Is your CV a bit Pants?

So at MSemploy (the home of the Microsoft Recruitment Specialists) we had a recent survey brought to our attention and were actually quite stunned by the findings.

So stunned in fact, that we had to ask: Is your CV a bit pants? You know, rubbish? Generally not hitting the mark? Not doing you any favours?

You can see where I am going with this, I hope?

What is this survey, I hear you ask, and what were the results that led to your line of questioning?

Well. I shall tell you.

This report was created by iProfile, and is based on 2 surveys, one conducted across 1,000 UK job seekers and the other across 200 UK hiring managers and is entitled “Could ‘Achievement Amnesia’ cost you your career?”

Starting with the Hiring Managers, it asked:

“What are the most important things you look for in a candidate’s CV?”

The top 3 responses were:

37% – Work experience (company history)

23% – Work based achievements

22% – List of previous jobs/positions

Then it asked:

“Have you ever rejected a jobseeker’s CV due to lack of detail on previous roles and achievements on their CV?”

“73% of Hiring Managers had rejected a candidate based on the lack of roles and achievements in their CV”

Remarkably, (and to us not unsurprisingly) 73% of Hiring Managers had rejected a candidate based on the lack of roles and achievements in their CV. That is nearly three quarters of employers, or in this case 146 out of the sampling of 200.

Doesn’t sound like rocket science, does it? Not enough detail, not enough achievements, and not enough information on where somebody has worked = Candidate Rejection.

So, compare this with the happy 1,000 job seekers, who were asked the following question:

“What is the most important part of your CV?”

The top 3 responses were:

36% – The overall look and feel-style of the CV

22% – Work experience (company history)

19% – Work-based achievements

The top Job Seeker answer doesn’t show up AT ALL in the Hiring Manager’s responses.

The survey then goes on to ask Hiring Managers if they would pay more for somebody who details Achievements and Work Experience on their CV, and over half said that they would offer a salary 5% higher or more to jobseekers that showed significant work-based achievements on their CV, and just over quarter said they would offer a salary of 15% or higher.

What was most important to Job Seekers didn’t rate in the top 3 of what was important to Hiring Managers…

Where am I going with this?

Let me, in light of these findings, refer you back to my original question: Is your CV a bit pants?

First off, does it effectively sell you? If you are trying to get my attention as a recruiter (and therefore my Hiring Manager customers), then detail in your summary section what it is that you have done which is relevant to the role you have responded to. If I’m searching for a System Center Consultant and you mention the product once at the bottom of the CV, you are unlikely to get a call from me. Tell me what you can do, and have done with the product suite.

Secondly, does it detail a list of achievements for each of your roles, as well as give good, solid information on what your duties were / are? (A quick note on this: focus on the last 5 years’ experience. If it is prior to this, then in all likelihood the technologies that you worked with will be outdated and probably becoming obsolete. Also, ignore anyone who tells you to keep your CV to 2 pages. They are plain wrong and are stopping you getting a job: if you have the experience to justify writing more, then do so. It is better to have too much relevant information to work with initially than not enough)

Achievements (to me, at least) can be translated directly into projects. Most employers like to see detail around relevant projects, so list the ones that you have worked on which will make you stand out as somebody they need to be interviewing.

Thirdly, stop worrying about making the CV look pretty. Put it in Arial 10 format, and just keep it simple. Let your content be king, rather than worrying about the User Experience.

You can read the full report here – I hope it is of interest to you if you are considering a CV revamp for the new financial year…

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