A lot of people don’t look at their CV until they have to take it out and dust it down when looking for a new role.
Think of your CV as your professional marketing brochure, which needs to be constantly updated to keep ahead of the competition. Keeping an up to date CV is extremely helpful when applying for internal promotion, identifying areas you need to improve and overall career development. In an age of lifelong learning and development your CV will always be a work in progress, and therefore, needs updating and reviewing on a regular basis.
My 50-minute CV research project
Today I completed a 50-minute CV research exercise. I reviewed 50 CVs from a variety of Technical / Engineering candidates. By doing a quick scan (1 minute per CV) I was able to identify what is working, what is not working, and what stands out. Here is a quick summary of what I noticed that might help you with your CV review.
Make your Personal / Professional Profile work
Nearly 60% of the CV’s I reviewed had a personal profile at the start of their CV. A strong profile should be concise, targeted and clearly identify why you are suitable for the role you are applying for. While the use of profiles on CV’s is increasing, only a handful of the profiles actually stood out as being specific and targeted to the role they were applying to.
CV Editing is key
Just under a third of the CV’s I reviewed went onto 3 or more pages; one CV was 10 pages long! There was a couple of research focused candidates which one might allow go over the recommended two-page CV. However, from what I could see, the main reason for longer CV’s was a lack of editing on the candidate’s part. Editing makes it easier for the recruiter to pick you out of a bunch of CV’s, and the lack of editing is obvious and frustrating to recruiters. It shows a lack of interest in the role and may affect your shortlisting potential. Sometimes less is more.
Building your Brand
LinkedIn is an ideal platform for any technical / engineering candidate to use in their job search. A lot of recruiters lookup candidates on LinkedIn to cross-check the CV, so having your LinkedIn ‘link’ on the CV saves them time and shows professionalism. However, only 15% of the CV’s I looked at had links to the individual’s LinkedIn page. It won’t be the reason you don’t get shortlisted, but it might be the reason you do!
Finding the Balance on your CV
A good CV should have a balanced content of skills, knowledge, and experience. The golden ratio for each area depends on you, the job you are applying for and how well you match the role. Ideally, you should try and get an even split. However, if you are lacking the knowledge (qualifications) for the role, you will need to expand your experience or skills section. Many of the CV’s I reviewed lacked a sense of balance, which meant that well-balanced CV’s really stand out.
If you are interested in exploring the above topics in more detail or want to get your CV Job Ready, you are welcome to attend our free, online workshop for Technical / Engineering CV’s (16/04/2020). It is part of our CareerMAP by ICE Jobs programme, and more details are available HERE