The Sales Recruitment Network UK Ltd

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Getting your CV taken seriously

These blogs are usually written with the client in mind but often when interviewing candidates the blog is mentioned as some candidates do like to research as much as possible before contacting us.

With that in mind I thought I’d write a candidate focussed piece and briefly discuss CVs.

This isn’t a guide on how to write them, there’s plenty of good free advice out there and we don’t offer a CV writing service; the point of this exercise is to explain what we look for and what the common mistakes are to help our more diligent candidates to get it right.

If you are searching for a new role your CV is obviously the first way you have of introducing yourself. One of the benefits of working in a boutique agency rather than a CV factory is that we do take the time to read them, including the personal statement and we look for transferable skills as well as directly relevant experience but a well written CV will invariably be indicative of a good candidate and sadly vice versa.

So, to make the best possible impression, here are the key things to make sure your CV stands out:

Contact Details: Probably about 5% of CVs we receive have no contact details; no email, no telephone number; this is incredibly stupid. Your email can be back tracked if you’ve applied through a job board but is it, more to the point are you, worth the effort? Probably not.

The same is true of incorrect contact details; if you can’t get the fundamentals right you’re either very lazy or at best have poor attention to detail, neither of which reflects well on you.

Location: I understand why people don’t want to put their address on their CV; you don’t need to, but you do need a location; a town, the first three characters of your postcode. Many roles are geographically dependant and if you don’t give the information the implication is you’ve something to hide and are just wasting a recruiter’s time.

Dates: don’t have ’14 present; 16 – present; provide a finishing date for each role, not to do so is again at best lazy. Leaving dates off is highly suspicious and likely to get you binned.

Gaps: People do have gaps in their CV – explain them, otherwise big gaps read as warning signs.

Stability: This is important to most employers as they will invest in you and don’t want to waste their resources; if you’ve had a run of bad experiences explain them, failing to do so may lead people to conclude you were dismissed from one role to the next and will not call you.

Achievement: A lot of people fail in this area, their CV reads as a job description and not a reflection of what they’ve added to the business. Think about what you’ve done that makes you stand out and refer to it. If possible make it relevant for the role for which you’re applying.

Spelling and Grammar: It seems ridiculous to mention but again you’d be surprised how many badly spelt, badly worded CVs we get. It’s difficult to do this as your computer will indicate these mistakes, you have to override them! This morning I had an applicant who had been a ‘fotographer’; I don’t really need to say any more.

Be concise: rambling CVs discourage reading and the pertinent information is hidden. Be brief and to the point, you go into things in depth at an interview. People usually say too much because they actually have nothing to say.

Attention to detail: perhaps all of the above falls under this heading. Once you’ve written your CV read it, walk away from it for a couple of hours and read it again. Look for mistakes, make sure it reads well and contains all of the relevant information your targeted reader requires.

Remember it’s a document to introduce yourself in the first instance when you’re applying for a job that you want so make an effort to get it right.

Michael Thomason TSRN Southern

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