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Tel: 0141 442 0011

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CV Guide

Everybody, regardless of the stage of their career, needs a current well-presented CV close at hand, ready to respond to a great opportunity.

Your CV is a vital part of your job search toolbox. One Recruitment can help you get started on preparing the best CV you've ever had!

CV Content

A list of essential information can be a great starting point, a checklist to help you evaluate your skills and aspirations.

Personal details

List your name and contact details at the top of the first page, including your postal address and a telephone contact number. Include your email address only if it is private and you can check for incoming messages at least once a day. As a general rule, don't include your work number unless you have a private office where you can take a phone call without being overheard.

An alternative is to include your home phone number and check for messages at regular intervals during the day. If you don't have an answer phone, consider subscribing to voice mail while you are job-hunting. If you live in a share household, make sure your flatmates know you may be receiving calls from prospective employers.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are your achievements expressed in terms of the benefits and value you have added to your employers?

Many people talk about their achievements from a personal perspective rather than from their employer's. Future employers want to know what contributions you have made in your career to the organisations for which you have worked. They want to know what you have done for others so they can decide whether you are likely to be able to do something of value for them.

Are your key strengths and abilities obvious and demonstrable?

A CV is like a brochure. You are the product. This means that the benefits of inviting you to an interview must be obvious from the outset. An effective approach is to summarise your competencies, skills, areas of expertise - the "offer" - up front. The rest of the document should then corroborate and expand on your offer and provide examples to substantiate what you claim to be your key strengths.

This last point is important. 

We have seen too many CV's where the person claims to be an excellent contributor to a team, only to find no evidence in the rest of the document to suggest that they had ever worked in a team (see point 5 below). I recommend the key strengths section be limited to those attributes, qualifications, areas of expertise and knowledge that really are your strong suits. This means that a list of 30 (and I have seen this) so called key strengths is unlikely to enhance your credibility.

Are your strengths linked to your achievements and accountabilities?

For example, if you claim to be an effective leader, then your experience and achievements should verify this. In this case it would mean, at the very least, that you have had significant experience in being responsible for managing the performance of one or more teams during your recent past. At best, it would mean that you have improved the performance, morale, motivation and turnover rates of the teams you have led.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY - Does it encourage the reader to read the rest of it after they've read the first half page?

There is a corporate myth that your CV will only get 30 seconds attention. This is not true. Some CV's only last 15 seconds before they reach the circular filing cabinet. It takes most people about that long (some claim even less) to form an opinion about you based on your CV. If they like the first half page, what it says about you and how it depicts you, it will stimulate them to make the effort to read the rest. It's a bit like a newspaper or magazine article. If the headline and the first few paragraphs interest us, we are more likely to put effort and time into the rest.

Therefore, ask yourself: "What is of interest to my reader in the first half page?" Most people ask the reader to read their home address, e-mail address, phone numbers, date of birth, marital status, name of their kids and dogs and all sorts of detail before they get to the heart of the matter. Put your contact details in the header or footer of the document. Many people start off with their qualifications and education. Why? This is of little interest to the reader at this point. If they don't like what you have to offer, they won't care where you live or how to contact you or that you have more degrees than a thermometer.

Does it explain what you do beyond your job description?

One of the main weaknesses we see in CV's is when people provide the reader with a list of duties or tasks and think that is all the reader wants to know. In many cases, the reader will already be familiar enough with the nature of the work you have done to know what your duties were. For example, if you are a Financial Accountant for a commercial enterprise, the reader, either a Recruitment Consultant specialising in finance roles or a manager in charge of the company's finance or accounting function, will have a reasonably good grasp of what a Financial Accountant does. In fact, if you were to examine position descriptions for the Financial Accountant of 50 different organisations you will find an 85% overlap. Just look at the job advertisements for ten or so positions in your own field of expertise and note the similarity between the position requirements.

Therefore, you need to ask what you can tell the reader that they might not know and that will interest them. I am not saying that your responsibilities or duties should not be concisely summarised, but an effective resume will deliver more than this. The reader will want to know what you were accountable for ensuring or achieving, what value your current and previous jobs were designed to add to the business of the organisation, the level, nature and scope of your accountabilities, your decision making authority and the impact the job has or had on the organisation.

Is it well structured and organised?

There should be a logical flow and structure to the CV. You can read 11 books on writing CV's and find 12 opinions on the best way to structure and organise them. At the end of the day, the reader needs to know where you worked, when you

There is a corporate myth that your CV will only get 30 seconds attention. This is not true. Some CV's only last 15 seconds before they reach the circular filing cabinet. It takes most people about that long (some claim even less) to form an opinion about you based on your CV. If they like the first half page, what it says about you and how it depicts you, it will stimulate them to make the effort to read the rest. It's a bit like a newspaper or magazine article. If the headline and the first few paragraphs interest us, we are more likely to put effort and time into the rest.

Therefore, ask yourself: "What is of interest to my reader in the first half page?" Most people ask the reader to read their home address, e-mail address, phone numbers, date of birth, marital status, name of their kids and dogs and all sorts of detail before they get to the heart of the matter. Put your contact details in the header or footer of the document. Many people start off with their qualifications and education. Why? This is of little interest to the reader at this point. If they don't like what you have to offer, they won't care where you live or how to contact you or that you have more degrees than a thermometer.

The first half page or so should be like a teaser. It should stimulate interest and arouse curiosity. You can achieve this by providing a brief career overview and setting out your offer up front.