Thoughts on how to develop a CV - a Headhunters' perspective.
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As 2021 draws to a close it’s a great time to reflect on your professional life. Most of us spend more time at work than with their immediate family; so now’s a good time to reflect on where you are at with your career. This can be looking for new opportunities within your company, changing your location of work or even more dramatic changes such as changing the industry in which you work. You may be on the search for your dream job, or maybe just a “stepping stone” to get you out of university and onto the job market to enable you to work your way up.

Either way, your CV is the first thing that potential employers see, so it has to represent you in the best possible way. The average amount of time an employer spends initially looking at your CV is 30 seconds. Capture their attention in that short time window and they will delve deeper; miss the boat and they will likely move on.

Your CV ideally needs to be “short and sweet”. 2 pages maximum is an ideal – if the employer wants more information then you can follow up with a longer CV (take it to the interview). The key is to capture the employers’ attention.

It should include everything that you feel is relevant; you do not need to tell a long-winded story for each individual achievement as if the employer is interested they will invite you for an interview where you can go into detail. “Bullet-points” in a list format are very useful in this situation.

If you are lacking some skills relevant to the particular job, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have to the particular situation. For example, if the job in question requires someone with sales experience there is no problem with you using any retail work you may have done. It will demonstrate the people & sales skills you do have and show how they are transferable. Avoid any negative words/phrases that may make you seem indecisive or have an inability to do the job that you are applying to do.

Sounds obvious, but you must not do is lie on your CV as you will likely get found out one way or another. A great example of how this backfires is the “Job Interview” episodes of BBC1’s The Apprentice. Numerous seemingly strong candidates have been totally discredited due to untruths on their CV.

A handy tip is to continually keep your CV up to date. If you are approached for an interesting role, see an advertisement or have an internal opportunity then having a current CV gives you the opportunity to respond quickly. Writing a CV from scratch can be a laborious and time consuming task so regular “bite-sized” updates keep the document fresh as your career progresses.


Date posted: December 9, 2021 | Author: | 2 Comments » | Categories: CV Optimisation

2 Responses to Thoughts on developing your CV – a Headhunters’ perspective.

  1. Chris says:

    “The average amount of time an employer spends looking at your CV is 30 seconds”. – This is something people (mostly people who have to sift through CVs all day and are pressured to place somebody for a buck) band about. If my potential employer is only prepared to spend 30s trying to find me then the job isn’t worth taking frankly.

  2. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You are quite correct that if someone only spends 30 seconds reading your CV then that is a real concern; what we refer to is the initial “screen” of volumes of CV’s. In our experience this gives around 30 seconds per view to decide whether they are an “explore further” or “no”. Most clients will reduce down the pile of CV’s to around 9 or 10 which are then read in detail – usually around 2-5 minutes per CV. Problem is – if your CV isn’t selected from the first “pass” then it won’t get to the “detailed read” stage. Anyone who thinks someone is going to spend 5 minutes per CV on a pile of 50 CV’s has never actually processed this volume of work. It’s unrealistic in this day & age.

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