Sunday, 28 November 2010

Which CV are you?

Whilst the process of CV selecting is slightly different at most firms, there is usually a pre-screen, either by HR/ Grad Recruitment / Agency before the CVs are forwarded as a CV Book / a block of attachments / etc to the business. This is the first hurdle that any applicant has to get passed. Most CVs fall into certain categories which determine whether or not they will get sent onto the business. Here are some of those categories for you to consider where yours might fit:

The "Passed Around" CV
This is the one that everyone acknowledges is a good CV - good education, good experience and great potential. The problem with this CV is that there is no clear home for its owner.  It doesn't tell a story which has a definite, or at least reasonably conclusive, answer.
The result is that everyone feeds back to HR "Good CV, but not for our team, try.. XYZ", and then XYZ say the same and so on.  Whilst it can happen that the CV 'finds' the appropriate home through these means, there is a considerable danger that it will get forgotten about... always on someone's 'to do' list, but never quite actioned. And then eventually all the roles are gone and you become an 'almost made it' CV.
Make sure your CV or app form points you towards a definite home to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

The "Should have been selected but isn't" CV
Two people with exactly the same qualifications, experience, education, etc, can very easily end up on two sides of the selected/not selected scale. You must remember that it is not enough to have the experience for the role, you must describe and explain it in a manner that really puts it across in the strongest possible way.  I see CVs like this and comments like "I'm not sure s/he has the depth that we are looking for", "doesn't seem to be a lot of effort put into the CV - if that's representative of what s/he will do here, then would rather get someone else in".
No matter how good your education and experience is, you still need considerable effort to go into your CV to guarantee you the interview.

The "if only" CV
Possibly my least favourite CV to encounter as they are the ones with the silly mistakes - spelling mistakes, no degree result put on there, the wrong company mentioned in the accompanying letter, etc - but which are really very good CVs. Sometimes if a recruiter is feeling generous, they will correct silly mistakes before sending to the business, but more often then not, they won't. It's not really fair on the other grads who have taken the time to make sure everything is perfect.
Also, there is an increasing tendency by grads to supply a CV in PDF format, which is fine, but it does mean that if you do make a mistake, you are 100% guaranteed to get binned. HR wont forward a CV to the business with mistakes on it, because it makes it look like we haven't bothered to screen it.
Get someone else to look at your CV before you send it to a company. When you have been staring at something for such a long time, it is easy to miss small mistakes. A third party will usually spot them a lot easier than you will.

The "let's give him/her a shot" CV
This is the CV that isn't quite as strong as some of the others that you have seen, but it is clear that the person has worked very hard to date, has put a lot of effort into extra-curricular activities to build their transferable skillset, has done work for the community/a charity, etc. They usually have to be accompanied by a strong cover letter as well, but if that is the case, then they have a reasonable chance of being included in a pack sent to the business for consideration.

The "everyone wants him/her" CV
This is the CV that all of the teams that it's forwarded to want to see.  This is generally a good place to be as there can be a lot of internal rangling as to who gets to interview him/her first, etc. The downside is that sometimes it is the team that has the most internal 'power' that will get first dibs on seeing you - which might not always be the same as the team that you want to be in - but there is usually a way of negotiating your way (carefully, and not too early in the process) to where you want to be. Be careful not to come across full of it if you start to realise this is the position that you are in, because you can find yourself not wanted by anyone very quickly if it starts to sound diva-esque....

1 comment:

  1. how do you know which CV you actually are? since we sadly don't know what happens behind the scenes?