CV Advice: “S not Z”

This article was written by Antal Managing Partner Penny Simpson. Find out more about Penny Simpson and the Upminster, UK office here.

As a technical recruitment consultant with over 20 years’ experience candidates often ask for advice on their CV. This is a smart move because recruiters get feedback from a number of different hiring personnel all with different ideas as to what they do and do not like on a CV. This helps us build up a good overall idea as to what works.

For technical roles a skill summary is important, one thing I have noticed and advise to never do is ‘copy and paste.’

I often see the same responsibilities copied and pasted for every role at different companies and projects. It is evident when the job description has been used to do so.

It would be beneficial to take your time, think back to the project, the team and the part you played. Doing so can help to explain not just the technologies you used or the activity but how your actions impacted the completion and success of whatever it is you are describing to showcase your talent.

Example: “I was involved in the SDLC”

Ok great! How? What was your involvement? how did this impact / benefit the team and project? A little more detail can make the difference between securing an interview and being rejected. It can also be useful to refrain from the use of abbreviations.

Understandably usually it is too longwinded to go into every detail of a project but the content needs to be captivating and informative. To copy and paste with mundane sentences is not a good indicator of your individual achievements or your part and purpose in a project. You cannot have had the same duties for every company.

Another faux pas I find on work history is when there is too much emphasis on the reason for the project and what the company does and no mention of the technologies used or the how you contributed to the success of the project. It is good to give an idea as to the objective of the project or product but not if it has been once again simply copied and pasted from the organisation’s website. For every piece of information, you should highlight the role you had and the technologies used to do so. These are the main pieces of information the hiring managers are looking for.

And finally, unless in America it is “ S” not “ Z “

There are many articles and advice on how to create a CV, this is not an exhaustive explanation of common mistakes I find, however it is one of the most looked down upon and I thought it would be useful to share!