Skills for London

The Event of the Year

Trying to get attention

3 ways to catch a recruiter’s attention

With so much competition for every job vacancy, job seekers have to work extra hard to make their CV and cover letter stand out from the pile. Recruiters spend just a few seconds skimming over CVs and filtering them into a ‘yes’ ‘no’ pile, with the no pile quickly finding its way to the shredding machine. So how do you give yourself the best chance of making it to the right pile?

The number one rule is to remember that your recruiter is looking to see if you meet the job specification so the right information needs to be visible from a quick glance.

There are three main ways to make this happen:

  1. Write a tailored covering letter which is to-the-point
  2. Use bullet points
  3. Write a concise objective statement

1. Cover letter

Your covering letter needs to be straight to the point, telling the recruiter exactly how you meet the job specification. Read our examples of writing a good cover letter here:

How to write a cover letter

These include advice on what to do if you don’t meet the exact job specification.

2. Bullet points

Recruiters skim read CVs so don’t even try to make them trawl through paragraph after paragraph of text to find key facts – they just won’t bother.

If your recruiter wants to know that you can oral type and copy type to at least 40wpm, use Word and complete legal forms; put this information in bullet points, under a relevant job description. For example:

Legal secretary, XYZ Law Firm

  • Typing speed – 40wpm oral, 50wpm copy
  • Software used – Word and in-house CMS
  • Able to complete all commercial property forms

As a Legal Secretary in a busy commercial property department, I typed to dictation, completed a range of commercial property forms and completed all file administration appropriate to commercial property transactions.

It is immediately obvious you have the skills required by the job, without the recruiter needing to thoroughly read the paragraph under the bullets.

3. Objective/Personal statement

It’s essential to include a short objective statement at the top and indeed, this is what many recruiters will read. The objective statement should be about 3 lines long and introduce yourself, explaining what you’re looking for and why you meet the job specification. For example:

I am a Legal Secretary with 3 years of experience in a busy commercial property department. With a good working knowledge of all aspects of property transactions and can complete all typing and administrative aspects. I am looking for a full time role within a solicitor’s firm in any department.

You should tailor each objective statement to the role you’re applying for. Note that the objective statement may be labelled either ‘objective’ or ‘personal’ statement – both mean the same thing and this is a matter of your own preference.

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