Beating the recruitment machines

Very interesting article from the BBC about online CVs and how to optimise your CV:

Many of the biggest companies in the world are using software to recruit their workforce, so how can you beat the odds in the most competitive job market in history?

If you take the time to fill in a job application, you might think someone would at least have the courtesy to actually look at it.

But as more and more job applications are made online, companies are increasingly turning to computer programs to help manage the load.

This means it’s as likely as not it won’t be someone vetting you – but something.

These programs, called applicant tracking systems, scan your CV to decide whether you move on in the process or fall at the first hurdle.

via BBC News – Beating the recruitment machines.

Free CV Writing

Will anyone write you a free CV?

We seem to be getting a lot of “hits” from people searching for a completely free CV writing service.

I can assure you that there is no-one out there who offers free CV writing!

There are plenty of websites that initially say that you can make a CV free of charge but this is a honey-pot. They draw you in to using their site and you then spend an hour or two putting the information in that they tell you to (and it looks really slick) and when you get to the end you find that you’ve produced a CV – you just can’t have it!

In order to download the CV that you’ve invested time and effort in creating they want your credit card details.

We often get to see these CVs for review and they are uniformly pretty rubbish. They are all in very similar formats and, whilst they do make sure you have all the basic requirements of a good CV in place, the content has been written with all the usual mistakes that we see.

If you genuinely want a free CV then there are lots of basic templates out there that you can download free of charge and just fill in the blanks. Your only investment will be your own time, but you will not have addressed the underlying issue of most CVs which is that the content is not written in a way that sells you.

Using Headers in a CV

Lots of people use headers in their CV for putting in their contact details and on the face of it, it’s a good idea since it gives you a little more space on the page for content.

However, you could be making a massive mistake with your CV if you do this.

The problem arises with the scanning software used by the job boards and the way that they can read a CV. For some reason (it’s probably very technical!) they don’t scan the text in a header – just the body of the CV – so when a recruiter is searching through Monster or Reed they come across your CV and think “great! I’ve found a perfect candidate”, but then they can’t ring you as your telephone number was in the header.

In itself this is not an insurmountable problem because you probably had to give them your email address when you registered so they can contact you that way, albeit a little delayed.

What’s worse though is if your postcode was in the header. All recruiters search databases based on location anchored around distance from the potential employers postcode and if your postcode is in the header, guess what? That’s right, they won’t even see your CV in the first place.

So, don’t use headers, or footers for that matter, in your CV!

CV Services

We’re not just a CV Writing Service!

There’s more to writing a CV these days than just putting your education and career history onto 2 sides of A4 with a Personal Statement at the beginning.

Gone are the days when the only time you applied for a job was when an advert appeared in the jobs section of the Telegraph or the Grauniad (that’s a deliberate error!) asking you to send in your CV with a covering letter. Nowadays you’re much more likely to see a vacancy on Monster, CV Library, Reed or one of the other seemingly myriad job boards and apply on-line.

At the other end of that e-mail your CV will be looked at by someone who is under a great deal of time pressure and hasn’t got the time (and possibly inclination) to dig through the details of all your career to find the nugget of information they’re looking for. If your CV is hard to read – it won’t be read.

Your CV needs to actively sell you and be specifically aimed at the role you’re applying for. That’s why we don’t just write a CV for you, instead we create a document that you can easily edit and tailor to suit those job applications and we’ll advise you on how to do that.

The whole process starts with getting the free review we do as a starting point for all of our CV Services, just click here and upload your CV along with a note telling us about the type of job roles you’re looking for.

The other aspects of our CV services cover some of the newer aspects of recruitment such as LinkedIn and CV Optimisation for on-line recruitment – we’ll cover those in another post!

Is a Resume a CV?

The simple answer is yes.

Resume is essentially an American term for a CV or Curriculum Vitae but there are subtle differences between examples of resume writing and CV writing. 

UK based CVs tend to have a basic format at their core that covers Education followed by Employment History and then any personal of additional information. Within the Employment History you usually talk about the job you did, your responsibilities and if you’re a bit more switched on you’ll also include some achievements.

A resume writer will come at it from a slightly different angle. There will be much more emphasis on broader skills and achievements as an opening section, generally followed by simple 1-liners about who they worked for and when.

As a CV writer I find the resume approach a bit impersonal and that it isolates achievements and skills from the job you were doing at the time, which takes away relevance. Resumes are also seen much more as a selling tool which doesn’t really sit well with the British mentality and aversion to “showing off”.

If you’re an American with a resume and looking for a job in the UK you’ll probably need to get your resume rewritten so it’s more like a conventional CV, and for any Brits looking for a job in the states  you’ll need a complete rethink on that CV of yours!


Mobile Number on your CV

Firstly, make sure you put your mobile number on your CV.

Recruiters work 9-5 (or 8-6!) and need to be able to contact you during those hours, or, at the very least, leave you a message so you need to give them the number.

Secondly, don’t write it as one long sequence of numbers as this makes it hard to read and more likely that they will dial the wrong number. If they call the wrong person they may not even know it as most people don’t personalise their answer phone message, and you won’t even know that you missed that call.

You should present it as 07777 123 456 rather than 07777123456.

This may seem like a very trivial issue but it’s the detail that matters on a CV.

Send us your CV for a free review and we’ll look at these type of details as well as the bigger issues such as layout, spelling, style, key skills etc. Your review is obligation free and is usually turned around in 24 hours.

Click on the link in the sidebar to get started and don’t worry, we won’t call you but just email you the review.


Does your CV Sell You?

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But, it’s probably the commonest mistake we see when we review CVs.

Ultimately a CV is about you, but you’re not writing it for yourself but rather to achieve your career objective. Whoever reads your CV will, in all probability, have never heard of you or met you and just wants to know that you meet their objectives and requirements.

You really need to make sure that when a recruiter or employer is reading your CV that it is clear what you do, what you bring to the role and what your motivation for applying is.

Remember that prior to interview a potential employer is thinking of only 2 things:

1. Do they have the experience to do the job?

2. Do they enjoy the job?

The final question can only be answered at interview, namely “Will we like working with this person?”

So, make sure that your CV is clear and understandable to someone who’s never met you.

Writing a Sales CV

A useful article on writing a sales CV:

Before you can start your career you first need to convince a potential employer that you are worth talking to, and that’s where your Sales CV comes in. Your Sales CV is designed to open the door to a job interview so you need to ensure that it is relevant to the job you are applying for.

Selling and being successful at sales is all about how well you can match the features and benefits of a product or service to fulfil the needs of your client. The same is true when preparing your CV. You need to be mindful as to what the job requires and tailor your CV so that your skills and abilities match what the employer is looking for in a candidate.

via Swing Media Recruitment.