That time of the year…your CV.

Holidays are almost over. People come back to work fresh and relax. Some people may have used their holidays as time for reflection, time to make some decisions. Some may think that it is the right time to change jobs…

A couple of things before you go into job hunting: Think and plan properly because desperation can hit you if nothing happens… things may get a bit messy otherwise.

However, berfore you continue reading, let me tell you first and for all:

  • I am not HR.

  • I am very practical.

What I want to say with this is that it is just me through my years of experience who is putting these tips together. If you speak to recruiters, HR people, etc. they all may help you in some other way and may even tell you that, what I am saying, is not completely (or even) right. I am just sharing the ideas that come to my mind when reading other people´s CVs and that I also put in practice with mine and have been sharing with others, increasing their opportunities in their search.

I have had the opportunity to read tons of CVs during my career. When you have to read many CVs for a position your CV will have to help you go through this first hurdle to get you an interview so let me give you a few tips from my point of view.

Job-hunting results do not happen overnight.

August (or even September) is a terrible time to look for another job as many people are on holidays, decision-makers are just not around…. should you apply don’t expect your application to be at the top of the things “to review” once they are back as a big pile of other duties will be there waiting. If you are really looking for “greener pastures”, wait a couple of weeks and use up this time updating and polishing your CV.

Keep clear and updated your contact details.

Your CV is your presentation letter and business card. It is amazing to find people not putting enough detail in the way they wish to be contacted. Wrong mobile phone numbers, email or Skype addresses are at the top of the list.

Your CV is way tooooooooooooo long

Please, please…please, I beg you. What makes you think that writing an 8 page CV will get you the job? It does not matter how much in detail you want to go… I just get tired scrolling down those CVs. I don’t even bother printing them out as that would deforest the Amazonia for no purpose. Two pages, three maximum…more than that and you will lose your reader´s interest. If you have a vast experience as in number of years and companies just summarize your initial jobs to a line or two. If there are too many just “bundle” them in a single line as, for example:

  • 1990 to 1998 – “Several jobs getting entry experience”

If you think you must share all that other information, you can either do it during the interview stage or you can always propose that a more-in-detail CV is available.

Unstructured or difficult to read CV.

I am not going to go as far as saying that candidates are merely dropped just by the look of their CV… but it surely helps. There is an unwritten rule by which you put your latest jobs and positions first working through to the last page where you will find your very first job. Doing it the other way round will make people flick the pages of your CV several times to check skills with experience (hoping that you would have put a brief summary of your skills at the beginning, which is a must).

Spellcheck your CV.

If there are things that catch my attention is not that you have done A, B or C course or training experience. Among all candidates surely I find that most of them have the same sort of merits for the vacancy advertised. It is the difference in their CVs, in this case, the absence of spelling mistakes (or, I should say, the surprise to find some). Call me picky but if you are presenting the best of yourself to a stranger trying to call his attention for a possible interview, you will have to make the most that you can do, at least during this initial presentation. Having spelling mistakes in a CV is just pure laziness for not pressing “F7”… If you can not do that now, what can I expect from you in the future?

Attention to detail.

This goes hand in hand with the aforementioned point. However, the difference here is for those who list as one of their skills “attention to detail”. I found many people claiming it but not capable to put a full stop at the end of a sentence or not to use capital letter where due…enough said.

Over-inflating your CV (aka “Embellishing your resume”).

Everybody commits the same sin: overinflating the CV with a merit that should not be claimed on his own, mentioning that you are an expert on a certain materia when your expertise just lets you explain it or showing off that you have acquired X number of years in a company…and then you forget to change the year beginning and end of that company, not matching your experience with the inferior number of years in that company (I am not exagerating, I see this very often). Be careful as if you are caught the rest of your CV will be in jeopardy.

Dont lie, EVER!!!

This, for me, is the single reason for which it does not matter what the candidate says, he will have wasted his time (and mine) sending the CV. This is a VERY small world and you would not imagine to whom the CV may be sent or who may read it. Lying, it does not matter for which reason, will make any possibilities of progressing in the work process come to an end…for now and for any possible future possibility.

Last piece of advise: Get to the point in the first page.

If someone can not decide whether you have the skills for the job by reading the first page of your CV, you are in trouble. The first page should be the one that makes the difference while the other pages should just be informational. Recruiters have to decide which candidates follow in the process and do not have more than 30 seconds, a minute maximum, to give the “thumbs up” to candidates. Hoping that they will read your CV and that the relevant information for the position is in the third page, let me tell you, will not give you a single opportunity. You have to compete against dozens (if not more) candidates, all of them pursuing to reach, at least, the interview stage.

As I like to say with CVs and candidates: It has to be love at first sight.

 

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