Published: 24th June 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2013 12:33 PM   |  A+A-

Your CV needs to lose some weight!

It takes less than 10 seconds for someone to go through and reject your CV — probably less than the time you took to print it. Most of these accept/reject decisions are guided not only by what you present but also by how you present it. Applications per position have increased manifold, making it almost impossible for recruiters to go through long multi-page CVs. Thus, lean and easy-to-read CVs have become imperative to secure interview calls in this competitive market.

Specific changes for a lean CV

Please remove that generic ‘objective statement’. Your CV’s content and highlights should showcase your interests rather than a verbose and often fabricated two-liner. Put only your relevant professional achievements at the top, including projects and certifications. If you were a swimming champion at school, it is commendable but that happened eons ago and recruiters are looking for recent achievements.

The academics section should be used prudently, highlighting only achievements and removing generic content like a list of courses. Grades must be mentioned preferably both in absolute and relative (percentile) terms and alongside each school you mentioned. A separate grade table occupies a lot of space and adds very little value to the resume.

Interest and hobbies can be briefly mentioned after your professional achievements. If an extracurricular achievement does not have a tangible/numerical impact, it’s better left out.

While your name, phone number and email details are essential, your address is not. In case you are selected, recruiters would contact you over email or phone, making the address redundant.

Generic rules

As a thumb rule, none of the points in any section should be more than one line. This is to ensure that your most significant achievements are not overlooked.

Use of bold characters to highlight your achievements is recommended but should not be overdone, else the CV looks cluttered.

All non-value adding personal information like age, marital status, etc, must be towards the end of the CV.

These modifications would make your CV clutter-free and faster to comprehend.

Other popular techniques to get more attention range from making an appealing info-graphic CV, or audio/ video CVs. These techniques, though popular, are limited by technology and may never match the simplicity and ease a black and white lean CV.

The author is a mentor at, an MBA applications consulting firm


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