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CV Advice from David Tubb, Director of Recruitment, Spinnaker

One of the impacts on the job market post covid was the great resignation.  This created a real problem with the availability of talent and created a skills gap in the maritime recruitment sector.

We currently find ourselves in a candidate-driven job market, with demand outstripping supply. Despite this, there is still a need to stand out to potential employers when it comes to finding a new job in shipping.

We asked Spinnaker’s Recruitment Director David Tubb for his top tips when it comes to writing a CV that stands out from the crowd.  Here’s what he had to say:

Tip 1 – How important is the length of your CV?

It’s a common belief that a good CV must be kept to no more than 2 sides of A4.

Whilst a shorter CV may be better for those applying for junior positions, employers will still want to see the full breadth of your experience for senior roles. That said, once you reach CEO level you can leave out any junior roles from the very start of your career.

A longer CV gives you more space to outline your responsibilities and success stories, whereas a shorter CV may indicate a lack of experience.

Tip 2 – Education & Qualifications

How much detail is needed in this area? As a general rule of thumb, earlier qualifications are not necessary once you have a degree under your belt.

While this is true after several years of workplace experience, for those starting out in their careers it is still worth including GCSE or A-Levels (or equivalent qualifications) to help to demonstrate your achievements.

Tip 3 – Achievements, not responsibilities

Many of the CVs that we see from candidates have their daily tasks outlined in list form.

Prospective employers want to read about your work achievements, not just a job description for your current role.

Try to include relevant, quantifiable achievements or insightful figures demonstrating your strengths. Such as performance against KPI’s and budgets.

Tip 4 – Hobbies

Showing your interests is helpful and makes you a real person, but professional experience should always take pride of place.

Hobbies are worth including if they demonstrate an achievement, such as climbing Ben Nevis. Adding your weekly book club or you’re tending to your houseplants may spark a random conversation, but I wouldn’t make it top of the list (unless you know it matches that of the hiring manager.

Tip 5 – Personal branding

Unique, personal CVs are great for showing creativity when applying for roles which demand creativity such as marketing and PR roles, but I would suggest that you think twice before investing in an all-singing all-dancing CV.

Recruiters and employers handle high volumes of applications and use automated software to input CV details into their internal systems.

These systems often struggle to recognise non-standard CV formats, and may be confused by unusual tables, shadings, or patterns.

This can jumble up information and impact your application, so stick to serif fonts and keep imagery to a minimum.

Tip 6 – Employment gaps   

LinkedIn recently surveyed 23,000 people worldwide and found that 62% had taken a career break at some point.

Whether by choice, redundancy or personal reasons (such as starting a family), I’d always advise being open and honest on your CV with length and reason. Employers will often value a career break as it can show that you have had time to think about your future career path and haven’t just stayed in a job for necessity.

Tip 7 – Work experience

For junior roles, your work experience is just as, if not more important, than your qualifications. Grades tell employers how well you perform academically, but not what you’re like in a workplace.

So as well as including relevant qualifications, do highlight the skills you’ve gained from work experience.

One final note on the topic of LinkedIn profiles. As recruiters, we always look at a candidate’s profile on LinkedIn so I would strongly advise that this is up to date and also matches the experience on your CV.

On the topic of social media, bear in mind that an employer might research you on Instagram and Facebook so ensure your posts and photos are not controversial.  In addition, interviews via WhatsApp will most likely see the employer viewing your profile picture.  Make sure that this is as professional as you would like to come across in person.

David Tubb is Director of Recruitment at Spinnaker.

You can contact him via email [email protected] or call +44 (0)1702 480142

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