As part of our post-COVID business transformation, we enlisted the help of clients to tell us what they are thinking when they read CVs.

What hiring managers are thinking when they read your CV…..

As part of our post-COVID business transformation, we enlisted the help of clients to tell us what they are thinking when they read CVs.  We spoke to line managers and functional heads, HR managers and internal recruiters.  What we uncovered was so interesting, we had to share it with you.

We asked hiring managers if they like reviewing CVs and if they read every word
Some managers enjoy reading CVs, but the vast majority do not.   You should also know that when making the first cut, more than 80% of hiring managers only skim your CV.

We asked why reviewing CVs isn’t a favourite task for so many
Hiring managers told us they find reviewing high volumes of advertising response very time-consuming.  They find it very difficult to spot the key skills and experience they are looking for, as they find most CVs are too wordy, too long and are poorly laid out.

What grabs their attention
A CV with consistent formatting, is easy to read and has good use of white space.  They want to be able to easily find the relevant skills, experience and achievements they asked for in their advertisement.

Biggest turn-offs
No surprises here.  Clients hate seeing spelling and grammatical errors.  CVs with too many graphics, fonts that are too small to read easily and CVs with wall to wall words make a hiring manager lose interest.  Hiring managers are put off when a candidate has clearly not given their CV the attention such an important document deserves.

The most important influencers in their decision to shortlist you
Overwhelmingly, number one is a stable work history.   If you’ve had promotions within an organisation, demonstrate that in your CV.  If you have moved jobs but have a legitimate reason for the move, then explain that, succinctly.  If some of your jobs have been contracts, then make sure they are marked as such.

Another very strong influencer of whether you will make the shortlist …. the companies you have worked for.   Employers are looking to see you have worked in an organisation which is in some way aligned to theirs.  That could be in size, complexity, products, services, systems, ownership, local or global reach and culture.  Many hiring managers will know the organisation you work for, but for less well-known brands, managers would appreciate a short description of your employers’ business.

Hiring managers are looking for achievements, but equally they are looking for honesty.  One person is not solely responsible for a positive change in an organisation.  Care should therefore be taken to provide context around your contributions.  It’s also important not to confuse your responsibilities with achievements.

What influences their decision to interview you
We asked if other factors, aside from your CV, played a part in deciding whether a candidate made the interview stage.  Overwhelmingly it is the CV and the recruiters’ recommendation that influences a client.  In the absence of a recruiter, LinkedIn played a big role.  Employers check that your dates and responsibilities in your CV match your LinkedIn profile.  The lack of a LinkedIn profile caused concern for some.  For others, the absence of a LinkedIn profile didn’t matter as much as a profile with virtually nothing in it.

What next
If you read this and realise you have work to do on your CV or LinkedIn profile, then we are glad our blog has brought this to your attention.  If you would like us to review your CV or LinkedIn profile, we will be pleased to help.  Call us on 8765 9700.

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