If you asked 10 Recruitment Companies and 10 Employers what they look for in a CV E.g. How detailed it should be? How many pages? How many years of employment are relevant? Should the candidate’s address be at the beginning or the end? We guarantee no two readers will agree.
We at Nicholas Recruitment will give you advice and tips below on our perception and experience of the most important factors in any CV. We will assume that you already have a CV in some shape or form and if not then there are lots of advice and templates available on the internet – just make sure you use a UK version and not American.
REVISIT YOUR CV
Firstly it is recommended that you revisit your current CV – have you just added to it each time you change jobs and duplicated the skills and tasks from the previous entry? – Then look again with fresh eyes and avoid any duplication. You will have gained new life and business skills since your first employment which will give you the chance to look back and re-assess those first jobs and highlight those achievements you had not realised at the time.
APPLYING FOR A JOB
If applying for a particular role, make sure you read and re- read the advert or job description and highlight those skills or experience you have gained and make sure they are visible in the content of your CV. We are always amazed at the applications we receive from candidates who clearly have the skills required but do not highlight these. Many candidate searches are now automated and are found by keywords, if these keywords are not in your CV then more often than not your CV will be overlooked. E.g. if you have SAGE experience make sure this is on your CV especially if it is crucial to the role, do not assume that because you are an “Accounts Administrator” that you will be found without this information.
Make sure that your previous job titles are understood by the reader and that they are clear. Do not abbreviate Job Titles e.g. BDM or AM as this can mean different disciplines in different industries. This is important for CV’s on job boards as again the searches are led by keywords.
If you have an unusual job title, then as a suggestion, if you are posting your CV on a job board then add an equivalent title or titles at the bottom of your CV in small print, this way your CV should be matched to jobs with those titles.
If you are applying for a role outside of your Industry, then assume that if the companies you have worked for are not household names and it is not evident from the company name what they do - then the reader/employer may never have heard of them so it is worth adding a sentence to describe the company e.g. Purple Penguin (General website design, graphic design, email marketing & branding).
If you are applying for a role that is target or numbers driven, usually sales related positions, then always add your past figures to your cv. Good sales people are proud of their sales achievements, for example "2015 Target – 300 units - achieved 95% and won award for most profit per unit".
Spelling mistakes and typos – take it as read, these are unforgivable especially as HR departments scrutinise CV’s before they get to the Hiring Manager – you will be discarded like last week’s bread.Even after you have computer spell- checked it is worth asking your partner or someone you trust to check your grammar and spelling again.
Inconsistent dates or mismatch of dates between CV and Linkedin.
Always make sure that the dates on your CV are concurrent and if there are gaps, then best to explain them on your CV as mismatched dates on CV’s cause suspicion and no matter how valid the absence may be, you may not get the chance to explain in person. Do not underestimate the power of your Linkedin profile – we have been told to decline applicants for very senior roles on more than one occasion due to mismatched information between a CV and Linkedin profile as it creates suspicion.
Honesty is the best policy every time – lie or exaggerate on your CV and you will likely be found out. Most employers will follow up on references and check the validity of any claims made by the applicant.
This is a professional networking site not a social media site. Take time to complete your profile as you would a CV. Do not- repeat do not!! - post pictures of you with your dog, or grandchild or with your wife/husband on your wedding day you have Facebook and Pinterest for that and ladies please it is not a dating site if you want to be taken seriously. A clear head and shoulders photo of you in business attire or a photo of you in a work related environment are the accepted norm.
It might sound incredulous that we mention this, however when people apply for jobs they offer their contact details on a separate introductory letter or email and assume that this information will be stored. Many database systems will only pick up this information from the CV. We therefore recommend that you make sure your CV has your up to date personal email address, daytime phone number or alternative if using a business phone, and your postcode are clearly visible on your CV.
Remember most job boards and database systems use post code radius search to match you with employers so this information is crucial.