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How to ensure your CV makes it to the interview stage


When it comes to shortlisting, recruitment firms and HR managers rely heavily on the CV. That’s why it’s important to have a CV that addresses employers requirements. I always advise candidates to tweak their CV to what the employer is looking for as this is the only trick to get to the next stage, which is being invited for an interview.

So, how do you tweak your CV?  Supercharge some of the statements on your CV by using the “So what?” test. Imagine you have an employer sitting next to you as you write your CV who asks “So what?” after every statement.


Look at these rather dull statements from actual CVs.

  • Led a team of 20 sales staff
  • Devised an incentive scheme
  • Managed an office relocation project

Now transform those statements on your CV by adding a result to make those dull statements more interesting.

  • Led a team of 20 sales staff… who exceeded all performance targets.
  • Devised an incentive scheme… that reduced staff turnover by 20pc.
  • Managed an office relocation project… with minimal disruption to the business.

Other tips to follow include having a catchy email subject line, i.e. Marketing Manager with 8 Years of Experience.

You should also paste the contents of the cover letter on the body of the email. When done, attach the CV and cover letter and save them by your name as opposed to just CV or Cover Letter.

Unless requested, avoid the temptation to attach your  scanned ID, certificates, and photo’s. These documents make your application bulky and at times the recipient is unable to open say because of slow internet. The danger is, if I find it had to access your application, I might just go to the next application.

Another important point is to make sure that you apply for a job as soon as you know about the vacancy.

Nowadays, it is common to start shortlisting as soon as we start getting applications. Always bear in mind that Recruitment firms and HR managers work with strict deadliness and that’s why we always need to find suitable candidates to recommend in the shortest time possible.

With this in mind, it’s not uncommon for us to find the right candidates even before the closing day. It’s is advantageous if you were among the first candidates to apply.

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Sometimes getting invited for an interview has a lot more to do with the steps you’ve taken rather than on whether you are the very best candidate.  From today, be mindful of the application process and you’ll register an improvement in your job search and hopefully get more invites for interviews.

Perminus Wainaina has over ten years experience in human resource management working with employers from different sectors. Email 

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