Three steps to a great CV

I was struck recently by an article which quoted a survey of 400 employers which revealed that three out of five discovered that a candidate’s CV had been “embellished”.

There’s a really competitive market for what candidates believe are the best jobs, so they are very keen to sell themselves well in their CVs.

Unfortunately, there can be a very fine line between presenting the very best version of yourself to get shortlisted for a role and bending the truth. As well as being unethical, embellishing is a very short-sighted approach. It increases the chances of failure later, either in the selection process, or by starting a role you aren’t suitable for.

Also, with the predicted increased use of very sophisticated artificial intelligence and automated bots within the recruitment process, organisations may well soon find it easier to spot when a candidate is embellishing the content of their CV.

Here at Henley Business School, careers and professional development coaching is both embedded within our curricula and available to students in their own time. Our blended model of online support and face-to-face advice makes it very clear to all our students to act with their utmost integrity at all stages of the recruitment process.

We advise a simple three-step process to compile a great CV:

Construct – there are plenty of videos and online CV builders that will quickly help to get a decent basic CV that follows the main elements that most recruiters are looking for.

Personalise – make your CV your own.  That involves thinking about what your unique selling points are and making sure that they stand out.  It also means thinking about how the document looks – colours, font, graphics are important.

Tailor – every time you are going to send your CV to apply for a job take time to really think about what the recruiter is looking for and review your CV to see if it clearly shows you meet their criteria, without embellishment.  You’ll need to change your CV a bit every time you send it because every job is different, so you’ll need to tell your story differently. Employers have an important part to play, too.

For me, the key when recruiting is to really bring the role to life.

Whilst social media, eye-catching websites and glossy recruitment brochures give future recruits general information about what’s involved in a role, the most valuable insight for a candidate is to engage face-to-face with those working in an organisation. It gives candidates the opportunity to really understand what they’d be doing on a day-to-day basis.

By building a greater understanding of an employer, and the actual role being advertised, via networking events, work shadowing and mentoring schemes, candidates should be able to feel more confident to present their best selves to employers better during a recruitment process.

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