I recently ran a survey asking in-house and in-agency recruiters about the level of CVs they receive .. the results were astonishing!
Every single one of them stated that the majority of CVs were “fundamentally awful” and most hit the bin within seconds. When pressed further, it turned out that as many as 9 out of 10 CVs they received, were irrelevant. The top 5 reasons for this were:
- Not relevant at all to the job applied for
- Key skills not clearly listed
- Bad spelling and grammar
- Too long
- Badly presented
There were also some funny and more unusual CVs recruiters reported receiving, including:
- One CV which included a photo of the candidate on a horse
- A CV with the opening objective “I really don’t want a job, but I’ve been told I must apply to 10 this week. No contact details given, for exactly this reason”
- A CV with only a name, telephone number and the text “Call me, I do anything”
Obviously, these are extreme, however, the question is, if 9 out of 10 CVs are potentially going to be used for wrapping paper, are you spending the time needed to fine-tune your CV and make sure it is relevant?
With the rise of technology, it is now just so easy to search and apply for jobs online. Some sites even offer intelligent AI ‘one-click application’ software and virtual recruiters to apply for you. As a result, more and more jobseekers are seen to be applying for jobs ‘willy-nilly’, leaving recruiters frustrated and having to spend hours and hours sifting through hundreds and hundreds of irrelevant CVs.
This ease to apply, is directly the reason why technology now also plays an ever-increasing role in CV pre-screening to help filter these mass volumes of applications. It’s critical then that a CV is not only eye-catching, but is also 100% application tracking technology (ATS) friendly. Almost all large employers and recruitment agencies now use ATS in some form or shape. So, it is the computer now that most often is the first to says, yes or no. If, however, your CV does then pass through the robot pre-screening phase, it then needs to be attractive, easy to read and relevant to instantly grab the attention of the human recruiter.
All this makes it more important than ever to ensure you spend time making sure your CV is professional, well written, highly relevant and stands out.
Here are my tips to help you then:
- Always try your best to keep your CV to two pages. Only go to three pages if the content is especially relevant to the position you are applying to OR if you are a contractor/freelancer and need to detail the projects you have worked on
- Have a strong opening summary with the first sentence explaining exactly what you do. For example, if you are a ‘Sales Manager’, put this in the first sentence to enable the recruiter to instantly connect you to the job
- Use the rest of page one to provide the reader with as much “high-line” information about you as possible. Key skills, attributes/soft skills, major achievements, education and voluntary work are important
- Use page two for a short, sharp career history and create a journey for the recruiter.
- Make it easy to read and include your job title, the name of the organisation, time in position and your key responsibilities and achievements
- Never put referee contact details on your CV as some recruiters will use this information to contact your ex-boss (or even current boss!) and sell their services to them
- Put your name and contact details at the top of page one and in the footer of all pages
- Always send your CV in WORD format unless directly requested to send it in PDF. WORD is 100% compatible with all ATS, PDF is not
- Make sure you have a short, directly relevant cover note to support the CV, this way the recruiter knows it is you “a human” applying to the job, and not a robot
- Always have a professional LinkedIn Profile that mirrors your CV, so recruiters can check that what you say you do on your CV, matches what you say you do online. 100% of professional recruiters use LinkedIn, not only to source and headhunt, but also to check for relevance.
About Ben Muir – Recruitment Director of The CV Squad. Over 20 years recruitment, professional CV writing and Career Coaching experience. Former CEO of a leading employers only job board and Executive Board Member of a global bluechip and industry recruitment body.
About The CV Squad – The CV Squad is the UK’s leading and multi-award winning Premium CV Writing Service. A hybrid team of highly experienced professional recruiters, CV writing experts, LinkedIn Profile creators and Career Coaches, who have all come together to share knowledge and arm jobseekers with the tools they need to secure the best jobs, salaries and career success.