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Recruiter’s tips: How I read a CV
By Alexandre Moreau, European Key Account Director
Yes, you deserve a great job.
Yes, it’s going to take hard work.
Here’s what you have to do.
During my career, I have found jobs for hundreds of people, making me very successful. So please, let me return the favour. Here’s how I read your CV.
First off, think about how you approach your CV.
- Think of someone in your network who is not a loved one or a close friend. This person could be a mentor, business contact, or from your school or university time
- Reach out to them and invite them for a drink
- Give them a copy of your current CV and ask them to read it on the spot
- Ask them to describe the person on your CV - and if they would hire them.
If they can’t give you a clear picture of who that person is, of how much they struggled, how much they cared – and how far they have come, this should set off alarm bells.
Here’s the bottom line – when someone reads your CV, it’s not having the impact it should.
Let me put this another way:
Restaurants have many things in common. They all offer a place to sit, staff to take your order, dishes to choose from, restroom to use, and so on.
In every city in the world, there are literally thousands of restaurants trying to get your attention and your custom.
The important thing here is what each restaurant is doing to catch your attention, and make you want more. Their differentiation, if you will.
It’s not about having a 20-page menu that nobody reads.
It’s not about having nice décor.
It’s not just price competitiveness.
(although these things are, of course, nice to have)
It’s all the little, useful things that the restaurant is doing to ensure the lights stay on in their business and that you come back for more.
It’s all the details you include on your CV that make your future employer want more of you.
So – what do I look at on a CV? I have 10 seconds.
- Professional experiences: As quickly as possible, I want to see your impact. Details like the company size, the specifics of the job are only relevant if they relate to the difference you made
- Keywords: I match words on the CV and those on the client’s job description
- Photo: The most effective photos are as honest and simple as a passport photo – but that lets your personality shine through with your facial expression. It’s not compulsory to add one but... why not?
And that, is it.
Fellow recruiter İpek Koç tells me that it could happen, to miss a good candidates simply because their CV doesn’t present the facts in a way that makes it easy to form a picture of the person. She highlights that the structure of CV is important. Both the recruiter and the employer need to view and follow easily. Koç also recommends using bullet points. The experiences must start from the most recent and go the oldest, not the other way around.
Once you’ve run your CV by another person, what are the next steps?
- Keep a running list of your work achievements and transferrable skills in the ‘Drafts’ folder of your emails. Update your CV with them regularly
- Invest in a photographer, or find a friend with a good camera. Create a small collection of carefully crafted photos. Be very involved in choosing which photo represents you best, this is your CV, and your first point of contact
- Create a clean paper trail. Ensure your social media and other online profiles show off your best assets.
Do these things and you are already one-step closer to becoming a compelling candidate.
And the ultimate test to know when your CV is ready?
The reader’s eyes will be shining…