This looks like a job for me ‘cause we need a little CV Controversy….
This week One21 was invited by EmployNZ to lead a group of adult students through a session on 'Common CV Mistakes, Bad Advice and Misinterpretations'.
EmployNZ felt it would be beneficial to get a professional recruiters view on what employers are looking for when it comes to presenting interview winning Curriculum Vitae's - or at the least CV’s that get past the first screen cut and might even get shortlisted.
I'm not sure they were quite expecting my un-PC and possibly controversial viewpoints - although I was thanked for my honesty and 'telling it straight' afterwards!
It was disturbing to hear that some of the students had apparently been advised by WINZ to keep their CV’s to just two pages and to list only the last 8-10 years of experience, or the last three jobs. And, instead of explaining why they have been out of work, they understood it was best practice to leave that part of their lives out altogether, or to drop any jobs that showed their age. All of which I guess, if nothing else, makes it easier to stick to 2 pages!
It does make me wonder how people getting this advice from WINZ are getting jobs? Or are they?
In my very humble opinion, most employers’ want a CV to be absolutely transparent, and along with us recruiters they get frustrated with trying to guess what’s missing and why. They want to know where you've come from, what you know and also what you don't know and they want to see why you are the right person for them to invest considerable time and money, not to mention financial and legal risk, in taking on.
Of course employers also need to do their 'due diligence', or else risk getting it horribly wrong. If they are happy to employ someone who has supplied minimal information in a CV, then they can't blame anyone but themselves if the skeletons come out of the closet to haunt them later!
Two page CV's don't provide enough information for an Employer to make an informed decision. This might work if you are a young student or new to the work force, but most adult students have some experience that is worth including, whether its 'job skills' from years before or 'life skills' from their current situation, it could be relevant and you never know what it might be that triggers a response and makes your CV stand out from the masses.
Also a CV can risk ending up in the 'two hard basket' because there are too many unexplained lapses and the Recruiter/Employer simply doesn't have time to contact every candidate to fill in the gaps.
I understand that many individuals have different barriers or blockages that are inhibiting them from marketing and selling themselves in the best light to potential employers. Often it is a job that hasn't ended so well, or a conflict from a past working relationship, perhaps an injury or illness that has prevented them from working, they are feeling prejudiced against because of age/race/gender etc, or it could simply be a little bit of (undeserved) shame that they took time off to be an ‘at home parent’ when others they know continued working.
Whatever it is, the best way to break down these barriers and put your best step forward is to identify and overcome your 'demon's' and create a well written, comprehensive, yet concise CV that puts a positive ‘spin’ on the highlights the employer wants to see first and minimizes (but doesn’t exclude altogether) the ‘lowlights’.
If you haven’t got it worked out right in your CV, then the question is how do you expect to get past these barriers in an actual interview?
So, what is your opinion? What do YOU think employers want to see in a CV? Maybe the 'one CV formula fits all' theory isn't working? Are you a 1-2 pager type Employer/Recruiter/Job Seeker or would you prefer 4-5 pages with a complete work history?
For more information on One21’s CV Writing, Recruitment and Employee Engagement services go to: www.therecruitmentoutsourcer.com