CV Writing Tips: Why Less is More and What to Leave Out

As an eager jobseeker with an array of skills and relevant experience to showcase, it’s inevitable that you’ll want to sell yourself as best you can. This type of enthusiasm is essential for successful jobseekers, but when it comes to your CV, your challenge is to convey all your enthusiasm and relevant skills as concisely as possible. Concision does not mean you should miss out important information about your work history and qualifications, but you should be selective about what you include.

Why is brevity important?

When it comes to your CV, the truth is that size matters and less is definitely more. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to fit everything you have to say on two A4 sides. And that doesn’t mean using a font size 6.

You might find that cutting your CV down to size is tricky, but it’s important you give employers the information they need quickly and clearly. Not only do hiring managers not have the time to read a full page about your hobbies and interests, but a short, well-formatted, logically-ordered CV is also a sign of an organised mind.

CV Writing Tips – What should you leave out?

1. Details about older, irrelevant roles

One of the easiest ways to shorten your CV is to pare down the information you include about older and irrelevant roles. Recruiters don’t need to know about the sales assistant role you had 10 years ago if it’s not relevant to the position you are applying for today.

Just one bullet point containing the job title, where you worked and the dates you worked there is enough. Instead, it should be your recent roles and those which are relevant to the position where you highlight the value you can bring.

2. Personal details

Many candidates waste too much valuable space on their personal details. The only details you need to include on your CV are your name, phone number, email address and rough geographical area. All hiring managers and recruiters really need to know are your contact details and the fact that you live within a commutable distance.

Hobbies and interests is another section many candidates spend too much time on. If you have some major achievements that might impress prospective employers, then include them briefly. If your hobbies and interests aren’t relevant then rather than telling the employer you ‘enjoy socialising with friends’, you’re better off leaving this section out completely.

3. Long and passive sentences

Bullet points are an excellent tool to use in CVs as they allow you to get straight to the point rather than writing long and unnecessary sentences. For example, rather than: ‘I was recently selected to manage a team of three workers and supervised the completion of a project that lasted two months’, why not go for:

  • ‘Managed a team of three for a two-month project’

Not only does it make the information more active but it also adds greater authority to your accomplishments. It also invites questions about the project in the interview.

4. Information already provided in your covering letter

In the majority of cases, employers will ask for CVs to be submitted along with a covering letter. This should be used to show why you’re an excellent candidate for the role and provide information about relevant past achievements. There’s absolutely no point reiterating information in your covering letter on your CV, and in fact, doing so will only detract from your application.

Keep it short, sweet and approachable

Create a well-written, two-page document that’s well formatted, error-free and contains only relevant information to give yourself the very best chance of landing the job.

Speaking of jobs, we have lots of fantastic vacancies we’re currently trying to fill. To start the ball rolling, please apply online for the specific role you’re interested in or send us your CV.

8 Tips to help you Ace your Telephone Interview

There aren’t many people out there who actually enjoy face-to-face interviews. In fact, we’re not sure there are any. So, once you’ve wowed a potential employer with your CV, most of us would be delighted to be told that the next stage of the process is a telephone interview. But you’re not off the hook yet. While a telephone interview might be less daunting, you still need to prepare properly to make sure you stand out.

Why are telephone interviews used?

Telephone interviews are becoming an increasingly common part of the modern recruitment process. Many HR departments and hiring managers start the interview process with a phone call to make a quick assessment of a candidate before inviting them to a face-to-face interview. In other cases, with many modern recruits willing to relocate for roles, telephone interviews can be a more convenient way to conduct interviews with candidates in other parts of the country and even overseas.

It’s usually the case that a telephone interview is scheduled well before the actual call, usually by email. However, we have also known some employers to call candidates for a quick chat out of the blue. Whether you’re expecting the call or not, these are our top tips to help you nail that interview.

1. Bin the ‘funny’ voicemail

You might love your witty voicemail message, but there’s a good chance a prospective employer will not. You’re better off keeping it professional just in case you receive a call out of the blue.

2. Answer calls in the right way

The beauty of modern technology is that you often know who is calling before you answer the phone. However, if you receive a call from an unknown number after applying for a new role then your usual greeting of “Yo, what’s hanging dog” is probably not the best approach. Instead, if the number is unfamiliar you should always answer professionally.

3. Test your tech

Many telephone interviews will also involve an element of tech, whether it’s a conference call with a number of interviewers or a video chat on Skype. A few days before the interview you should make sure all your tech is working as it should be. This will give you enough time to iron out any problems. You should also think about the background and lighting, and choose a quiet, comfortable and private space so you can give the interview your full attention.

4. Know who you’re talking to

The email you receive confirming the call should provide all the details you need, including the time, the date and who you will be talking to. Do some research into the interviewer if you can. Finding out their job role may give you some idea of the slant their questions will take and, if nothing else, it will help you remember their name.

5. Research the company

When you’re firing off multiple applications, it can be easy to forget the details of the companies you have applied to. You should familiarise yourself with the company website and relevant social media pages and prepare at least one question you can ask during the interview.

6. Review your CV and application

Your CV and job application will form the basis of the employer’s questions, so make sure you know them both inside out. You should be prepared to answer any questions about your work history, educational background and the experience and skills you have picked up along the way. You should also have another look at the job description to familiarise yourself with exactly what the job involves.

7. Prep for the most common interview questions

You should expect the same sort of questions you’d be asked in a face-to-face interview. Common interview questions include:

  • Why do you want the role?
  • Why do you want to work for the company?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • Tell me about a challenge you have faced and how you solved it
  • Tell me about a time you led or worked as part of a team
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Why should we hire you?

8. Telephone interview mistakes to avoid

One of the most common mistakes people make is talking too much. As you can’t see the interviewer’s face, it can be tricky to gauge how much they want you to say, which can lead to waffle. You should not worry about filling any silences. Instead, be comfortable enough to stop talking when you have made your point.

Another mistake people make is to think that a telephone interview is less formal, when really it’s not. You should treat it exactly the same as a face-to-face interview. That means keeping your language professional and dressing smartly for video calls.

How can we help?

Are you looking for bilingual roles in the South of England? Take a look at our huge range of current vacancies and send us your CV today.