As a recruiter, few things are more irritating, frustrating and indeed off-putting than a long winded, overly descriptive, unnecessarily inflated CV. (Yes we are aware of the irony of that sentence).
Its totally understandable that job seekers want to represent themselves to the fullest, and with that comes the temptation to write every little thing that is the tiniest bit relevant. But this is quite often, a big mistake.
You see, people realise that their CV, or a completed application form is only the first step in the recruitment process, but still they use it to convince the employer that they are the perfect person for the job.
We have said it many times before and we will say it again, your CV is not intended to get you a job, it is intended to get you an interview, and therefore the level of detail which you include only needs to be sufficient enough to show that you fulfill as many of the essential and desirable criteria as possible.
“But it can’t hurt to have too much information surely?” you might think, but you’d be very wrong.
You must try and look at it from the employers perspective. For some vacancies they may receive hundreds of applications, and have the painstaking task of deciding which candidates to progress to the next stage of the application process.
In order to do this as swiftly and efficiently as possible, they will normally use an essential set of criteria, without which your application will not be shortlisted for the next level of the recruitment process.
The more detailed and long winded your CV is, the more difficult it will be for a recruiter to spot these essential criteria, and the greater the chance they will simply give up and move on to the next applicant.
This is why it’s so important that you take steps to streamline your CV.
Use bullet points- Writing in a prose style within your CV is pretty much a waste of time. Bullet points allow you to divide the information up into easy to process chunks, which clearly demonstrate the quality / experience that you intend them to show. They can also help with the ‘look’ of your CV, giving it an organised and professional appearance, just be careful not to use to many!
Choose Very Carefully- Whilst you might be proud of all that you have achieved, and wish to present yourself as well rounded as possible, you need to consider each and every piece of information within your CV and ask yourself the question “Is this really necessary?”.
For example, if you have spent 20 years employed in various roles within the publishing industry, is it really necessary to mention that you played netball in secondary school? Probably not.
Of course, if you are at the beginning of your career, and have little professional experience, details like this can help to give an employer a sense of who you are and the skills that you have. But for those who are more experienced, removing arbitrary points like this can help emphasize your other skills and experiences which are more relevant to the role for which you are applying.
Include a Cover letter– This is something that many people neglect to do, and whilst in most cases, not providing a cover letter does not result in an automatic disqualification from the process, including one can have substantial benefits in the short listing process.
One of the most significant of these benefits is that, if you include a detailed cover letter, say around 400 words) the pressure you feel to be incredibly detailed in the CV portion of your application is reduced, meaning that it is much easier to snip away the parts which aren’t entirely relevant to the role you are applying for.
Tailor your CV to every role- When you are looking for a job- and especially if you are making lots of applications- it can be really tempting to simply create one standard CV and send duplicates to numerous employers.
This can be a good idea if you work in a very specific field, but for the average person, a certain level of tailoring is necessary for every application that you make. This creates a really good opportunity to ensure that your CV is as succinct as possible. Use the job specification provided to cross-check your CV with the essential and desirable criteria, this will help to reduce the level of unnecessary details and make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light.
Restructure- People tend to find a CV structure they are comfortable with and never change it for the rest of their lives. But reassessing the format of your CV can ensure that you make the optimum use of space, without making it look cluttered or cramped.
This will take a little research on your part, it’s a good idea to make a few different CVs, don’t look at them for a few weeks and then examine them to see which you find most easy to follow and base your decision on this.
Hopefully these quick tips have given you some ideas on how to streamline your CV. If you need some more tips, you might like to take a look at some of our other recent CV related posts.
How to give your CV a makeover
5 Easy ways to imporve your CV
Top CV mistakes you should avoid