How Highly Do You Value Your CV?

How Highly Do You Value Your CV?

Have a quick think now about the most important documents in your life. You know the ones – hidden in the back of a drawer or cupboard that create a moment of panic every now again, when for a split second, you can’t recall that ultra-safe place you put them.

Did you think, “an up to date CV”? I am guessing not!

But why not?

Unless you’re “in the zone” of job-hunting, you always think of your CV as being something that you don’t need to worry about, or devote any of your valuable time to. However, these days, more and more recruiters – myself included – spend much of our time targeting passive candidates, rather than relying on job adverts. Passive candidates are people who are not actively job-hunting, but those of you who would be open to looking at a suitable or attractive opportunity should it happen to land on your online lap – just at the moment you didn’t get that pay rise you felt you deserved!

Rather than having that moment of panic, where you need to update and send over your CV that night for a role where interviews have already started (meaning you will no doubt make a few typos and fail to evidence just how far you have come in the last few years), why not keep your CV updated once every few months? This means that with a minimum of effort it will be ready for a successful launch at short notice – just in case!

It really is very important

Pause for a moment and think about how much your CV can or has influenced and steered not only your career path, but also your life. That may sound a bit dramatic, but there will be multiple times in your life when your CV has, or will, determine your life choices and opportunities. Those that will present themselves and those that won’t. We have all had those “what if” job or career conversations with our friends down the pub. ”What if I’d gotten that interview at Google?”

As a recruiter, I probably see around twenty CVs a day, and of those, I would estimate that a maximum of five of them will actually be good. And by “good”, I mean the quality of the CV layout, spelling, grammar, succinctness and inclusion of relevant detail, to name but a few. This is not based on the candidate’s career level. It is true to say that some CVs may make a candidate seem better than they actually are, but the vast majority definitely undersell the person they’re introducing to the relevant recruiter or hiring manager.

Why the lack of good CVs?

This is mainly down to one thing – laziness!  For some reason, most people can’t be bothered to invest time in making their CV stand out from the crowd. Most people put their CV together when they’re first applying for jobs and then just add to the same version over time. These are the same people that use the scattergun approach to job hunting, sending out their uninspiring CVs to hundreds of job adverts and then wondering why they don’t hear anything back. Recruitment and job-hunting shouldn’t be a numbers game.

Research suggests that each CV is looked at for a maximum of six seconds before the person reviewing it decides whether it goes into the yay, nay or maybe pile. There are those CVs that say ”Hey, look at me! Aren’t I great and easy to read! You’re interested in me and want to read more don’t you?” The rest will say, ”Look at me. I’m four full sides of small black, same sized font text – most of which you won’t find interesting or relevant to this opportunity.” I don’t need six lines on a job you did fifteen years ago, or your GCSE results twenty years ago, and I might even find an old phone number or email address that hasn’t been used in two years! We all know which pile these CVs will end up on…

Don’t even get me started on making sure you use a professional sounding personal email address. As much as “hunglikeadonkey” or “sexysarah” might cause a minor moment of amusement, they will only accelerate your CV into the “nay” pile – and yes, those were both real examples. The same applies to the filename you give your CV when emailing it. If you’re applying for a job this week, please don’t email me a file called, “New CV – 2012”.

What next?

In this digital climate, there really are no excuses for having a poor CV! You no longer need to look on a cork board on the wall of your local fish and chip shop for a business card from someone wanting £299 to write your CV for you.

Thanks to companies like hashtagCV that will help you create an amazing looking CV for a low cash outlay, this can all be done to a professional standard, without an expensive outlay. Then, once you have your great looking CV, take more time to think about the companies and jobs you want to apply to, and make more effort with your application. Be the tortoise, not the hare on this occasion, and you will be amazed at how many more positive responses you start getting.

Finally, think carefully about the structure of your CV. By getting the order of information right, you will maximise your chance of success in those all-important first six seconds! I am always amazed at how many people still put their degree qualification, key skills, or their “about me” profile near the end of their CV. These should be in the top half of page one people!

Come on everybody, put more effort in! Make better use of online resources like hashtagCV and make your CV a high priority document! Every time you achieve something, be it a promotion, a new key skill, a qualification, etc; make a point of adding it straight to CV. You never know when your next great opportunity will arrive – and you want to be ready for it!

I hope you found the above useful and interesting. That’s all from me for now as I’m off on a relaxing European break. Now where did I put my passport?

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