by Jinx Jeffery, Dynamic New Alliances.
I know a great deal of you reading this will probably have read something similar before, so please forgive me if some of this comes across in a wave of deja vu. But the information is clearly not sinking in – so I feel I must write something on the subject.
I cannot stress how disappointed I am by the number of CVs I receive on a daily basis that lack the basic structure and thought process required to deliver a decent document of self-promotion. This is surely the fundamental purpose of a CV? And if you're applying for a creative position, the way in which you're presenting yourself is surely a key element of your application?
I have to say that I have always been a little bit strict when it comes to CVs. For me, it is a reflection of the person I could employ in a snapshot. This person will be a representative of my company, and a representative of my choices as an employer. This applies at any and every level; whether it's an Artworker sending out the latest campaign or an Art Director presenting to my client.
Ultimately there needs to be professionalism, knowledge and skill projected in this 1 or 2 page document that will form the first and lasting impression that I have of you and your work.
In an age where things move faster and our dependence on digital technology grows, you don't have long to impress. You need to grab my attention with clear precise information, bear in mind that for every job I advertise I will receive between 25 and 100 applications, what makes you different from all the others?
Earlier this week Recruiter posted the article: Candidate Gives God as Reference which discusses the results of a recent survey conducted by career builder which highlights the most common CV blunders. Although not completely relevant to our industry, I see these all too common blunders far more frequently than I should. Take time to read and take note.
Almost a third (32%) of 194 UK employers surveyed claimed they spend one minute or less reviewing a CV, while 14% per cent spend 30 seconds or less. Around a quarter (23%) also said they had uncovered a lie on a CV in the past year.
Employers also said they would be deterred by CVs containing the following:
- large blocks of text that are difficult to read (36%)
- exact text from the job ad pasted into the document (36%)
- unaccompanied by cover letter (26%)
- not customised to the role (25%)
- that is more than three pages (18%)
- listing an objective instead of a career summary (17%)
- an unprofessional email address (16%)
As I'm sure you will agree some quite alarming percentages...especially the figure on how much time is actually spent initially reviewing your CV. 32% claim they spend less than a minute. This means that if your CV isn't up to scratch, you may not be considered for a third of the jobs that you're applying for.
So without wanting to repeat what you have been told before; Think about your CV as a brief...a brief you have been given by your prospective employer - to employ you!
- Keep it clean and tidy. No big paragraphs of waffle.
- Be specific. Make it look presentable.
- No comic sans - I have seen a couple of CVs in this font, this is not a joke. It's not viewed as humorous - it's considered to be unprofessional.
- Keep the structure easy to understand: - Personal info - intro paragraph about yourself (include interests here) - Work history - Education - Refs Cover letter abr. to cover email - not a six page document; a couple of paragraphs about you & your interest in the role. A couple of pages - that's all you need.
- Going back into your school history and your swimming badges in the scouts is useless information. Delete.
- Design your CV. Use Good fonts. Play around with the leading and let it reflect your capabilities.
If all of your work is online - present it well. Less is more. Don't throw everything on to one page. Spread it out and tell your story.
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