The CV – Your Shop Window
The CV – Your Shop Window.

Having been spent the last number of years in commercial recruitment and before that in HR, I have seen my fair share of CVs. I have read them , corrected them, rewrote them and at times had to shread them. ( Sorry…but it’s true.)
When I opened the post or my inbox on any given day, the CVs that awaited me, usually ranged from the brilliant to the absolutely awful.
What they all had in common though was that the sender had the same fundamental aim – they wanted this to represent them – their skills, experience and qualifications and this to be their way-in to securing an interview and ultimately a job.
I think we sometimes forget this aim – a CV is in a way a bit like a shop window display – if an employer likes what they see, they are intrigued to go into the store and find out what else is there; if they don’t then they just walk on by.
And whilst an employer may have literally thousands of “stores” to choose from, it is up to you to make sure that yours stands out – for all the good reasons.So, I’ve compiled a few tips to help ensure that happens.

Do Check your Contact Details.
Whether you’ve changed your mobile number or have just moved house , make sure you update this on your CV. This is a detail, many people simply forget. Updating your CV is about more than just adding in your most recent job or listing newly acquired qualifications – after all if you fail to add your new contact number, you’re not going to get that long awaited call about a job.

Do Use Spellcheck and Check the Grammar. A basic thing admittedly, but yet not always done. I have seen CVs where even the person’s name has been spelt incorrectly – by them! This attention to detail is absolutely essential and with the amount of spell check applications that currently exist, there are no excuses for this. Also, in relation to grammar, your CV is really not the place for text-speak – leave your texting abbreviations where they belong – on your phone.

Do Tell the Truth. If you purport to be a Sales Director whilst really you were a Warehouse Assistant – it will be found out. Recruitment Agencies and employers alike do check references; so there is really no point in making false claims – the truth will out in the end.

Do Check Dates. Make sure that you are accurate with any dates you include. I have seen CVs where people claim to have worked somewhere from 2008 – 2009. Reference checking has revealed that they worked there from December 17th 2008 – January 4th 2009 – two weeks! Whilst you may feel that this vagueness is a sign of being quite clever, it actually isn’t – any worthwhile employer or recruitment agency will discover the truth quite quickly. And if you left your last job 3 months ago – stating 2006 – Present Date is really no longer accurate , is it?

Do Include Details. When listing your previous job duties, remember to include all the duties relevant for the job you are currently applying for. Employers and recruitment agencies are not mind readers. For example, if you have had telesales or accounts experience, yet you do not detail this anywhere, chances are they won’t know and your CV won’t reach the next stage. Sometimes if a keyword does not appear on a CV, it will just be dismissed straight away. And on that note, bullet-pointing your job duties makes for much easier reading than a long body of text.

Do Create Several CVs. There really is no such thing as a “one size fits all” CV. Tailor your CV to suit the role you are applying for. Look at the key skills required in the job advertisement – if you have those skills, make sure your CV details that. Also, make sure that the CV you send is the right one. I have seen countless examples of CVs where the personal profile quite clearly details the candidate’s wish to pursue an entirely different career direction. One example that comes to mind is a CV where the candidate stated that her long term aim was to pursue a career in an administrative role as she disliked sales and targets and then queried why she was not shortlisted for a sales position.

Remember – your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself. And in such a competitive jobs market, you really ought to be giving yourself the best chance possible.  Whilst none of these things will in any way guarantee that you are going to get that job you have applied for; paying attention to them will certainly go someway to enhance your chances . And, as a certain nameless supermarket is so fond of saying…….Every Little Helps.


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