By chunking information, the brain sees structure and a time frame in which that snippet of information can be read. As a result, the mind is more likely to be drawn to the information. Not only can this aid us when creating a CV, but it can also help with improving memory and retention of your details. This can be achieved through the utilisation of appropriate headings, subheadings paragraphs, and bullet points to condense information into digestible chunks.
Studies have indicated that the average short-term working memory can hold between 5-9 pieces of information; however, chunking the information allows for much greater retention of information (if interested read Miller's 'The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two'). When trying to remember a phone number, it is better to break it down into chunks. For example, the phone number 12345854321 is much easier to remember if we split it into 3 small chunks, e.g. 1234 - 585 - 4321, compared to if we try and remember all 11 numbers in one go. Chunking allows us to take small segments of information and combine them into a memorable whole.
The next section will discuss exactly how to integrate the principles of chunking into the structure of your CV.
Headings are particularly important to allow for chunking of information and the highlighting of key information applicable to the role you are applying for. It is up to you exactly how you arrange your headings, but below is one example that chunks information into digestible segments and is a tested formula.
1. Personal details
Provide a list of your personal details such as:
• Address for location (state if flexible, especially if the role is not within what you would perceive as commutable distance)
• Phone Number
If you have a LinkedIn, you could consider putting this link beneath your phone and email. CVs are usually read digitally for ease and GDPR purposes, and therefore hyperlinks will be clickable. This is especially useful if you have a well-kept LinkedIn page, and the reader takes interest in your profile. This is a good way of showcasing testimonials without dropping them into your CV.
If you wanted it to look more professional:
• You can get a LinkedIn button (picture) and paste it underneath the address on your document.
• Click on the picture and press Ctrl +K on PC or Command + K on a Mac. This opens a hyperlink window.
• Select 'Existing file or Web page' and then you can add the link to your LinkedIn by typing in the address, meaning anyone clicking on that button is now taken to your page.
• As an additional step, click on 'ScreenTip', this is the information that is displayed when you hover over a link. Type whatever you wish to be displayed when they hover over the button. Otherwise, it will show the entire link.
You can now test this link by holding Ctrl and clicking it on a PC or Command and clicking on a Mac.