I doubt there is such a thing as the perfect CV otherwise someone would no doubt have put some kind of copyright around it! I have seen hundreds of blogs giving advice on the perfect CV, but seeing as I have experience of being a hiring manager, recruitment consultant and an in-house recruiter, I thought I’d give some very quick “Do’s and Don’ts”
1 – Don’t include a photo
Why should you? Do you want someone to pass judgement and select you on the basis of how good you look in your Speedo’s whilst in Ibiza last year? That is of course unless you’re applying to be a model for a swimwear catalogue, in which case go for it!
2 – Do think about your personal details
Remember that this is the first thing that someone will see when they look at you CV. Make sure your name is there. Obvious I know but believe me the name does sometimes get missed. Put your qualifications next to your name e.g. if you spent years toiling over your professional accountancy exams – when you’ve passed, put the letters after your name as you’ve earned that right and its often the thing that the manager will be looking for. Make sure that your telephone contact number is correct and not a mobile that you had in 1983 and have an operational voicemail – how else will you know that you have an interview? Finally always include your social media links, provided of course that link to your profile is something would be happy to show your Mum. Potential employers may try to look you up before deciding to interview you, so show them that you are a clean-living, employable professional.
3 – Do think about the content of your CV – The “Bingo” moment
If you’ve applied for a particular role, try to ensure that everything that the employer wants or are ideally looking for is in your CV and if possible design your CV around the role you’ve applied for. For example if you’re applying for a senior role, do you think that the person reading your cv wants to know about every single duty you carried out as a part-time ice cream van assistant in Great Yarmouth in the summer holidays of 1993? I don’t think so either… When the prospective hiring manager is running their eyes over your words they’ll likely want to say “Bingo” on the first page, when they see that vital thing that they really want. Oh and don’t tell lies or make your duties or role sound bigger than they were as you will be found out!
4 – Don’t make it the size of Encyclopaedia Britannica.
There’s apparently a rule that it should be no longer that 2 pages long… Er – not sure who started that rule as it’s wrong! Basically you decide on the appropriate length and content, but think about point 3. Just make sure that what needs to be there is there and the rest can either be cut down to one-liners or mentioned briefly. The further back in your career you go, the less likely the reader of your CV will need to know the full in’s and out’s everything A word of caution though – don’t leave time gaps as the reader will assume you’ve attempted to hide something.
5 – Do start now and not then
Start your CV with your current/last role that you held and work backwards.
That’s it! No guarantees you’ll get the job, but might well make the reader look at your CV a bit more seriously and the rest they say, is up to you!