Many CVs simply aren't compiled with forethought and logic. We asked some e-cruiters and recruitment specialists to share some of their thoughts on what makes a CV really stand out among the many, and how to leave a professional impression.
Here are some of their comments:
- "Layout is very important. It's easier to read and digest skills and experience that have been bullet pointed. Some people reel out lengthy text which is unlikely to be read."
- "An overview of your background is all that is necessary; save the details for the interview."
- "People tend to puff up their CV with nonsense and meaningless words. Phrases such as 'team player' make no impression if they're not backed up with examples."
- "Seventy per cent of the CVs we receive are too long. Two pages is sufficient to make the right impression and secure an interview."
- "People often omit critical details, such as their current employer - recruiters all have respect for confidentiality. Don't forget to mention your gender, if it isn't obvious according to your name."
- "Make use of a personal summary to briefly describe yourself out of the workplace. Recruiters like to look for this at the end of a summary for any interesting additional information about character."
- "Work experience is the first thing people look at ... you must spell out what skills you have, transferable or otherwise."
- "The CV is used as a process of elimination. It should cover one or two pages; any more can be quite off-putting to have to look through. Even people with a lot of experience should try to put all the relevant information on one page.
- "Generally there are three purposes to a CV: it highlights your values to a potential employer, it gives a structure to what you have done and is used as substance for the interview.
- "A CV should be concise. Precision and relevance are very important. It needs to be geared towards the area of work you are going into. Use bullet points because then you can start each sentence with an action word, such as 'developed' or 'managed'."
Catherine Fleming, a psychologist with Career Psychology Ltd., a careers analysis and advice service.
- "The CV needs to be clearly laid out. Bullet points are good. Obviously there shouldn't be spelling errors. If you've had a gap in your employment, don't worry about it as long as you can explain it.
- "Don't bother putting your age or date of birth on a CV, it's just a waste of space. Your level of experience will give away your age and, if you make it to interview, the interviewer will have an idea of age on meeting you."
Dylan Armbrust, editor of Computeractive magazine.
- "To be honest, I don't place too much emphasis on the CV. It's much more important for me to meet face to face and start talking to the person because that's when you discover the hidden skills.
- "I like to refer to the 'Feng Shui CV', the CV that's easiest on the eye! I usually gloss over a CV very quickly because I always like meeting people in person anyway and hearing all the gory details then. It sticks in my memory better.
- "Originality is always a good way to present a CV because it shows personality and that's who you are! Don't be afraid to show it."
Rebecca Cleary, MD, KSC Webstars, specialists in online recruitment.
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