“We’re hiring!” – and that means I’m looking at a lot of CVs!
Unlike some organisations, we don’t use bots or algorithms to filter applications – we’re a human business, looking for other talented humans to join us. But there’s a huge array of talent applying for every role we have – so how do you make it past the first glance?
First impressions – a clean, concise, well organised CV
- A one-page CV is great, but might not be enough to include some important details – 2 pages are ideal, but if you’re getting beyond 3 or 4, you may want to start editing
- It can project your personality, but your résumé doesn’t need to be in technicolour, full of company logos or using this season’s fashionable colours or fonts – these may distract from your real qualities.
- Start with the basics –
- your contact details – so we can get hold of you by phone and email
- current location – are you in a good location for the job?
- a short statement will help me to understand who you are – an inspirational quote from a personal hero is interesting, but I’d rather read about you in your own words!
Work experience – the main course
Chronological summary is usually best, starting with your latest role – keep it punchy!
- Job title, company, location and dates
- Your key responsibilities & tasks
- Highlight major achievements or challenges you have overcome – the golden nuggets from your own coalface
I may not need to know about every job from your early career, but if you learned or achieved something valuable from that role, let me know.
Account for any gaps or career breaks – nothing raises suspicions more than an unexplained hole in the timeline!
Education – your platform
Depending on the level or type of job, or stage in your career, you’ll probably want to include your basic school education and highest further studies.
- An apprenticeship, a college diploma or degree, Masters or PhD shows your commitment to investing in your own future, and evening classes reinforce this – demonstrate how you’re always learning
- For many roles, I’m more interested in what you’ve achieved as an adult than the exams you sat as a youth, but it’s useful to see the highest level of education you achieved.
Other skills – added value
- We often recruit for multinational environments, so an accurate picture of your language abilities (including your mother tongue) are vital
- Familiarity with IT systems – almost everyone in business uses Microsoft Office daily, but how advanced are your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and database management skills? If you’ve worked with SAP or manufacturers’ in-house systems, list them
- Driving accreditation or restrictions are useful to know about in our business, together any other major training courses or accreditation you have completed at work.
Hobbies, Interests & Passions – what makes you unique?
- This is your opportunity to demonstrate your character and personality, to show how you tick, what lights your candle and makes you stand out from the crowd
- Whether it’s charity work in your community, sporting achievements or just your passion, paint me a picture of your life and why I’d want to meet you.
Personalisation – make it bespoke
Tailoring your CV to each application shows your commitment to presenting yourself to an employer. But in an age of 1-click applications, where using a single, standard CV may be the only realistic option, make sure you include a brief letter or message to introduce your application, and draw out the key attributes you would bring to the job, together with your motivation in applying. This may need a little research into the company you are applying to, or the person responsible for recruitment, but this will show that you have done your homework and taken a genuine interest.
Linkedin has revolutionised how we find talent for our business – make sure your CV and your Linkedin profile are consistent, and add details of your duties, responsibilities and achievements to each role you list – a job title alone is not enough.
We recruit on attitude and character – we find these to be much better measures than experience alone – and we often hire from outside the automotive sector, as we find fresh ideas and new thinking out there. But it’s useful to see where there may be knowledge gaps so we can support your training and development from Day 1 – be honest and open about where you think your areas for development might be, and how you intend to address them. An enlightening employer will welcome your open approach.
A good CV is an elegant work of art, but remember its true purpose is to get the attention of your next employer and convince them to find out more.
Author: Gareth Ebenezer – Client Services Manager, AMS Ltd.