Most recruiters write a report for their clients about the candidate, but most don’t actually edit the CV that the candidate has provided. This is important because the client needs to see how the candidate communicates and “sells” themselves.

Therefore, the CV is the most important document that a candidate has in the job search process. I often get calls from candidates asking what to include in a cover letter, but rarely get calls about what to include in a CV.

So, if this document is being sent directly to clients (and the candidate’s potential employer) – make sure that your candidate has produced a document that is top notch.  Some coaching about the benefits of an effective CV at the interview stage can help your candidates to produce a better document.   

As a good CV is in essence a marketing document and the career transition involves two major processes:

  1. The strategic process – what role is the candidate seeking/ or what direction do they want their career to go in?
  2. the marketing process – marketing the product (i.e. the candidate and their experience)

 Therefore, spending time with the candidate understanding what they are trying to achieve in their next career move will help dramatically improve the quality of the document.  A well drafted CV that highlights the candidate’s achievements that are relevant for the position will make the reader feel more positive about the candidate’s suitability for the role. Often the recruiter has to put a lot of detail in the report that is not included in the CV. A benefit of having the candidate spend time on their CV is an increase in confidence.  Very few people spend a long time focussing on their positive attributes. Some candidates that I have dealt with have reported a sense of achievement and boost to their confidence after spending a few hours focussing on their successes, and having a good document to present to the interviewer also increases their sense of achievement.

What to include?

This is a difficult question as it is often varied depending on the industry and job type, but as a general rule, listing specific achievements and quantitative information is much better than general qualitative data. I usually advise candidates to stay away from listing responsibilities that are obvious for the job title. For example:

Job Title: Sales Representative:

  • Managing a sales territory
  • Calling on customers
  • Etc 

Rather say


  • Managing a geographical territory from Brisbane North to the Sunshine Coast with a customer base of over 100 customers and an annual budget of $3.2M
  • Growing the customer base from a start of 75 active customers to 103 current active customers with an increase in revenue of $250k

 With technical roles such as engineering or Property development instead of saying: “Managing all aspects of a project” – say “Complete responsibility for a $180M commercial project in the city fringe from acquisition to sale”

Once the content of the resume is right, encourage the candidate to read it out loud to themselves to check for flow and feel, and always ensure that grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are eliminated.