As a candidate consultant my role is to not only find candidates for existing roles we are recruiting for, but also to advise candidates who are actively looking for work on the do’s and don’ts when job hunting.
During a normal working day, I spend a lot of time looking through CVs. Given that there are 260 working days in a year, 8 hours in a working day and the 3 and a half years I’ve been in this position, that’s approximately 7,280 hours of CV viewing.
I’ve put together a few tips which, in my opinion, are where people sometimes fall short, which can easily be fixed! Your CV is the first thing a potential new manager will see from you. First impressions are so important and your CV is your tool to show off what you can bring to the role and why they should hire you!
Font: when I say font, I don’t specifically mean one font is better than the other but it needs to be consistently the same font and size throughout your CV. Equal spacing is also a must and always running a spell check is a good idea too.
Having the correct contact number and email is vital in your job search. Having the wrong information could be the difference between you getting the call about an exciting job opportunity, or the recruiter/ hirer not being able to get hold of you.
The market at the moment is competitive, with lots of strong candidates looking for work. This is your place to sum up your key skills, highlight what sets you apart to everyone else in the market and really let your personality come through. Writing what you are looking for will save you a lot of phone calls from recruiters wanting to speak to you about roles that you have no interest in. Be as specific as you can be, include details such as location, duties and the responsibilities you enjoy and most importantly full or part time working hours.
Your CV should have your most recent position first and then work backwards. Having your CV the other way around with your first ever position after you left school is quite frustrating for people trying to read it. Let’s face it, the paper round you had when you were 12 probably won’t land you your dream job!
As the saying goes "God is in the detail" ‘expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; details are important.’ You might not think that listing your duties and responsibilities is key, but it really is. If you have been in a position for a length of time and only have three bullet points to write about it, I’d be wondering what you’d been doing all that time or why have you not been given any more responsibilities. I wouldn’t advise pages of bullet points but anything that is relevant to a future job should be listed.
Think of them as your Unique Selling Points. Your key achievements are what sets yours apart from every other CV that a recruiter sees that day, so highlighting them is really important!
If you are unsure which direction your career should take, having different CVs tailored to different job titles is something I’d definitely recommend. This will help you keep your CV to a reasonable length and help the hirer see exactly what skills you have that are relevant to that particular job
Of course, there will always be exceptions to these tips, for instance a Marketing Grad dying to show off creativity and examples of work would present a CV completely different to an Administrator.
We offer lots more CV tips as well as an interview preparation on our Career Ally Hub.