Preparing CVs for recruitment agencies

Published: 18th July 2009
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Whether you are applying for a job directly to the employer, or through a recruitment agency, the one thing that will always stand in the way of an interview, is a C.V.

The C.V. is the first and only impression that an employer has about any candidate before the interview stage.

If applying for jobs through recruitment agencies, in many cases, the C.V. might not even reach the employer if it isn't presented "correctly".

The short listing process adopted by recruitment agencies, might see candidates that haven't taken the time to present the information in the fashion expected, excluded.

To ensure a better chance of success with an application, candidates should do everything they can to make their C.V., stand out from the crowd.

Coloured paper and other such methods aren't advised, but things like the layout, and more importantly the content, can make a positive difference.

Layout

Try not to make the layout to elaborate, or use images.

Clear, concise information about your skills can be placed near the top (after your name and contact details) to immediately catch the eye of the employer or the recruitment agency.

A short personal statement, followed by a list of skills can help to make the C.V. stand out.

For example:

I am a highly adaptable and focused worker, with a proven track record of success in delivering innovative and relevant technical solutions, including direct marketing, search engine optimisation, branding, and other technical issues to a range of clients.
I am able to communicate effectively at all levels, and have the ability to capture the vision of clients, and develop a creative, user-friendly, solution to their internet requirements.

SKILLS:

1. Proficiency in all Adobe website design software applications
2. Proven search engines optimisation skills
3. Advanced XHTML, PHP, and ASP programming skills
4. Etc, Etc.


Content

The content of a candidate's C.V. is the most important aspect.

Recruitment companies, and direct employers, will use the information contained in a candidate's C.V., to try and establish if the candidate possesses the knowledge, qualifications, and experience to fulfil the position.

Qualifications and experience are the two most important parts that recruitment agencies and employers will look at.

Candidates should use these sections of their C.V. to highlight their strengths.

When discussing previous employment, candidates should include information about their role in the position, achievements, skills learned and used, and more.

For example:

Feb 2006 - Present ABC Web Design Co. - IT Manager

My main duties included supervising a team of ten website designers and three graphic designers, and I was responsible for all server related issues, including maintenance and repair, supervision of internet usage for the entire network, and backing up critical data on a daily basis.
Utilising strong interpersonal and management skills, I was able to increase productivity levels by 35% in the first quarter, and a further 50% by the second quarter - leading to a profit increase of 85%.

Would be much better than:

Feb 2006 - Present A Web Design Co. - IT Manager
Jan 2004 - Feb 2006 A Design Firm - IT Manager
Etc...

The candidate should use each section of their employment history to illustrate their transferrable skills, and the knowledge / experience that they have gained and demonstrated successfully in their career.

Presentation

Information such as your employment and education history should be displayed as "most recent first".

Candidates should display their employment history before their education history as this information is often more important to some employers and recruitment agencies.

The candidate should start with their current or most recent employment, and include details such as the position title, company name, dates of employment, and their duties.

A large amount of spelling mistakes can give the wrong impression about a candidate to some employers and recruitment agencies.
To avoid such problems, writing a C.V. using a computer and using a spell check when finished is the best method.

Again, use information that will make your C.V. stand out to employers and recruitment agencies.

The "personal information" section of your C.V. gives you the opportunity to give more details about the qualities that you possess.

Enthusiasm, confidence, the ability to work well alone, or as part of a team, and other such qualities, should be included in this section.
This section is the last section where candidates can sell themselves to employers and recruitment agencies, and should not be missed out.


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