More times than not, it is multiple recruiters or HR professionals that read your CV before the person potentially managing you.
In a world where your skill set is in high demand but what is expected of you in the roles on offer is still exceptionally tough, your CV still needs to set a precedent of what to expect of you in person, at interview.
It’s all too easy for HR professionals to get lost in placing the value of a CV in the keywords relating to skills or qualifications necessary for the role on offer. The reality is that the successful candidate for the role needs to have the right skills and attitude to provide a benefit to the existing team and wider company culture.
A judgement of this aptitude is likely made within the first few seconds of reading your CV, with how you introduce yourself.
But how much does personal bias influence a non-technical person’s view of your CV, and how can your description of yourself keep their candidate search focussed on the important element of your job search – finding and securing the right job opportunity for you.
We asked our team of recruitment consultants on what some of the Do’s and Don’ts were of the ‘personal statement’ section of an average CV, which is generally placed at the top next to contact information.
- Keep it focussed to the role you are applying for, e.g. “A Technical Security Architect who has designed secure and resilient enterprise-grade systems and solutions for FTSE 250 companies and cutting-edge technology providers, with a particular focus on securing web applications and services. Looking to further develop my ability to combine a deep technical security knowledge with a strategic and pragmatic approach to protecting organisations in a technical security leadership role with an international remit”
- “The best CVs are well presented, made with a professional template, stand out, short and to-the-point and contain all the key words relevant to the person’s role”
- “For sales CV’s list achievements at the top of the page. Even before you have said where you are working”
- “I think it’s important to have a couple sentences explaining your background/experience and what you are looking for moving forward. Some candidates will have lots of experience in a specific area so I will send them across to a consultant and then once we give them a call we find out that they are fed up of specialising in this area and want to move into another area. It saves a lot of time when you know exactly what they are looking for”
- “I would say where candidates allude to the next role and ambitions that they should be realistic and appropriate, and they should avoid mentioning how many years of experience they have (that shouldn’t be how you measure your ability). It should cover broad expertise with some mention of anything they feel they are a specialist in. Don’t say, I want to be a CISO (unless it really is that next step!)”
- “Anything useless that should be taken as given e.g. “I am a hardworking, reliable person”. To me, this is like applying for a job at a bank and promising not to steal the money”
- “Also, anybody (and I’ve seen this more than once) who starts with a quote. I’m not joking I once saw a CV with a Jordan Belfort quote on the top. Just why?”
- Don’t send out a tailored version of your CV out to a job that’s requirements are even slightly out of remit; “Usually the CV is used for various roles but it is an instant turn off If they use the personal statement to pitch for role ‘A’ but applied for something very different”
- “Personal statements that go on too long are also a turn-off as are any that try too hard to be quirky. “I like to play chess with my cat in my spare time” etc. The only place, for me, where this is just about acceptable is for those who work in branding. It’s par for the course there”
Don’t think it’s all that important to focus on the first few sentences? One of our team members with over 10 years’ experience in our cyber security recruitment agency noted the following:
“The ability to write a decent summary of themselves that is current and aligns with their ambitions. It’s an area I suspect gets neglected in CV updates and so doesn’t grow in line with their career.
Given the focus of security hiring managers to find people that can articulate to the business, I feel like it’s a good ‘tell’ as to whether someone can take something broad and complex, and write about it succinctly at a high level.”
Want someone to read over your CV and give some advice? Our team of expert consultants are happy to help. Send your CV in to us for a recruitment appraisal.
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