"Hey you... Yeah you... the tall, balding guy who's getting a bit tubby around the midriff. Whats the best way to lay out my CV?"  I get asked this question a lot by friends and colleagues.  Over the years I've seen many designs and layouts from competency to chronologically career based with everything either side and in between thrown in for good measure.

Put very simply there is no hard'n'fast rule about one single best way as recruiters have different preferences in terms of CV they enjoy looking at / reading through. Having read literally 000's of these documents throughout my  career in recruitment I like to think I know a thing or two about what can differentiate a great CV from one that could end up being tossed into that special  cylinder shaped filing cabinet usually found under people's desks by their feet.

Before you even worry about the design of your CV I find a lot of people need to change their mindset when it comes to the content that should be included.

Rule #1 - Your job description is not your CV.  Understand this and you have excellent foundations in place to step-change your CV.  I've seen many cases where people have simply copied their job spec, sat back proudly in their chairs, fingers interlocked and stretched backwards with knuckles craking whilst proudly smiling to themselves, "that's it, "job done".  Nay.  nay and thrice nay!

As an internal recruiter, yeah, okay, I'm a little interested in your day-to-day role and responsibilities but I'm slightly (read flippin' hugely) more interested in your successes, achievements and accolades.  Tell me what you've actually contributed to the organisations you've worked for / are with:

  • Where have you driven down costs?
  • Where have you improved efficiencies?
  • Where have you generated revenue / top line sales?
  • How have you directly impacted bottom line profits?
  • Where have you driven projects - on time and within budget?
  • How have you pioneered / broken from the staus quo?
  • What awards or recognition have you received...

See where I'm going here?  Highlight what you've actually achieved and a recruiter will be able to pick up the day-to-day stuff be reading between the lines.

Start to think about answers to these and other similar questions, and begin writing your ideas down - Where you jot them in the beginning doesn't matter, just get them down in punchy, concise sentences / bullet points.  Hint - any more than 2 - 2.5 lines in Word, font 10 per bullet and it could become a little daunting for the reader.  You want short and sweet but avoid the other extreme i.e. ending up with something resembling a shopping list.

That should be a good starter.  Go think young grass hopper.


Hungry for more?  Check me out at www.trecknowledgy.com - training and coaching through recruitment complexities.  Follow on Twitter @TRecKnowledgy


Thanks for your time.


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