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This content is taken from the The University of Glasgow's online course, Net That Job: How to Write a CV Online. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds INTERVIEWER: Welcome again to the course. I’d like to introduce you to a number of people today whom I hope will be of great help to you and in your journey towards creating that perfect CV. Firstly, this is Josh Harpy, Angela Mane Susan Campbell, and Jackie McGuire. And they each represent different levels of long expertise in the various fields. The various fields are representative of employers, recruitment consultancy, and career guidance. And if you remember, one of the key themes in the course is you’re trying to place yourself in the position of an employer.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds Well, today, you’ve got an opportunity to get a direct access to the views of those employers and those people who work every single day of their working lives with the formation of CVs. So we’ll begin. Josh, as you know, what we’re looking for today is try to pick your brains. And I would be interested in some top tips that you can provide for the participants on the course. So could you begin just by letting me know what are your top tips in terms of CVs? What’s going to make you select a CV rather than deselect that CV?

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds JOSH HARPY: I think when you’re creating a CV, it’s important to tailor the CV to a particular position. And quite often than not, you’ll see a generic CV that’s maybe been turned out to 13 pointers. But if that CV has been tailored to say my company, and have maybe researched my company, then I’m more likely to give that more time than a generic one that says I’m a team player. I’m a this. I’m a that– something that really sounds that is specific to my company. Why do you they want to work for me and not somebody else? So I find that’s one of the top tips.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds Also, LinkedIn, Facebook, social media– it’s important to have a good profile there and something that’s maybe not too extreme. And so really, I suppose just to recap, my biggest tip would be to tailor it to each company that you’re applying for a job, really make it specific rather than generic.

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 seconds INTERVIEWER: How long does it take do that, Josh? How long does it take for you to figure out I am going to retain this CV?

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 seconds JOSH HARPY: Within 30 seconds of reading a CV. If it really stands out specific to me, then I’ll put it to the right-hand side. I’m going to go back to. It’s the same as anything. You want to show up in a pair of trousers you like. If you end going back to them, that’s a good sign. But if it’s something that you just think, oh, it doesn’t really mean anything to me. Then I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 seconds INTERVIEWER: Terrific, Susan?

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 seconds SUSAN CAMPBELL: I would agree with that. I probably scan a CV within seconds looking for key pieces of information, which are qualifications experience, whether work experience, or voluntary experience gained, major achievements, successes. That can be in sports and volunteering as well. And if I identify some of these key points other than go back to the beginning of the CV and spend more time reading it fully. I think a clear, concise layout and communication is really important. Some CVs can look very busy, and you are put off. So it’s not about lots and lots was the limit. I would say two pages maximum. But that information should be concise, clear, communicated well with very positive impact.

Skip to 4 minutes and 2 seconds You’ll appreciate– I see very man CVs of a similar background. And when you’re compiling a CV, you usually need to make it stand out, wow, the recruiter saw that they want to meet with you and interview.

Skip to 4 minutes and 19 seconds INTERVIEWER: Jackie, do you think that– you mentioned earlier a scenario with someone who had run a marathon.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds JACKIE MCGUIRE: Yeah.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds INTERVIEWER: Could you tell us a bit about that story?

Skip to 4 minutes and 32 seconds JACKIE MCGUIRE: Yeah, it was actually, for me, it’s slightly different because I am not an employer. I am a careers adviser. So my goal is actually to work with individuals and help them get through to get that interview. And the individual when we were looking at the skills, the qualities, what’s going to make the impact to that particular employer. And I’d say to that person, what have you got that makes you unique to anyone else? And the person actually said nothing. And when we had the conversation about what that person does in their spare time, they were running marathons. And they were raising money for breast cancer research. And, again, that’s something impressive to do.

Skip to 5 minutes and 16 seconds It actually highlights that person raising money for charity. They’ve got a social conscience and were very committed to whatever job they actually end up doing, but had never considered putting like that in the profile to hook in the employers in the first place. And I thought that was an opportunity that person had initially missed. The profile was very wishy washy for the buzzwords– not full of that individual how you’re going to come across to the employee. It wasn’t targeted for them to actually market themselves and make the best of themselves. And I think it was really important to get the key aspects of their personality across and their social conscience as well.

Skip to 5 minutes and 58 seconds INTERVIEWER: Yeah, so something that they didn’t anticipate at all as being a selling point, an actual fact was a fairly major selling point.

Skip to 6 minutes and 5 seconds SUSAN CAMPBELL: Yeah, pretty much.

Skip to 6 minutes and 7 seconds INTERVIEWER: A selling point.

Skip to 6 minutes and 8 seconds JACKIE MCGUIRE: I think many cultures are modest. So when they put achievement down on a CV, it’s simply a fact. A recruiter is looking for the individual to blow their own trumpet, to be proud, and highlight what a major achievement they’ve made with enthusiasm. That’s one way to make a CV stand out from somebody else’s. So it’s about not being modest or embarrassed. There is balance to be struck between credit where credit is due and maybe boasting. But don’t just record a fact.

Skip to 6 minutes and 53 seconds INTERVIEWER: Substance.

Skip to 6 minutes and 54 seconds JACKIE MCGUIRE: Put some success and pride. And that comes when a recruiter reads the CV and will make the candidate stand out and be memorable.

Skip to 7 minutes and 6 seconds INTERVIEWER: That’s a terrific piece of advice. Your energy and enthusiasm coming across in a CV. Do you have any other tips for people?

Skip to 7 minutes and 15 seconds SUSAN CAMPBELL: I think somebody who has done some travelling. They’ve maybe finished university. And they’ve taken a year out to travel and to enrich themselves as an individual– find out a bit more about the world, I think. You can interject some of your experience into a CV as well. It lets an employer see that you’ve got a little bit more to offer. You’ve learned more. You’ve forcibly expanded your skin base as well in that year that you’ve done that. And it means you may be a more rounded person for the employer to actually employ in the first place.

Skip to 7 minutes and 46 seconds JOSH HARPY: Yeah, I can agree with it. But also, I’d put a bit of caution to that because sometimes reading a CV, I am thinking they couldn’t get a job. So they went off travelling. And I’m thinking, well, why didn’t they try a bit harder before? I think it’s critical when you look at the timing of maybe they’ve gone traveling. They are done at the end of university. They’ve gone then or maybe before university and after school. Then I think a key thing. But I think you sometimes have to be slightly aware at the timing of that as to when they go.

Employer tips 1

This clip shows a discussion between Josh Hardy, a property management specialist, Angie Mains, a restauranteur, Jacqui McGuire, a careers advisor, and Susan Campbell, a recruitment consultant.

Watch the following clip, making notes as you go. You should watch for, listen, and note down any tips you feel are important and of which you were previously unaware.

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This video is from the free online course:

Net That Job: How to Write a CV Online

The University of Glasgow