Not only is it important to have a well-polished CV, but companies are increasingly looking into social media (especially LinkedIn) to get a better perception into your life outside of work and how well that aligns with the company's brand. Therefore, we will also be examining some do’s and dont’s for LinkedIn profiles.
From my background as a Senior Recruiter working at Henderson Scott, I sometimes review over 1000+ CV’s and LinkedIn profiles for 1 position. Now you may not like to hear this… but, according to research carried out by The Ladders.com in 2012, the average time spent reading a CV was just 6.25 seconds.
What can you do to avoid this? How can you make sure your CV, which is essentially part of your life story, gets the time and attention it deserves?
Let’s get the most obvious red flag out the way first – 1. Unaesthetically pleasing profiles
Bad grammar, pixelated photos, spelling mistakes, bad font choices etc… Your CV / LI profile is your first impression with a company. Would you like to meet your future partner having just rolled out of bed with messy hair and your slippers on? Or would you rather they first lock eyes on you when you are on a night out with your mates feeling and looking your best? I recommend if you have anything on social media you wouldn’t want your boss to see, then put that account on private! And I would also take the time to go over your CV and make sure it passes the eye test; bold font, sub-headings, bullet points, dates, all details correct etc…
Which leads nicely onto the next red flag – 2. Lack of context / detail
This is maybe the most important as this won’t just lead to your CV being dismissed, it will stop your CV from even being looked at in the first place! Speed of delivery is key to successful recruiting and powerful software tools such as Corporate LinkedIn and SourceBreaker have capitalised on this demand. Modern recruitment is intertwined with Boolean searches for key words and approached with a SEO mindset, matching the CV’s content to key skills on a job description. You will be amazed at the number of candidates that don’t include in their CV what tools and technologies they are working with. But it’s not just good enough to list them, companies want to know what you did and how those tools helped you to achieve that outcome. It’s common practice for recruiters to open your CV and perform a ‘ctrl + F’ search for the key skills and experiences that are required – make sure they are in there!
On the flip side, people can go overboard with this. Red flag number three - 3. Too many skills / no specialisation
So, you have added every technology you have ever worked with and heard of to your CV; you’re not just a Software Engineer anymore, you are a whole IT Department! Your profile is right at the top of every recruiter’s search and the algorithm loves you. Great! Actually no, this is equally bad to not having enough detail. Tech companies often look for specialists that can come in and add value, guidance, and best practise in a specific area. If you have listed 20 programming languages on your CV but looking for a Java Developer opportunity, even if Java is one of the skills mentioned, you run the risk of this being lost in the crowd. Pick the skills you are strong with and the tools and technologies you want to work with and focus on them.
Lastly, a quick-fire way to get your CV ignored - 4. Bad continuity
As I found out early on in my career, there are no exceptions. I started my career in contract recruitment placing tech professionals on 3-6 month contracts. So when faced with a CV of a freelancer that has had 6 jobs in the last 2 years, I thought they would be the ideal candidate. I was surprised when my Sales Director threw it in the bin. Being 1 month into my career and knowing everything there is to know about recruitment, I of course challenged him. He had already told me to look for consistency, the ideal candidates spends 1-2 years minimum in a role before moving on. But how can they stay in a job 2 years if they only accept 3 month contracts. The reason: ‘because if you are good, a company won’t let you go! They will find something new for you and do everything they can to extend your contract.’ If you are unhappy in a job you have every right to leave, there are plenty more fish in the sea. But if this is becoming a theme of your CV, you will be branded a job hopper and it will reflect badly on how well you are perceived to be at working in a team. If you have unexplained gaps for good reason; sickness, children, sabbatical etc… Don’t leave it to the imagination of your recruiter. Address it! Honesty is the best policy.
Final bit of advice I give to all my candidates:
The best CV’s have a personal touch. Companies like it when it is clear that you have read the job description and researched the company and adapted your CV to fit what they are looking for. The solution isn’t to re-write your CV for every job application. Have a master copy that provides a great overview into your career and make edits to tailor it to each position.
Are you an experienced recruiter or sales professional, who is highly motivated and can work well in a fast paced environment? If so we are keen to speak to you! Get in contact today or head to our 'JOIN US' page for more information about working for Henderson Scott. Alternatively, browse our current vacancies here.