Whether it’s a good suit, an expensive pair of pants, a fitted jacket… if it doesn’t fit perfectly… tailor it and then it will! A CV is no exception … ALWAYS tailor it to each and EVERY role! It could be the absolute difference between getting the interview or not, from standing out in a pile of applications or being cast aside.
I have been meeting with a number of candidates recently who are not in the job market by choice, but because of a downturn in their sector of expertise. Some are going through outplacement services and some are paying for expert advice and guidance.
With 18 years in the recruitment industry, what can I advise these people to do to make them stand out from the crowd? How can I lessen the burden they are feeling? How can I give them advice on the ‘professional’ advice they have already been given?
It can be so frustrating to read a ‘vanilla’ CV. I recently assisted a candidate who I know has acted in a CFO capacity for almost a year, their CV was two pages long and said their most recent position was ‘Management Accountant’… great role but not Acting CFO or Financial Controller or Finance Manager as I knew this candidate to be.
I told this person not to undersell themselves, to which they replied “I was told that my CV should not be longer than two pages and I should not be looking for a CFO role if I hope to get a job in this terrible market” WRONG!! This is not a terrible market, it is a competitive market and you need to do what you can to stand out.
My advice is simple, look at the role you are applying for, read the job spec or the advert, call the contact person to find out more about the skills and cultural fit required, and tailor your CV to it. Look at the prerequisites and if you satisfy most of them, highlight them in your CV. Put your best CV forward … each and every time.
Don’t even get me started on the ‘two page CV’ advice – how can a senior candidate who has the right experience, the right attributes and expertise ever get their CV down to two pages? Don’t get me wrong, recruiters or hiring managers don’t want to read a 20 page CV either … it is about keeping it clear, concise and to the point, but more importantly than anything, it’s about making it relevant to the position you are applying for.