Having spent the last year reading CV's from candidates at all levels applying for roles around the world, I thought it a good time to share some tips on applying for jobs and writing your CV. After reading this, If nothing else, you should at least avoid infuriating the recruiter, as many do ! And if you thought this only applies to more junior staff, think again, you should see the CV's we have received from HR professionals and General Managers !
RESPONDING TO A JOB ADVERT
READ THE ADVERT - if it asks for a Word CV then send one, if they are looking for a female and you are a male, guess what reply you will get, if it asks for a photo include one etc.
If there's a name on the advert of whom to contact or an email address, then address your letter or intro email to that person. Why send an email to Stephen Thorley at GSI and then address it Dear Sir (or even worse Madam !). If there's no name, why not impress and show some initiative by finding out who the contact is.
CHECK YOUR CV - is your name on there and contact details.
A recruiter may receive more than 100 responses to an advert, so either apply through the advert or directly, not both.
Read what they are looking for, does your CV show that you have the skills that they are looking for ? If not, see if you can revise your CV.
COVER LETTERS - short, to the point, explaining why you are right for the job, nothing else.
PREPARING YOUR CV
CV's should never be longer than 4 pages. If you have experience from more than 10 years ago, just list it.
Check the basics are there - your name at the top, contact details (including Skpe), personal details (especially marital status), if you have children how old are they as this will affect schooling needs. If you intend to travel without your family, add a line for Travel Status, it could decide if you will make the first cut or not.
The most important thing a recruiter is looking for is your work experience (especially your current role) so why put it 4 pages into your CV. Always start with your current role and work back not the other way around (obvious I know but you wouldn't believe how many people do it).
Never assume that the recruiter will know the places that you have worked at or will take the time to look them up, so add a one line description - size, standard, style or theme etc.
Okay you worked there but what did you do ? Did you achieve anything, did the hotel or restaurant win any awards while you were there, can you tie in what you did with what the recruiter is looking for e.g. budget writing experience, revenue improvements, staff training etc. Don't copy and paste from your job description, it shows.
If you have a smart photo, put it in your CV it's no good as an attachment that the recruiter then has to insert. Does your photo help sell you for the job, are you smart enough to represent the place you are applying to ?
Never write the same responsibilities for every job that you did, it shows a lack of imagination and effort.
If you have a long list of responsibilities, be practical, will it help your application and show your abilities or can you just include it in day to day operations. Writing a long list that extends your CV does not mean that the recruiter will be impressed, in reality they will think you can't think logically and summarise.
Is your name in the document file name ? It makes you a lot easier to find when the recruiter might have more than a 100 CV's come in. Just Fred Bloggs CV1 will do, if it's Fred Bloggs CV1012, how many have you written and why.
Education is very important but not more than your work experience so put it behind
Check the dates of your experience, do they match, are there gaps you need to explain.
GAPS - not all of us are fortunate to have seamless CV's having moved from job to job without even a month's gap. If it's a long gap (more than 6 months) it may be better to explain why and put down temporary assignments that you had to fill the gap. Consulting is a wonderful cover !
It's unusual for people to leave a role and not have something to go into so if you have a gap, it's worth adding why you left otherwise recruiters will wonder if you had to leave and why....
Never never send your CV to several recruiters at the same time and leave all their email addresses showing ! You will be sure not to get a reply from any of them. Mailing is easy, get someone to show you if you don't know how.
Good luck !
Stephen Thorley, Global Search International, London
About Stephen Thorley
Stephen Thorley is a 20 year veteran of the industry with extensive experience in international Food and Beverage operations before he moved into consulting and recently recruitment. He is currently a senior Consultant with Global Search International of London, a boutique recruitment firm that prides itself on the quality roles that it works on and the quality personal service delivered to clients and candidates alike.