15 CV tips from recruiters who have seen it all!
I recently wrote a blog about the top 10 interview tips from the team here at Corriculo so now it’s time for the team to share their CV tips;
- If you don’t want to include your full address, at least give the first part of your postcode or the town. The postcode will always be preferable. Like it or not, searches are done initially based on location and without your location, your CV might not be found. If you’re moving then put the details of the town you’re moving to.
- Don’t use a work email or phone number. Any details on your CV will be used to contact you. If you are still with the company it might get you into trouble. If you’ve left, the contact details will be useless.
- It is also a good idea to include your usernames / URLs for social media sites such as LinkedIn (customise the URL first) and Twitter. For those of you with technical backgrounds, your GitHub ID, or any other similar sites you are involved in, can help to showcase your work. If you have one, include a link to your blog and/or website. Note of caution – only include any links if they contain professional content! Your potential employer is going to look at this, so you want them to get a good impression of you.
- Don’t use headers and footers. Not all recruitment agencies get a human to check every CV before it gets added to the database and so your contact details may be lost if you don’t have them in the body of the CV.
- Don’t include your National Insurance, driving license or passport number or your bank details. There is no need for them to be on your CV and may lead to identity theft.
- There is no need to include your date of birth, marital status or details of your family.
- Don’t include a photo, it can increase the likelihood of your CV being disregarded. In the UK they are generally frowned upon, even though in some countries they are actively encouraged. If people really want to know what you look like, they can check out the LinkedIn address you’ve given them.
- You can leave your reference details off the CV. There is a risk that someone will call your current boss for a reference without permission if the number is there. That can lead to an awkward chat with your boss!!
- Although PDFs can have certain formatting advantages, you’re much better off using Word for your CV. They tend to work better with the software that recruiters and HR departments use (some are unable to process PDFs at all) and recruiters will often need to be able to remove your contact details, or even your name and other identifying information, if “blind shortlisting” is being used, which they cannot if it’s a PDF.
- Your CV doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be!) War and Peace. Ideally keep it to 2-3 pages. That can be more difficult for those of you who do contract work or who have a lot of experience but if you’re getting to 10 pages long then the last pages simply won’t be read!
And our top 5 tips:
- Use simple and consistent formatting. Only use one font throughout your CV. Go for a classic, simple font such as Calibri or Arial (apparently no-one uses Times New Roman anymore). Make sure that you use the same style of bullet points and ensure the document looks consistent throughout.
- ALWAYS include your phone number, and ideally an email address, on your CV. Make sure than any email address you use is professional. If yours might not be then just set up a dedicated account for job hunting
- Make sure your skills are on your CV, including all technical skills, ideally at the beginning of the document. It sounds simple but if you’re a C++ developer or Prince2 certified, make sure the words appear on your CV. That way whoever is reading your CV can quickly tell that you’ve got all the skills they ask for. It also makes it more likely that searches will bring your details up, so that you can be contacted about roles.
- Always proof read your CV. Twice. And then get someone else to check it as well. Typos and grammatical errors are a real gripe with hiring managers and can often lead to your CV being rejected. It’s always questionable when someone writes that they are “highy accurate” or “pay closer attention to detail.”
- Tailor your CV for each application. A tailored CV has a much higher success rate than a generic one. Whilst you cannot tailor a CV that you have put onto a job board database, if you are actively applying then make sure you have highlighted anything that makes you a good fit for the job.
Your CV is the first, and frequently only, contact that you will have with a recruiter/HR so you want to make it count. You’d be surprised how often your CV gets pulled off a database without a human ever seeing it, just some software scanning it for key words! Even if a person does see it then it’s usually only scanned for something like 30 seconds before the reader decides if they should carry on reading or not. These simple tips will help you to play the job hunting game and make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to secure interviews. Good luck with the job hunt.
Victoria Watkins is Office Manager here at Corriculo Ltd. After working as a Recruitment Consultant for 5 years she moved to Office Management for an IT consultancy 7 years ago. Victoria was one of the first members of our team and deals with all of our administration and accounts. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+