Ever wondered how long top executives spend reading your CV?

After being shortlisted by human resources, your CV lands on the desk of the real decision maker.

In the finance, accounting and banking industries, this decision maker is often the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

According to recruitment firm Robert Half, CFOs in Singapore take an average of 9 minutes and 32 seconds to decide whether a person is worth interviewing or not hiring at all.

Singapore CFOs are the second fastest in Asia when it comes to assessing applicants for jobs - and the fourth fastest in the world.

On average, Singapore CFOs take nine and a half minutes to read a CV. Hong Kong CFOs clocked the shortest time, taking slightly over eight minutes to assess a potential job applicant's CV.

Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half Singapore, says: "While 10 minutes may seem quick, it is a lot of time for a busy CFO. And this means candidates need to make sure their CV has impact. Make every sentence count."

She went on to explain that CVs form the basis of an interviewer's questions. As such, a good CV can lead the interview in the direction the candidate wants it to go.

In the past, most people simply updated their CV as they advanced their career. Regardless of what position they are applying for, their CV remains essentially identical. In today's context, that's just not going to cut it.

To portray yourself as the ideal candidate, one needs to highlight their most salient attributes and key strengths, tailoring your CV to match what the company is looking for.

Ms Tang also added a few common CV pitfalls to avoid:

- Don't just state the positions and responsibilities that you have held. Illustrate how well you have carried out the work through your list of achievements.

- Don't mistake responsibilities for achievements. They are different and achievements reflect how you added value to an organisation.

- A CV should be clear, visually attractive and demonstrate your future potential.

- A basic rule of thumb is to express your skills and qualities in present tense when crafting your CV and most importantly, be objective.

cyap@sph.com.sg