CV openers oftentimes determine whether the person will keep on reading a CV or not. You’ve probably heard that you only have a few seconds to leave a good first impression. This applies to any situation in life, but it also applies to your CV! Some argue it’s under 10 seconds that you’ve got to interest the reader while others are a bit more generous and they talk about up to 30 seconds. Whatever the case may be, one thing is true – you do need to “hook” the reader as fast as possible.
This leads us to the question of “how”. How can you arouse interest with your CV and how can you ensure it doesn’t go unnoticed? The answer is actually quite simple: you have to learn how to write perfect CV openers!
Why are CV openers important?
To put it simply, you need to have a great opening section because that is the first thing the reader sees. So, when a recruiter or a hiring manager opens your CV, you have to make sure that they are bombarded with super relevant information. They need to think that you are the perfect person for the job, and, moreover, they need to formulate that opinion in a few seconds. Basically, what you need to do is write an opening section that will “hook” them and make them want to read the rest of your CV. CVs that have properly written CV openers are much more likely to retain the reader’s attention.
How to write a good “hook”?
It sounds easy, but the execution can be a bit bumpy. Sure, you now know that all you need is a perfect opening section in your CV, but what does that mean? How should it look like? What are the rules for writing CV openers?
Indeed, there are a few things that we at Linking Lines have been successfully implementing since 2015 and these things will help you as well.
Focus on the job ad
It goes without saying that your first point of reference is always the job ad itself. Scan through it and see what stands out. Are they looking for someone with great project management skills? Do they need a creative person? Are there specific skills the candidates need to have or software they need to know? Whatever it is, make sure you mention it in your opening section. That’s how you write relevant CV openers that will make the person want to continue reading.
And finally, please be honest in this section and don’t write that you’re proficient in Excel or you have 5 years of managerial experience if you don’t. Similarly, do not copy-paste the whole “requirements” section to your opening section. This is way too obvious and it will not sit well with your readers.
Use bullet points
In CV openers, we’ve often seen summary-type paragraphs in people’s CVs. There’s plenty of misleading information available online, however, it is very important to have in mind that you are not the only person applying for the job.
This means that recruiters/hiring managers have tens of CVs sitting in their inbox. Imagine every single candidate wrote a paragraph or two as their CV opener. How time consuming would that be to read? Would they read it at all?
Who knows! They’d probably read the first few CV openers and therefore CVs as well, but after having to go through 10 of those, they’d give up.
For an effective CV opener, we advise to use bullet points. Bullet points are an excellent way to present information in a clear and concise manner. We’d suggest using between 5 and 10 bullet points that are your “best of”. In those, emphasize how great you are for the role and “hook” the reader. Have that in mind when writing your CV openers!
Mix & match
By now, you probably get the idea and you’re starting to realize how your CV openers should look like.
Here’s another tip: your previous experience, education & personal traits and skills should all be in the opening section. You need to make a strong statement, something that’ll make the reader say “WOW! I need to talk to this person!”
Again, it’s very important your CV openers are not just a copy-paste of the job ad. Yes, your opening section needs to be somewhat similar to the job ad, but don’t go overboard. Combine it with real-life stuff and something you think it’s important your potential employer knows about you.
The bottom line is this: Writing a perfect opening section might not be easy, but it is totally worth it! It can either make you or break you as a candidate. If the scanning software or the recruiters don’t find what they’re looking for in just a few seconds, you’re going to be rejected.
Check our other blog posts for more tips on CV writing and definitely get in touch if you feel like this is not something you’d want to do on your own.