CV Hints and Tips
Working in recruitment for over ten years I thought this ‘CV Hints and Tips’ sheet would be useful. This is mainly aimed toward people in the Medical Devices, Scientific, Data Science and other complex fields.
Hobbies on CV
Any technical or problem-solving hobby is important to have on your CV. It does not matter if you are a graduate or an industry expert, having a technical hobby on your CV shows you have real passion rather than just looking for a job.
Although it can be good to have a physical hobby (running, football etc.) this does not showcase a passion for your work. So, your hobby could be Sudoku, working on car engines, building model planes, computer programming, working on electronics or many others. Basically, anything that showcases an interest and passion in engineering, tinkering or problem solving.
You may feel your education or work history should showcase this passion and it will, but the person who also has the hobbies are likely to gain an interview ahead of you if they have the same level of education or work history.
Do not limit your CV to one/two pages
Your CV is your chance to showcase your experience and skills. By limiting the number of your CV pages, you could end up missing off information that may secure you an interview. Alternately, you may squeeze too much information on one page, making it difficult to read meaning whoever is reviewing your CV may not see the information they are looking for.
Now I’m not saying write a 17-page CV, but three or four pages will be fine if you need the space. The first person to review your CV may not be a technical expert, meaning they may be looking for specific ‘key-words’ and if you restricted your CV you may have missed out that phrase and missed your chance of your interview.
Fully explain your work on your projects
This relates to the last point, when people limit their CV they do not fully explain what they have been doing during education or a project.
Imagine your CV will be reviewed by someone with no technical knowledge, could be a new member of HR, a CV reviewer for a recruitment team, or a hiring manager who is not overly technical. So, to make sure they are not wasting anyone’s time they will focus on the CVs they feel fully explain their work and they can relate to the job specification.
Have a version of your CV in word format
A PDF version of a CV looks nice, but if you are applying through certain job sites they automatically convert your CV into a Word document and normally the formatting is terrible, which could cost you a career opportunity.
Recruitment agencies will also need to remove your personal information, due to the data protection act, meaning the formatting could cost you a career opportunity.
If your application is directly to a company (rather than via a recruitment agency or job site) then a PDF version should be fine.
The only exception to this would be if you work in industrial design/human factors or another design focused role. If this is the case, PDF will be fine but have another version of your CV without your contact information/address/web addresses/LinkedIn address on them.
Do not over complicate your CV
This may sound like it is contradicting a couple of earlier points. You can give a good account of the work you have done (during a work role or education) without writing pages and pages of information.
A bit like when you would present information/data to a group, you would be informative but concise.
Have voice-mail set up on your phone
There is nothing worse than calling up someone to talk about a new opportunity, but you are not able to leave a message.
Not everyone will follow up a call with an email (be it a recruitment agency or a direct company).
Also, some companies may restrict the amount of people they will interview, meaning if they fill their quota over a few days calling people who applied, they will not call you a second time. If you have a voice-mail set up, then you call them back and have a chance of arranging an interview.
If you can, tailor your objective/personal statement to the company and role you are applying for.
I appreciate, via a recruitment agency this may not be possible all the time. In this occasion, focus on the type of role you are focusing on. i.e. why are you applying for a Physicist/Mechanical Engineer/R&D/Software etc. role?
Put your degree classifications on your CV
If you do not put your degree classifications on your CV, many hiring managers will just presume you did not do very well.
I’ve spoken to people who have had a 1st Class degree, but because they did not put this on their CV hiring managers have passed over their CV.
If you are early in your career (first five years), also note your A-level results.
Pictures on CVs?
This seems to be happening more and more, but if you are applying for a role in the UK I would suggest not having a picture on your CV as it has never been embraced in the UK and could have a negative impact on your application.
If you are applying for a role in Europe, then please attach a picture if you would like.
A couple of interview points
Pictures on LinkedIn and other social media
When you apply for a role, it is likely someone will search for you on LinkedIn. I had someone apply for a role who had a snapchat filter with dog ears on their picture. As LinkedIn is a professional network, this just made people think they are unprofessional.
I’d also suggest changing your security settings on your other social media platforms and making sure you have a sensible photo on your main page.
Don’t smoke just before an interview
I recently had a candidate who was smoking while waiting for his interview to start, actually making the hiring manager wait while he finished.
Even if he had not asked them hiring manager to wait, if the hiring manager does not smoke the smell of smoke on a smoker can be overpowering meaning they could have a negative feeling towards you at the start of the interview, meaning you are starting your interview from a worse position than the person that does not smell of smoke.
Now this should be one of those things that should not need to be said, but I thought I’d mention it just in case.
Again, this should not need to be said but I’m going to say it.
When attending an interview, dress smart. Put a suit on if you have one. You may hear a company has a ‘smart casual’ environment, but this is always a term that is open to opinion.
So play it safe, and dress smart as if you were attending a client meeting for a company.
Research the company
You would be surprised by the amount of people who do not do even a little bit of research on a company.
There is a high chance you will be asked “what do you know about (insert company name)?” or “why do you want to work for (insert company name)?”.
You need to have an answer for this question to make it clear that you want to work for them, otherwise you will not have much of a chance. This research should only take half hour.
Even if this would not rule you out of a role with a company, if the next candidate knows a lot about the company they will think they want to work for them more than you want to.
Also, I’m sure you want to know what type of company you are looking to join.
Newton Colmore Consulting
Newton Colmore Consulting is a specialist recruitment company for the Medical Devices, Scientific and Data Science sectors.
We are able to help if you are looking for a new role or looking to add staff to your business, please review our website for more information – https://www.newtoncolmore.com/
Or contact us at [email protected] or 0121 268 2240
Also, if you would like to read any of our past articles, they can be found on our blog – https://www.newtoncolmore.com/blog/