Drafting a CV can be difficult and sometimes confusing. There are various sources out there that give different, and often contradictory pieces of advice. As maritime HR, recruitment and executive search experts, we see a huge number of CVs and can share our experience on which are usually successful, and those that are not. The results may be surprising!
Here are some common CV trip-ups and how to steer clear of them:
- Keep it short
It is a common belief among candidates that a good CV must be kept to no more than 2 sides of A4 paper. The truth, however, is not so simple. While a shorter CV may be better for those applying for more junior positions, for senior roles, the recruiter will want to see the full breadth and depth of your experience. In this case, a longer CV gives you more space to outline your roles, responsibilities and success stories – a shorter CV may be taken to indicate a lack of experience, leaving you behind the curve!
- Only list your highest educational achievement
Candidates are often told that after getting a degree under their belt, earlier qualifications are not necessary. While this is true after a few years of experience in the workplace, for those starting out in their careers it is still worth including GCSE or A-Levels. With limited experience to speak of, school qualifications help to demonstrate if you’re a high-flyer.
- List your achievements, not responsibilities
Many CVs we see from candidates have their daily tasks outlined in list form. However, prospective employers want to read about your work achievements, rather than what is essentially a job description for your current role. So, try to include quantifiable achievements or insightful figures that demonstrate your strengths and the results that you’ve delivered.
- Give your hobbies and interests pride of place
Showing your interests are helpful as they humanise candidates, but professional experience should always take pride of place. Hobbies are worth including if they demonstrate an achievement, such as grade 5 piano or climbing Ben Nevis, but leave them until the end!
- Invest in a personal, branded CV
Unique, personal CVs are great for showing creativity when applying for roles where that is necessary, but think twice before investing in an all singing all dancing CV for every sector. 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.