The new year may provide the impetus to look for a new job, but is your CV good enough? A poll of 1,000 recruiters, by Adecco Retail, found it takes 34 seconds for an employer to decide whether a CV is worth further consideration. Cliches, lies and typos are all reasons people are not offered an interview. So how do you craft the perfect CV? Two experts give their tips.
“The key to a great CV is helping you stand out. You need to present yourself well, but you also need to ensure the experience you are communicating is relevant to the job,” says David D’Souza, the membership director of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the professional HR body. “Look at the job description, and make sure that it’s clear why you’ll be able to deliver in that role.” Some employers still welcome a cover letter, but he advises contacting the hiring team to gauge what they would like.
Mind your language
Avoid tired expressions such as passionate, hardworking and team player. “It does depend on the type of job you do, but use descriptive words that mean something,” says Ruth Cornish, an HR expert who runs consultancy Amelore.com. She likes the word “accountable”, as well as “achieve” and “purpose”. “What was the purpose of your role? Why were you there?”
Pay attention to detail
“It’s hard to be positive about yourself because we tend to be quite humble, and it’s hard to read your CV as if you’re seeing it for the first time,” says D’Souza. Show it to someone you trust – ideally, someone who has worked with you – and ask for feedback.
Keep it short
“Be concise and don’t be afraid to delete experience if it’s not relevant to that role,” says D’Souza. “People talk about the traditional two-page limit, but it depends on the sector and the seniority you’re going for but, broadly speaking, if you can keep it to two pages, the recruiter will be delighted.”
Recruiters will judge you on mistakes, either in structure or in spelling or punctuation. “Use auto-correct, but also get other people to check for errors,” says D’Souza.
Make sure it reflects you
The look and feel – making it polished and professional – is important. “What font have you used?” says Cornish. “Are there different fonts, and bold here and there? No header? Think about the use of colour. You can really polish that document.”
Don’t be afraid to include personal information
Don’t ramble on about your pets or travel experiences, but if you have been on maternity leave, say it. “People are more aware of the fact that women and men take time out to have children,” says Cornish.
Don’t necessarily include a photo
D’Souza is not a fan of photos. “They can be problematic – it invites people to evaluate you on how you look rather than the substance of your work. There is some debate about whether people should be inventive on CVs. If you want to play it safe, a traditional CV, highlighting your key achievements that are relevant to the role is still the best way of securing a job, unless it’s a particularly creative sector.”
Include interesting hobbies
Team sports look good, “or something which show a degree of dedication, but avoid things that are ‘I go out and enjoy socialising’ because that doesn’t tell them anything more about you as a person,” says D’Souza.
Or maybe don’t do a CV at all
“I’ve seen video CVs, where you just send in a clip about yourself,” says Cornish. “That’s increasingly common for younger, creative people. Rather than saying you’re creative, prove it.” It does depend on the sector; some recruiters will love it, some will hate it. “Frankly, it’s so competitive and HR people put so many hurdles in, if you can circumvent it all by sending a video to a senior person in a company saying ‘this is me, can I come and work for you?’ and they say yes, that’s worth doing.”
Source – TheGuardian