Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is also true with CV’s

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is also true with CV’s

Well, it’s been a truly fascinating week, I’ve had so many great conversations with many truly superb operators and hopefully I’ve imparted some useful advice and guidance on the delivery and layout of CV’s – at the very least, the conversations have been interesting and it’s been a great work week!

I have to caveat all of my conversations with the fact that like many things in life ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and this is also true with CV’s – what I think looks nice and hits the mark, someone else may think differently, all I can do is go on my 20 year (feeling terribly old now!) experience of reviewing thousands of CV’s!


Here are some key points from my first week of CV reviewing:

  • The only purpose of your CV is to get you an interview – after that and it’s all down to you!
  • Location: Many ATS and CRM systems rely on location proximity searching so if you don’t include a location (at the least a town and postcode) you may never be found again.
  • Your CV needs to catch the attention of the reader quickly, if you don’t grab their attention in the 1stpage you could be written off.
  • Reverse format CV’s don’t tick boxes – delivering your CV with oldest job first just doesn’t work!
  • Scale – it’s hugely important to provide the reader with a sense of scale. If you led 500 FTE across 3 sites, 2 of which were offshore, shout about it.
  • Length – some people will say a CV should be 2 pages, some will say 3 – (in my view) it really doesn’t matter that much if what you have to say is sensible. Don’t space your wording so narrowly to cram it into 2 pages but again don’t feel like you have to fill white space with words for the sakes of it. I’d say keep it below 4 pages and you’ll be fine!
  • Photo’s – I literally have no idea if this is a good or a bad idea…………………….. but your photo is more than likely already on LinkedIn so maybe not really needed on your CV.
  • Linked in – while your LinkedIn profile doesn’t need to provide the depth your CV does, make sure the two match and make sure there’s at least a description of your role on your LinkedIn profile
  • Percentages / Numbers / Ratios – in your career you will have increased X by X% and will have reduced Y by Y%, you need to make this easily identifiable – this is the golden information for a potential hiring manager so it needs to be early on.
  • Key Achievements – this is (again, caveated hugely with ‘in my view!’) a truly crucial section. This section grabs the attention of the reader and makes them want to read on!

The main pointer I can give anyone is: put yourself in the shoes of a seriously time short hiring manager who has a pile of CV’s to look through. They don’t know you and may have never heard of the company you work for - what would they want to see quickly and easily to realise you are worthy of a call / interview.

If you’d like to have a frank, honest conversation with someone who doesn’t profess to know it all (as he most certainly doesn’t!) but likes to think he has some value to add free to get in touch and lets book a call.

Have a great weekend all, stay safe!