Your CV, Curriculum Vitae, Resume, Profile…it’s basically the first thing a consultant or future employer will read about you. A snapshot of who you are, your life and work experience. The piece of information held on file that will generally be used to decide whether to take your application further. With this is mind, it’s pretty crucial you get it right.
1) Don’t Make It Too Long (or too short!) – Everyone knows the golden rule, keep your CV down to two sides of A4 maximum. Well, at least we expect them to know this. It’s surprising how many CVs we see every day that have gone way over this length. Seriously nobody has time to trawl through a six-page document. Likewise, don’t sell yourself short, a one pager might not be long enough to include everything you need to in order to communicate a more rounded picture of all your skills and experience. Saying that we were blown away recently when we received an excellent one-pager from an experienced job seeker…
2) Check Your Grammar – Hard to believe that in this age of spell checks, grammar checks, online thesaurus and so forth, we still receive CVs that are full of basic errors. Read, read and read again. Better still, get a friend to proofread it for you. A fresh pair of eyes can often spot mistakes, typos and badly constructed sentences that you may have missed. Although you don’t want your CV full of buzzwords, it’s important to include a few keywords pertaining to your industry or sector, in case your CV is put through talent acquistion software (which we don’t use by the way!).
3) Layout – Make your CV easy to follow. Always put your most recent experience first and break each role down into easy to digest bite-size sections. Use headers and different font sizes to help the reader navigate easily through your CV. Use bullet points where you can, just make sure each one is adequately communicating your skills and achievements and adds value to your CV.
4) Focus on Achievements – It’s simply not enough to write a list of everything you have done since leaving full-time education. Hiring Managers ultimately want to understand what you have achieved in your previous positions and how this is relevant to the role they are now recruiting for. In other words, they want to read actual results. Treat your CV a bit like a sales pitch, it won’t be seen as boasting if you can back up what you are saying with real facts and figures.
5) Don’t Leave Out Skills – As much as we don’t advocate you listing every computer software programme you have ever used, it can be really easy to miss out skills or ‘hobbies’ that you don’t think are relevant. However, voluntary work, courses you have taken, out of work activities you enjoy such as photography, cooking, painting, sports, writing can really help future employers see you as a more rounded individual. Who knows, an employer might view some of these skills as being useful for the company and they could help you stand out from the crowd.
Of course, it’s not just about your CV but if you get the basics ‘write’ the rest should come easy. It can be challenging getting across everything you want to in a CV but this is the first step to getting noticed and making a great impression.
However, a decent consultant will spot a good candidate, even if their CV isn’t up to scratch. As the integration of AI processes becomes increasingly commonplace within recruitment, there is a risk that a strong candidate could be filtered out, jus because their profile doesn’t match the algorithm. Here at Greybridge, we manually read and consider every CV. We have helped many potential candidates improve and rewrite parts of their CV before putting them forward for a role. Furthermore, we always take the time to speak to candidates over the phone and meet with them face to face. This way, our candidates are so much more than just a name in a database. We get to know them and can genuinely discuss their skills, achievements and personality with perspective employers.
This personal touch means we can match the right candidates to roles, not waste anyone’s time and look beyond the CV to make sure the candidate fits the company culture as well as the job specification. A win win situation all round.