Your CV is a summary of your career and a glimpse into who you really are. It is not meant to be a full biography of your life. The idea of a CV is to give enough information on yourself to make you be of interest to a prospective employer and make them want to know more, It is also the document that employers and recruiters will make their decision on as a starting point.
Years ago, when I first started job hunting, I was given a classic piece of advice – imagine that everyone who is interviewing for the role, is the same as you – same CV, same qualifications.
How are you going to get the job?
What makes you unique?
What makes you stand out?
Personality and how you present yourself is vital – and how you answer competency-based interview questions?
What to include…
Some candidates go to great lengths to make sure their CV is pretty adding in columns and boxes, and to be frank they over complicate the process. This can also make it difficult to add your CV to a recruitment system.
Put simply, if you can’t add your CV then we can’t send your CV to prospective employers. The key is to keep the layout simple.
What shouldn’t you include?
Reason for leaving
DOB – this means there is less chance of the person reading it being unconsciously or sometimes consciously bias.
When the discrimination law changed many years ago to not allow age on a CV this was a real game changer. I could give you many examples where I have placed older candidates who I believe wouldn’t have got an interview if their age was shown on their CV.
Last year I managed a role where we had to take names off as well so that you the hiring manager didn’t let gender affect the selection process!
Expand on your most recent roles and just use dates for the rest I always say a CV should be no more than 2 pages and your work history should span 10 years. If a prospective employer wants to know more – they will ask.
Know what you are good at and highlight it in the role – you may amend this later on, but your top skills will probably be things you want to continue in later life.
At the top of your CV you need to write a really compelling profile which really highlights your skills but also your personality.
The profile needs to be outstanding – it needs to be keyword friendly this is really important as many organisations and recruiters have systems that will filter your based on key words
Ensure you have the title of your job in your profile.
“I am resilient HR Business partner with ambition to move into a Head of HR role. My experience lays in working on complex employee relation cases, bringing to successful resolution; whilst being hands on through the process. I have worked in talent management and see this as a key factor in my next role and want to find an opportunity that allows me to grow in this area. I am passionate, keen to hit the ground running and able to foster excellent relationships with stakeholders and key partners in the business.”
You may have to tweak your CV for each role you apply for and whilst this can be time consuming it is critical that you sell yourself for the role your applying for and highlight the key attributes that the client is looking for. The benefit of working with a reputable recruiter is they will suggest changes you need to make to your cv to give you the best chance of getting an interview. You obviously don’t have this when you apply directly.
Cover note – unless this is specially asked for don’t bother. A recruiter will look at your CV to ascertain whether you have the necessary skills for the role and if you can imagine they have 200 applications they just won’t have the time to read a covering letter. Your CV should tell them enough and make it clear that you have the attributes.
- Short and Simple
- Sales Tool not a full novel
- Relevant to role applying for
- Cover letter not needed if the CV is right
- Profile and core skills need to have keywords
For more help on securing a job interview – you can watch our training video on how to ensure your social media is on point!