We’ve discussed in the past what a Finance Recruiter will look for in your CV. In such a fiercely competitive market it’s paramount that your CV makes an impact that truly reflects your ability a potential employer may be sifting through hundred of CVS and you need to be sure that they dedicate time to yours to judge if you match what they’re looking for.
Naturally our consultants spend much of their time reading CVs and giving feedback. Over 2017’s first quarter they read through over 2000 job applications, throughout which they’ve seen many outstanding examples, but many more mistakes that had the potential to write off a viable candidate. With this in mind, they’ve put together these tips counter the most common mistakes they see on a daily basis.
The challenge for junior candidates
Writing a CV as a junior candidate can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a wealth of experience and such a range of mistakes can stand out. The key to shine out is to write an achievement focused CV. Think about when and how you’ve made a difference in each role. Quantify your achievements so they’re easy to process – include statistics and figures where possible. Demonstrating that you’ve added value to your workplace is one the quickest ways to impress a potential employer. Something as simple as showing where you cut down the time a daily process takes can make a big difference when added up.
To truly impress, provide a brief overview of each company that goes beyond their name and how long you worked there. Consider including; their sector, headcount, turnover, ownership structure etc.
Not tailoring your CV
The job hunting process is tough and time consuming. At some point we’ve all been in the state of sending off multiple applications in a day, so the temptation to use a template CV can be overwhelming. Don’t be tempted! What it may save you in time and effort it will very likely cost you in interviews. Instead, when creating your template CV, include sections that are quick and easy for you to change depending on the role you’re applying for. Read through the job advert and use similar or even the same adjectives. Make sure that the experience you have that matches the role requirements and job description are detailed on the CV. Re-structure your achievements and skills so the most relevant are at the top and adjust them to match the company’s requirements.
Include examples of a cultural fit
Remember that cultural fit can be just as important as achievements. Check the company’s website, see their mission statement, goals, charitable interests and the workplace environment, then tailor your ‘about me’ to match. A skilled recruiter will see that what you lack in experience can be made up for in attitude & cultural aptitude.
Not displaying soft skills
Soft skills are increasingly important – 77% of employers believe that soft skills are just as important as experience. These can be hard to show on a CV, but they shouldn’t be left out entirely. Including achievements that demonstrate communications skills, problem solving ability, relationship-managements skills, project management skills, work ethic or leadership skills can help your CV to stand out while balancing out your technical skills and achievements.
‘Formatting’ can cover a wide range of very common CV mistakes. While no specialist recruiter will turn a good candidate away based purely on a poorly formatted CV, it certainly won’t help you stand out. The most common mistakes include CVs spanning several pages, lengthy descriptions of past roles, poor spelling and/or grammar, strange fonts or layout choices and even ordering roles incorrectly. As a general rule of thumb, your CV should be around two pages, with jobs formatted in chronological order, with only the highlights for your previous roles.
Content is more important than quantity – so don’t be afraid to make your CV longer – as long as it is relevant and adding to your CV put it on there. Remember to include and briefly explain any gaps in your job history – career gaps are very common and rarely a problem so long as they’ve been explained.
Please note that if you’re looking for a finance role, our consultants offer detailed CV analysis and advice. Please get in contact with us here.
Have you improved your CV recently? Please share your experience in the comments below.