The ultimate CV dos and don’ts

As recruitment specialists, Genesis consultants see a lot of CVs. In fact, when we are advertising for a new role we can find ourselves trawling through hundreds of CVs a day. This means that when it comes to crafting the perfect CV, we know what we’re talking about.

Lets start with the basics…

A good CV should always include some basic personal information; think name, contact details and education (put this at the top of your CV) as well as career history.

“For each role, list the company (including the industry and a line about who they are and what they do), job title, the time frame that you held the position, your key responsibilities and big achievements as well as the technology that you worked with,” explains Shirley Hoffman, a SAP Recruitment Consultant.

Tell us about the don’ts!
– Don’t forget to edit your CV as you update it. “Candidates have a habit of just adding role after role without going back over previous positions to reduce and refine and to put in past tense. This means that they often read as if they’re still in the position,” notes Sarah Johnson, a Senior Consultant in our Infrastructure team.
– Don’t add a photo. At Genesis we all agree that a photo doesn’t belong on your CV. Save it for your LinkedIn profile.

Speaking of LinkedIn…
– Don’t forget to be consistent. “Make sure that your CV and your LinkedIn profile has the same information and job history listed,” advises Shirley Hoffman, a SAP Recruitment Consultant.
– Don’t try and be someone you’re not. “Try and be personable on your CV,” says David Choe, a Senior Consultant in our Analytics, Big Data and Business Intelligence team. “Be professional, but don’t start talking about yourself in the third person!”

So what about the dos?
– Do keep your CV under control. “The ideal CV should be two to four pages long, says Shirley. “If you are a contractor then you can get away with seven. Don’t worry about listing every single project – projects more than 10 to 15 years ago can be mentioned but don’t include all the detail.”
– Do take the time to edit your CV before applying for a role. “I recommend that you tailor your CV for the role you’ve applied for. This gives you an opportunity to highlight your most relevant experience,” says Lachlan Roberts, a Candidate Manager in our infrastructure practice.

Same goes for cover letters…
– Do take time to write a proper cover letter. “If your cover letter isn’t bespoke then don’t even bother. It reads generic and adds no value,” says Sarah.
– Do be mindful of formatting. “Bad formatting makes me cringe,” says Grant Scott, a Recruitment Consultant in the projects team. “Large tabular based CV’s look basic, unappealing and lazy. And ‘Clip Art’ to fill in white space is a definite no-no.”

When you are formatting remember the basics. “Alignment, fonts, too much white space – it all makes a difference,” says Shirley.

You haven’t mentioned hobbies and interests!

Ah, now here is something we don’t all agree on.

“Adding hobbies and interests shows what the candidate is like outside work, which can be a good thing when getting to know someone,” says Lachlan.

David agrees. “If I were a hiring manager I would want to meet and work with someone with similar hobbies,” he says.

But others say hobbies and interests just don’t belong on a modern CV. “I’ve never looked at an application and thought this section added any value,” explains Sarah.

So what should you do? Our advice is that if you want to include your hobbies and interests keep it brief. And as Shirley notes, be smart. “Please don’t say ‘watching TV’ – that is not a hobby!”

On the other hand, if you are not keen on adding hobbies and interests it’s not something that will stand in your way.

A final word…

There is one thing that all our Genesis consultants agree on… spell check your CV!