As a recruitment consultant, I spend a lot of time reviewing CV’s as well as talking through candidate CV’s with them at interview to give CV advice whilst also receiving feedback from clients. I am a firm believer that a CV is a representative of you and how you would like to present your experience is down to you; one of the main things I hear is how CV advice always greatly helps candidates when looking for roles through us but then mainly when applying directly and helps them gain more interviews. For instance, the use of platforms such as Linked In, it is not just about standing out from the crowd but making sure that you present your experience in such a way that you get the role that you are looking for.
A lot of this comes down to the presentation of your CV, it’s got to look good at first glance, but then the wording is crucial. Lets speak about presentation first. There is a lot of chat about ‘I was told to fit it all on one page’… this really comes down to how much experience you have. You do not want a 5 page CV, though 3 pages for 20 years of work experience for instance is very reasonable. Though 3 pages for 1 years work experience is not necessary. Make sure that you use the page – i.e. narrow margins, single line spacing and not one word in bullet points.
People often miss off their education, at any level of experience I think your education is relevant and its dates. It quantifies your professional experience and for a lot of people, it is only a positive to have it on there. It can also highlight that you haven’t had any gaps in working.
Another myth is that people don’t want to repeat things on their CV, i.e. the last three roles they have done, they only put the more interesting bits and leave off the basics like diary management, inbox management, international travel management as they think they are a given EA requirement. When people are reviewing CV’s, if it is not written on your CV, you have not done it! So in each role make sure each thing you have done is on there. There might be one role that is looking for one thing that you have done, it is very much a box ticking exercise when they are just reading a piece of paper!
Always bullet point your experience. People do not read block text when they are skimming through several CVs. This is KEY.
Ensure you present your competencies alongside your experience; this might be a list of five to seven key achievements at the top of your CV. This highlights easily for the reader to see the culmination of your experiences and what you can bring to the role you have applied for.
Finally, the way that you convey your experience, and the wording, is very important. A lot of people leave out key details. Rather than just diary management, if you have done complex and ever changing diary management with constant rescheduling – put that in! If you have organised complex international travel schedules and multi-stop travel, put that rather than just ‘travel management’. If you have organised events for over 1000 people overseas, put that rather than just ‘event management’. If you have coordinated a large office move for example, this requires key project management skills. Quantify your experience…!
When it comes to key words on your CV, it is also very much about giving colour to your experience and making sure that you are conveying it in a very clear and honest way. Giving life and context to the writing whilst being concise and not prose.
All in all, again, your CV is completely yours though I do hope the above can give you some direction about things that might help shape your CV when looking for your next role.