The CV is dead- long live the CV
A Curriculum Vitae or CV is summarised as a chronological summary of your academic awards and work experience. The ultimate goal of a CV is to get you an interview for the job you have applied for!
by Russell White
With the advent of social media, video technology, blockchain, plus concerns surrounding bias, much has been written about how CVs are a thing of the past and that they will no longer be the pre-eminent tool for applications to roles.
I take a different stance. Just as it was predicted that video (and now online streaming) would kill cinema, music streaming and podcasts would kill radio, news websites would kill off newspapers so the relatively new tools that could replace CVs will not do so.
This article is about how to write a good CV!
- Firstly, limiting a CV to two pages is a myth – unless you are asked to produce a resume, which is more common in the US and rarely exceeds two pages of A4. In the UK, CV’s can be longer and the general rule I suggest is that you are allowed a page a decade you have existed on the planet! However, I would suggest that after the fourth page most recruiters will be getting bored.
- The style is important, as is the font and general page layout. It should be created as portrait and it’s best to avoid point sizes lower than 9. Fonts that have high impact are Arial, Franklin Gothic, and Tahoma, as opposed to Times New Roman which is a default font for most MS programmes. Start with your name, your location (not home address), contact details (mobile and email) and a URL for your LinkedIn Profile (which you should ensure is up to date).
- A brief summary of your skills and experience, that can include key words pertaining to the role. Some companies, that anticipate large volumes of CVs for roles use systems known as ATS to pick out keywords that align with the job role.
- The CV’s that impress me most are those that give a brief description of the business (including turnover, number of employees), your job title, a summary of the role and an emphasis on achievements i.e. what you have directly contributed to either the business or the team you work in.
- When you come to prepare your CV the most recent roles are the ones you focus on in terms of content and description. If you started your career as an Account Executive 15 years ago, then it really is not necessary to put down all you did back then. (you’d be surprised at how many CV’s I get that do!). Don’t worry about gaps – career breaks, redundancy – a good recruiter will spot them and will either (usually) dismiss them, or note them and explore at the interview stage. Do check for typing errors as best you can – some organisations will reject an application on the basis of spelling errors, not taking into account that individuals may have dyslexia or other conditions that makes 100% correct spelling challenging. There is nothing wrong in ‘tweaking’ a CV to make it more pertinent to the role you are applying for.
- Detail your education – which college or University you went as well as your Secondary school. If you attained a 1st or 2.1 at University then put that down too, whatever level of seniority you are.
- Finally include some personal details or extra curricula activity. “Reading, eating out, socialising” are what most people put down and given that is what 90% of the UK population do in any event it is not relevant. Very few people I meet have no hobby or ‘interesting’ interest. E.g. not many people know that I am a World renowned expert on late 70’s Disco and Dance music and my opinions on particular artists and tracks is sought globally by recording artists, DJ’s and radio stations! I can all hear you saying I want to meet this man!
More companies will be adopting new approaches to select potential candidates to meet for roles but the CV is still the pre-eminent vehicle to apply for a role and will continue to be so for many years to come!
Read our blog on using LinkedIn.