CV Writing; How to make a recruiter take a second look!
Today we have a great guest post from Daryl Tomlinson who brings us advice based his long term experience of working with a job board
The art to writing a CV that get’s you a job has been documented more times than a Z list celebrities ever fluctuating waist line. Theories, fact, fiction, what to say, what not to say, all added to the mix of a thousand plus books. I think however that writing a CV is actually a simple procedure, once the don’ts are eliminated.
In a way you can equate a CV to speed dating, you only have a short time to impress. Of course with speed dating you are face to face, you can use speech, expression, whereas with a CV you are relying on the words laid out bare in front of a prospective employer, but essentially you are looking to get your skills, your personality and background ‘out there’ in a short amount of time.
Having worked with a job board for over twelve years, there are continuing themes that loops ever present from recruiters when it comes to CV’s. From layout to spelling, there are certain, defining areas that will ensure a recruiter will add your CV to the pile marked recycle. So with that in mind, here are just a few don’ts.
Surprisingly in this day and age, spelling seems still to be a problem and when spell checkers are readily available it does seem strange that CV’s are still winging their merry way to recruiters littered with errors. It is something that can infuriate a recruiter and whilst I don’t think many can profess to an immaculate spelling mind, it is still essential a CV doesn’t contain mistakes.
Layout is another fundamental problem. For a recruiter, they need a clear and concise theme, they need to grasp the very essence of who you are and what you could bring to their company as briefly and quickly as possible. So a CV that is all over the place will make a recruiter give up. In a way it’s a bit like a story, you want the reader to want to read more, get to the exciting conclusion.
So starting with who you are is a must, then the core elements that make you right for the job, your recent career history, skills and education. You can then expand your work life further on, give more detail before finally getting to the who you are away from work.
Stamping your personality on your CV is a hit and miss affair. You might attract a potential employer with a wacky, colour drenched encyclopaedia of your life and works, but you are also just as likely to put them off. It is better to layout your CV in a ‘traditional’ way, putting main points clearly and leaving that wacky bit for the interests part.
There is also something else recruiters cringe at and that’s the ‘obvious profile’, the kind of waffle that seems to go on for an ice age without actually revealing anything about the candidate. It’s easy to write how driven you are and clutter the surrounding space with metaphors that could have come from the corporate bible on how to say little by saying a lot, but essentially it is copy from a thousand CV’s that every recruiter has seen over and over again.
It almost goes without saying you are a hard worker, that you are honest, that you work until the job is done. When these descriptions are used all the time they become redundant and meaningless and can almost have a negative effect because the recruiter will simply bypass it. In my mind a profile should snap, it should say what you are, what you do, what you want. Yes! What you want! After all you are not blindly staggering to employment, you have a desire to work and you know what you want to achieve.
In essence you are looking to make a recruiter take a second look, a third look, an interview. They want to know what you can do, who you are, will you do the job, will you fit in? Substance, personality and requirement.
Substance – All you are and have done in terms of you career/work history
Personality – Who are you, not just in work but out as well
Requirement – Do you match the recruiters expectations?
The job market can seem a ferocious dog eat dog environment, so don’t you deserve to have an edge?