PROCUREMENT HEADS BLOG

Scrabble tiles that spell out good and bad

CVs…The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Job vacancies continue to spike, despite the increasing skills shortages across the hiring market.

But, don’t allow the high number of vacancies to let you get lazy with your CV.

Bearing in mind that most people review CVs in less than 10 seconds, it’s important you make yours stand out.

So – and, using a dubiously tenuous link to Sergio Leone’s classic – I asked the Recruiters at Heads Resourcing Group to share the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to crafting a CV.


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The Good…

  • Outline your skills and expertise in a profile summary at the top of your CV
  • Include a quantifiable track record of achievement, tangible numbers that demonstrate this and projects you have been involved in
  • Get your best achievements front and centre on the first page
  • Make sure the layout is clean and easily digestible – using bullets, some bold text and spacing helps
  • Include relevant professional qualifications
  • Make it clear what you solve and who should shortlist you
  • Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for
  • Cover just the last 10 years in any detail

The Bad…

  • Don’t repeat the same responsibilities for each job you have had, space is at a premium here so repetition of duties is wasteful
  • Exclude unusual or controversial information – one person once claimed to be interested in lawn mower racing
  • Scrap that huge, overbearing, generic personal profile you have at the top
  • Never include…Photographs, your date of birth and address – none of these help eliminate subconscious bias
  • Lose “references available on request” – it’s another waste of space 

The Ugly

  • Don’t forget to include your email address and a link to your LinkedIn profile
  • The recipient doesn’t want to wade through a War and Peace-length tome, any more than three pages is overkill
  • Ensure the fonts and text sizes are consistent
  • Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes show a lack of care – check the copy in your CV, Grammarly.com is a great free resource for this
  • Never download artistic pro formas that don’t match the discipline you’re facing into

Why is a good CV important?

  • This is your first chance to gain the reader’s attention and make a good impression. If they’ve had to trawl through unnecessary information to get to your skillsets and experience, the chances are you’ve already lost their attention.
  • A grammatically sound CV, without any typos or spelling mistakes shows you are professional, care how you come across and have taken the time to check your CV (Grammarly.com is a great free resource to help wheedle our errors.)

We’re here to help

As specialist recruiters, we’ve seen it all, and we are regularly asked to review and advise as to how best to present yourself to the market.

That’s why we created ‘CV Aid’; an initiative through which we support Macmillan Cancer Support.

While the team won’t write your CV for you, they will give you a steer on its structure, content and presentation.

For each CV we consult on, we ask you to make a donation, big or small, via our JustGiving page.

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James Leslie