Iceberg CVs

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Blog 1: What recruiters are really looking for...?

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Recruiters may only spend 30 seconds or less looking at your CV. So, the first thing that is important is that you create an immediate and impactful first impression. So how do you do that? Well, the secret is producing a professional CV that, on first impression (so in the period between picking up the paper or opening the word/PDF document, the recruiter thinks "hmm..that looks good". But what does this mean. Essentially a good looking CV is one that is professional in appearance, that is formatted correctly, that uses the right font, the right margins and clear headings, and something that is easy for the recruiter to assimilate. They will not want to pick up 'war and peace' on 2 pages as this will be an immediate turn off.

Ok, so you have managed to grab their attention in the first 5-10 seconds. Excellent! Now comes the hard bit. You have to retain their interest for at least another minute or so in order that they can properly assess you against the job they have in mind. There is no exact science to this, but the key is to make the CV as clear, crisp, and succinct as possible, focusing on demonstrable evidence of clear achievements and competencies. In other words, if they are looking for a sales person, say for example a New Business Director, they will want to see evidence of your sales achievements volume terms (�m ideally) and growth terms (% increase etc.). Having established that you have some credible evidence, the next step is to determine whether you have the personality to fit such a role. This is a bit harder, but the recruiter will use your personal statement to determine this, as well as your achievements, and even your sport, hobbies or interests. If you live in the fast lane, for example, then you will probably be more suitable to fulfill a sales role than if you were generally introverted in nature and shied away from groups - get my meaning.

Now finally, the recruiter will do the boring but necessary bit. They will scour your CV to determine quality, deduction, breadth of experience, level, skills and competencies, and anything else they can glean. Things that will undermine this analysis will be: 1) poor grammar/spelling (probably the biggest turn off); 2) illogical order and poor formatting/presentation (second biggest factor); and 3) pet/overused phrases which are generally meaningless; recruiters will look for an informed use of industry terms, rather than non-job specific general statements. Of course, a 9 page CV (yes I have seen a few) is another big reason to overlook someone, unless of course the role demands minutia of evidence (such as a programmer or brain surgeon). Also, don't forget to have meaningful achievements

Follow these basic rules and you won't go far wrong. Good luck!

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