CVs And Resumes

CVs And Resumes Sometimes Just Get In The Way

As a head-hunter and Career Coach I see so many CVs and resumes that look as though they are designed to get in the way of what I (or any other recruiter) might need to know about you the candidate. They vary from pure meaningless waffle without any identifiable facts to lengthy tomes with so much detail they send me to sleep. And I persevere where many others wouldn’t bother.

My least favourite CV of recent times was seventeen pages long. The first page had only the candidate’s name on it (you know who you are don’t you?) and the second page was devoted to a full page head and shoulders photograph. The other 15 were packed full of so much information that I felt I knew his life history.

Most professionals I know would not take the trouble to even read this; someone here seems to need to justify their existence. At this point I lose interest.

Don’t do this to yourself!

All the poor recruiter wants to know is: should I interview this candidate?

So make it easy for them to conclude: yes I want to interview this candidate. That is the sole job of your CV or resume.

Get your information in the right order and keep it brief and relevant. Too much information can disguise all the good things you have to offer, because nobody can find them.

The first page is the most important part of the CV or resume. The reader needs to see immediately who you are, what you have to offer and how they can get hold of you.

  • What specific skills are showcased on your CV or resume?
  • Have you clearly identified your level of expertise and competence?
  • Have you worked in different sectors?
  • A short section of “Key Skills & Achievements” can cover a lot of ground for you.
  • Have you done everything you can to convince and reassure your reader that an investment in your skills is a good choice?

If you have an impressive but meaningless job title – change it to convey its real meaning.  At interview you can explain “my actual job title was…

When you come to laying out your employment history always start with the most recent job – employers take most notice of current skills and experience.

Within each employment section you should include the company name, the dates, your job title (but see above) and two or three lines which describes the purpose of your job. By this I mean why are you employed there at all.

You should then follow this by detailing how you have met that purpose, including achievements and outputs quantified wherever possible. These can of course be simple bullet points of information.

Go back through your history but don’t bother too much with what happened more than 10 years ago; with the pace of change much of it may not be too relevant any way.

For a more comprehensive view of constructing a CV or resume that will not only be read, but also acted upon you will find guidance on this site in developing what should be included as well as specific examples of CVs you could model yours on.