It’s been a while since I've “blogged”, I’m not very good at it you see so I decided to step back from it until I had something to say that was interesting not just blabbering on (like now!!). So here I am.
As part of my current role, I manage the graduate recruitment process for an area of our business which invariably means having to review 100’s of applications. After doing this every year for many years, I know what we’re looking for as a business and can pretty quickly make a decision on what is a good candidate and what is not, that is not to say I am blasé about reviewing CVs, oh no, I am quite the opposite, there is always that fear in the back of my mind that we might lose out on that one shining star if I don’t review every single person and review them properly, so I do, even if it takes me 4 hours to get through 300 applications. Or maybe that’s quite quick; I've nothing to measure it against except me.
Anyway, I digress.
I thought that following this review, I would post some tips, partly borne out of frustration but mostly in the hope that this will one day reach the eyes of graduates who need some guidance in how to get a job.
1 – CARE
Quite simply, when you apply you need to show you actually care about the application you’re putting forward. Don’t leave it incomplete, re-read it, make sure it’s relevant to the role you’re submitting it against. It’s so easy to tell when a candidate just can’t be bothered to make any effort and you will get rejected quicker than you can say “I’m off to the pub”.
2 – MAKE IT RELEVANT
Leading on from caring, if you do care, you need to make sure you make the effort and make your application relevant to the role you’re applying to, yes it takes time, yes its laborious, pouring through each application and tailoring your CV to that specific role, but isn’t that the point? Nothing comes for free these days and if you want the job, you need to show you WANT the job and have put time and energy in making your application most relevant to the requirements.
3 – DON’T WAFFLE
This is so irritating to a recruiter. Whilst recruiters and hiring managers like to see you have a life outside your studies, meaning you’re a well-balanced individual, can get on with others and are an interesting person, it’s not relevant to waffle on about your love of scuba diving or the fact that you’ve run 20 10Ks in a year, commendable yes but wittering on for 6 precious lines tends to indicate your passion lies elsewhere and not perhaps in the area you’re applying to. Make sure the focus of your application is on the skills that match the role, your new team can find out how awesome you are once you get the job.
4 – STOP WITH THE DETAIL
We don’t need to know how committed you were to your job in Morrisons while you were at uni, we know what working in a pub entails, you don’t need to bullet point your areas of responsibility while serving at Pizza Express. Include the fact that you have had part time jobs, that’s fine, but you really don’t need to include ANY detail about the role, unless it is entirely relevant, an example could be if you’re applying to a role in Human Resources and state that you worked part-time in Next while studying and was promoted to work in the back office in HR.
5 – THE QUALIFICATION QUESTION
It is of course important to include pre-degree qualifications, it is less important to list every subject and every grade/award, it is even less important to do this via a bulleted list, they take up valuable space and it’s not needed. Simply stating “10 GCSE grade A-C” will do. A levels are perhaps more relevant (dependant on the grad role) but again, you don’t need to list them vertically, you can summarise as per the GCSE example but if you really want to include them then do this vertically “A levels – X (B), Y (B-) and Z (A)”.
6 – SIZE MATTERS
As a raw graduate, you have no business having a CV longer than 2 pages, personally I think 1 page is more akin to a true resume (a summary document) but 2 is just perfect. It gives you enough space to include the right amount of information and explanations without going into too much detail. You don’t need to fill 2 pages (so don’t be tempted to waffle just to get to the end of the 2nd page), but this is a good rule of thumb throughout your career to stick to. If your Cv goes over 2 pages you need to review and see what you can reduce or cut out, you don’t need to include references so take them off, you don’t need to bullet you’re A levels, you can lose that paragraph space.
7 – CHECK x INFINITY
Submitting an application with grammatical or spelling errors is just the absolute pits. It makes recruiters shake their heads and managers furrow their brows. Just check, check, check it, Word can only do so much, get your housemate to check it, get your mum to check it, get anyone ELSE to check it for you as that 2nd pair of eyes because when you submit your application to a “Graduate Retail Mangment” position, I can tell you now, there is a 98% chance it’s heading straight into the bin.
So there you go, there are loads of other tips I could post but I don’t want to waffle on! Happy CV reviewing!