a base profile that you can adjust in your personal profile section depending on the opening.

This takes a little longer per application but if you can explain why you might want to work for that company/industry/tech stack clearly in the first paragraph you will capture the reader and set the tone of the rest of the profile.

 

Who is seeing your profile?

If you are only applying via job boards or LinkedIn ‘Easy Apply’ consider switching up your strategy. Target the hiring managers of the companies instead of the portals, you might still be referred to apply to them but at least that way you can open a dialogue with the manager directly and express in a short message why you are interested.

Suppose you are not sure who is the hiring manager best to go as high as you can in the organisation or find someone who is clearly a senior manager. Again, if they are not right, they will likely point you in the right direction.

 

When are you sharing your profile?

The final thought for this article is when are you applying. Evenings might mean you get stuck in a pile, and too early the same result. Consider applying for roles when the person who is going to read it is likely at their desk working.

From a recruiter’s perspective, the mid-morning or early afternoon will capture our attention just as these are typically when we check messages and applications.

This is just our experience but A/B test and find what works best for you.

 

It is no doubt much harder to secure a job now than 6 months ago. Knowing this take full accountability over every aspect of the process to ensure you are successful, this includes understanding your CV-to-interview ratio and looking at how you can improve it over time.

Again, these tips are without knowing anything about your CV but they have helped hundreds that we have worked with over the years and we are confident they can help you.

Feel free to refer to this whenever you need to and best of luck with your search.

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