Question: “I have had a conversation with a recruiter who said that presentation was more important than the content in my CV. This left me a little shocked, surely this cannot be right?”
Neville Rose says...
I would dearly love to agree with you on this point, however, experience says that the answer is not so clear cut. With most things in life, you would put content over presentation every time. However, with CVs, it's important to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter to understand why presentation is so crucial.
It is a well established fact that very little time is spent reading a CV. Research by Ladders.com in 2012 found that the average time spent reading a CV was just six seconds. This means that decisions on who will be called to interview will be made within the bat of an eyelid. Therefore, having the information in your CV laid out clearly, consistently and professionally is vital in these precious few moments.
Mistakes, typos and inconsistencies stick out like sore thumbs to the seasoned recruiter. The trained eye of a recruiter will home in on any issue with the presentation of your CV before they even think about what you are saying. This means that problems in presentation could pre-dispose the reader to thinking negatively about the content of your CV. That is why presentation is so important on a CV.
It is worth remembering that you have a great deal of control over the presentation of your CV. There really can be no excuse for spelling mistakes or other errors. By proof reading and taking great care over the presentation, you start off on the right foot with the reader. This allows them to place more energy on the content – which is really where you want to focus the attention of the recruiter.