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Your CV: What the Recruiters Really Think

Have you recently completed your studies with the hopes of landing your dream graduate job, or are you simply ready for a career change? One thing’s for sure: you’re not the only one. So, how can you be confident that you’re approaching your job search the right way?

The first step is to create a comprehensive, yet concise CV to showcase your knowledge, skills and experience - if you have any - to stand out from the competition and secure the job.

Based on research performed by the National Citizen Service, recruiters tend to spend an average of 8.8 seconds reviewing a CV. That means that you, as a job seeker, have less than 9 seconds to make a good impression that resonates with employers.

When it comes to CV writing though, it seems like everyone’s an expert these days, making it tough to know how to format and what to include. 

To give you a hand, below we discuss common myths related to your CV whilst discussing what recruiters really think. 

Recruiter talking on phone looking at CVs

Myth #1: It’s never a real person reading you CV

It’s a common misconception in our digital age that when you apply for a job listing through an online platform, one that requires you to upload a digital copy of your resume, that a real person won’t be reviewing it.

This is simply untrue.

While yes, applicant tracking systems are a primary tool used to skim your CV for keywords related to the role you’re applying for, both recruiters and employers will still read your CV if they’re at all interested in your application. 

As a result of this misconception, however, job seekers end up cramming loads of keywords into their CVs, making them repetitive and unoriginal - and recruiters bored and unimpressed - meaning you never move to the next stage.

Myth #2: Having one great CV will work for all applications

We hate to break it to you, but sending the exact same CV to all job listings won’t ever get you the job you’re looking for. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing. 

Each job listing has its own specifications and requirements that are expected from the right candidate. Therefore, it’s imperative that you spend some time researching both the role and the company you’re applying to, as well as adjusting your CV to fit the requirements of the job description. 

According to Forbes, payment processing expert at Payment Depot, Chris Waltenbaugh, states, “For me, the resumes that stand out are the ones that show the person has taken time to think about the position in which they’re applying and carefully crafted a document that demonstrates their understanding and what’s unique about them that will bring value to the job.”

That said, recruiters are trained to quickly scan and filter through CVs to identify which candidates are truly interested and passionate about the role and who is just sending their CV to any organisation in hopes that they’ll get hired. 

Take it from us - and Chris: your chances of securing a job will drastically increase if you focus on perfecting your CV for two or three different job listings (with the relevant keywords) rather than sending the same CV to ten or fifteen job listings.

No two jobs are the same, so no two applications should be either.

CV Writing

Myth #3: You should include every job you previously had

So you spent a summer working as a waiter in a restaurant when you were 15 years old - good going! Is that really relevant though for the job you are currently applying for? Probably not.

Although you may have changed roles many times over the years, believe us when we say that not every job needs to be included in your CV. Instead, it’s important that you remain concise (a maximum of two pages) and only include experience and skills you’ve gained that you can transfer to the new role. 

Lee Owen, Director at Hays UK explained that when he looks at a CV for the first time, he likes to focus on “how the experience detailed matches up to the job description or job advert”, saying that “is what employers will be looking for”.

With that in mind, try to avoid using jargon and unnecessary details. Some things you can mention, include:

- Your most recent and applicable work experience
- Your transferable skills that will help you excel in the role you’re applying to, and
- Any relevant professional qualifications

This is what recruiters want to see. 

Myth #4: You must include your hobbies in your CV

Whether it’s hanging out with friends or playing our favourite sport, we all have hobbies we like to do in our free time. If you have a hobby you’re passionate about, which you have won awards for or have participated in charity events, then of course go ahead and include it in your CV.

However, don’t feel obligated to do so. It tends to be a given that we have extracurricular commitments outside of work, and listing each of your hobbies on your CV will only take up valuable space that you could otherwise be utilising to further showcase your experience and job-specific skills.

If a recruiter or employer is interested in finding out what your hobbies are outside of work they’ll most likely ask about them during your interview. So, in the meantime, just focus on the personal and professional qualities you have relevant to the role and call it a day.

Recruiters interview handshake CV

Myth #5: Typos in a CV are okay, we’re just human

Now we know what you’re thinking, is it really that bad to have a few typos here and there in your CV? Well, the answer is: absolutely!

With everything being primarily digital now (even job applications) there really aren’t any excuses for grammatical errors and typos in your resume.

It’s essential that you review your CV for any such errors, both in terms of the text and its presentation. It would be wise to also ask a friend to read through for you as well so that you benefit from a fresh set of eyes (that can often spot mistakes we can’t). 

You may think that the odd mistake isn’t the worst thing in the world, however, consider what impression that makes on a recruiter. With such mistakes you may come across as though you have rushed through it without real care and lacking attention to detail - and no one wants to hire someone with those qualities. 

A survey performed by StandOut CV found that even 1 single grammar/spelling mistake will cause a recruiter to question your credibility. That said, it would be a shame to miss out on your dream job simply because your competition used spell check on their resume and you didn’t. So before sending it off, stop, and read through it again.  

We hope that you have found the above tips useful and that they help give you the confidence to update your CV in a way that impresses recruiters and employers alike.


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