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CV Clinic

The importance of a strong CV cannot be underestimated in this highly competitive candidate market but does yours do the job? Does it look right, say the right things and more importantly, is it helping or hindering my job search?

When creating a CV, people often get excited about the way it looks but forget that it is a functional document with a very important job to do!

So, before we start constructing a CV we need should ask ourselves: What is the purpose of a CV? What single task does it need to achieve? To get noticed? To get a job? To get an interview? The answer is simple, to solicit contact. The only function that the document needs to achieve is to get them to contact you. With that in mind you need to focus on what information is needed to gain that contact.

Let’s look at the recruiters view for a minute. Recruiting can be a long and painful task with no guarantees of finding the right person despite often sifting through hundreds of applications. Add to this the pressure of making the right decision and not wasting the company’s cash on the wrong candidate and you get the idea that it’s not a task that many relish.

Having advertised a role, they are now faced with the prospect of sorting through the applications. This is a highly repetitive and time-consuming task so whilst they are keen to find the right person, they do not want to read your CV!!

In short, you need to get in and get out as fast as you can; deliver enough information to let them make a considered decision as quickly as possible. Information needs to be comprehensive but succinct; too much and the reader will find it hard to find what they need, too little and your work history will lack 'credibility'.

So, when designing your CV ensure that you don’t sacrifice information for beauty. It might look fantastic but if it can't tell the reader that you have the skills and experience they are looking for, you just won't make it through the initial sift.

Things to do:

Include achievements. Potential employers like people who have a history of achieving in previous roles and it gives them confidence that you are likely to perform well for them.

Evolve and adapt. CVs should generally be geared specifically towards the job for which you are applying. For instance, when applying for sales management roles, it is unlikely that detailing your ability to manage building operations will help you in your cause. However, by demonstrating you history of managing sales teams and driving revenue lines, your application will be received much more favourably. Think about the role you are applying for and try to predict the qualities that the employer may be looking for, then adapt your CV to suit.

You should continually update your CV to include new qualifications and your most up to date employment history.

Include Figures. Ideally, you’ll be able to back up your achievements with financial or numerical data as evidence. This is a massively powerful tool for convincing employers of your ability to perform. You don’t necessarily need to include exact monetary values but percentages work equally well. For instance, “increased year on year sales performance by 37%”.

Be concise. Keep your CV factual rather than conversational and avoid stating opinions. Ideally you should use bullet points to break your CV up and make your heading clear so that if the reader wants to find your employment history straight away, it is easy to do.

Be accurate. Make sure that any data you include in your CV is entirely accurate as vague information will be a cause for concern for an interviewer. This especially applies to dates of employment. It is essential that you include the months that you started and finished your roles as well as the years. By putting 2007-2008, you could have worked one month or twelve months!

Things to avoid:

Large chunks of text and overly long personal profiles. Any employers receiving high volumes of CVs won’t want to spend time ploughing through paragraphs trying to find relevant information.

Using text language or slang. Remember that the employer will make assumptions about you from your interview so they would expect you to put together a professional CV and that your oral and written communication is effective.

Grammar or spelling mistakes. Your CV is a representation of yourself as a candidate and poor grammar and spelling mistakes lessen your chances of getting an interview. Take plenty of time over you CV, read it back to yourself and ask someone else to read it through and most essentially, run a spell check before you submit it!

Stretching the truth! In industries as small as leisure, it’s a massive risk to put things on a CV that can’t be substantiated. Keep it real!

Using pictures or graphics. These tend to clog up email systems and can often be spammed by servers so it may not get there at all! It also creates the impression that you are trying to divert attention from content that may be lacking on the CV.

Good luck!!

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