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To ask for CV advice for a friend?

(23 Posts)
Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 07:01:10

I'm helping a friend refashion her CV.

I showed her a CV sample where there's a profile at the top, and her current job has bullet points listing outputs.

She has written her profile but it's about 9 lines long (in Word) and she lists almost everything she does in her job as an output.

I've said it doesn't need to be granular. Specific but pithy. We need to edit and cut out the detail.

Am I right? I don't want to mislead her. Any guidance welcome.

Currently, CV is 3 pages long

hannah1992 Thu 21-Jun-18 07:05:26

Hi. No a CV shouldn’t be 3 pages long. You need a short personal profile, work experience, education and key skills. You can add references on the bottom or just put references available on request.

There is a risk of “droning on” which is not what an employer wants to see. And when you think they may have quite a lot of CV’s and applications to go through I doubt they would want to read one three pages long.

BearBuilder Thu 21-Jun-18 07:07:01

Definitely needs shortening. I immediately switch off when trying to read a long and detailed cv. Bullet points all the way with a little bio about the kind of person you are-much easier!

Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 07:13:40

Thank you both.

Does she need a 'profile' and key skills? Should key skills go beneath profile?

With her job outputs, should it be 'general' - as in procurement management (not, procuring....and a long list of what she procures?)

hannah1992 Thu 21-Jun-18 07:17:54

I would do a personal profile just a short insight to who she is as a person, hard working, confident etc. Then work experience starting with her current/most recent job. Just company name, job title and a few lines to say what she does and responsibilities. Then education then key skills. She doesn’t need to write anything about education just what college/uni and a list of subjects and grades

Littlebluebird123 Thu 21-Jun-18 07:19:15

I'm not sure what type of jobs she's going for, that can change what you need in a CV. But generally speaking I'd aim for 2 pages maximum. One is preferable tbh.
If she's going for jobs in the same field there's no need to list exactly what she does as they'd understand the general terms.
If she's going for aomething in a different field, key skills suitable for that field should be listed.
IME there are lots of CVs for few jobs so the easier it is to read and see they are suitable the better. The employer sometimes ends up just trying to eliminate to make the job quicker.

Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 07:25:14

I agree with all of this.

It's office management

She also has a long list of qualifications. Almost 18 lines worth! They all seem relevant. Does she include?

Els1e Thu 21-Jun-18 08:34:52

Have a look at the job description. That should indicate which key skills and qualifications are the employers priority. Then make sure she includes those in the Cv, perhaps missing others that the employer is not requesting. The CV is to give the relevant information which makes her worth asking in for interview. At interview, is the time to go into the detail of experience which makes her the ideal candidate for the job.

Decanter Thu 21-Jun-18 08:37:01

My tuppence; as an aside, don’t put “CV” or “Resume” at the top, just her name.

Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 09:18:11

Thanks all. It's a general CV as she's applying to lots of different jobs.

eyycarumba Thu 21-Jun-18 09:40:43


2/3 lines personal profile

Previous jobs



3 pages is way too long, employers won't realistically read through it. Personal profile only needs to be 'I am #this type of person# who is good at doing #this type of job# and my strengths are #these#.

Qualifications - can she combine a couple onto the same lines/table space? i.e. if she has a level 2 & 3 in the same thing. GCSEs only need english, maths and any IT/business if she's applying for office jobs

Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 10:26:58

Does she need to go into any detail for her other, previous jobs? She has but I don't know if it's relevant - just to list the title and company

Does she need an 'Area of Expertise' section?

hannah1992 Thu 21-Jun-18 10:37:17

How I see it with previous work. Say a 40 year old who has had 10 jobs 2 of which are the same position that they are currently interested in. I would put the 2 jobs that are the same position on with a short description of what was done and the rest just dates started and left company name and that’s it. For example an employer who is employing someone for a management position in a production warehouse isn’t going to be interested in the fact that 20 years ago the person served customers, washed tables and cleaned toilets at McDonald’s.

Relevance is key when writing a CV

hannah1992 Thu 21-Jun-18 10:39:00

Oh and no to the area of expertise. They will see this in her description of what she currently does under the previous work section and also in what she writes in her personal profile and her key skills.

lhastingsmua Thu 21-Jun-18 11:46:02

General CVs are a no - she has to to tailor it to the job. You can’t use the same cv for an receptionist role as a retail role. Or for the financial industry and the education industry etc. So she’ll have to edit the bullets to make sure it’s relevant to the company, and so have separate CVs.

Logically think about it, it better to have less but better content that really speaks to the recruiter, than a long list of boring waffle that isn’t relevant. 3 pages is much too long. I used to work in recruitment and I guarantee that they will stop paying much attention after the first page, then just a cursory glance at the rest. Unless it’s a specialist role of course.

If you need a realistic guide, look on LinkedIn.

lhastingsmua Thu 21-Jun-18 11:50:54

Remember a CV is basically a marketing tool for you. I’m sure there’s LOADS of points she wants to get across to make it feel like ‘her’, but that’s not effective marketing in job hunting. It needs to be effective and succinct, everything in her cv needs to be relevant and useful.

In regards to her qualifications, if all qualifications are truly relevant then you’ll have to find a better way to format it. EG GCSEs on one line only: ‘10 at A-C inc A in mathematics and english’. Again with a levels, list all on one line. For university, you don’t necessarily have to mention your modules, just the degree classification.

lhastingsmua Thu 21-Jun-18 11:56:16

Also I think a ‘personal profile’ and a reference section are unnecessary and frankly an outdated format for a cv. A modern cv shouldn’t include those, if references are necessarily they will definitely ask for them separately when carrying out pre employment checks. A personal profile/statement is just waffle really - anyone would say that they are hard working, a great team player etc. You need to show this through the rest of your cv rather than state it.

Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 12:01:10

Thank you all, you're brilliant. So helpful. So appreciated.

Portobellomushroom Thu 21-Jun-18 12:02:39

What about if she's taken different online courses, other soft skill courses, etc etc. Worth mentioning all these?

lhastingsmua Thu 21-Jun-18 12:33:47

Depends what it is really? It’s hard to say without knowing. Maybe just one might be relevant but not the others.

EG for Human Resources, a CIPD course would be relevant. This is universally recognised from an established organisation. ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ gold probably would be useless.

For a job involving driving to different locations, your driving license may be relevant. Eg a delivery driver.

greeneggblueegg Sun 24-Jun-18 12:35:56

Apologies for hijacking but I'm in a
similar position. SAHM wanting to return to work after a 7 year gap.

How to explain the gap in my CV without over egging it? Have been doing voluntary work but nothing major.

lhastingsmua Wed 27-Jun-18 20:50:20

You don’t need to explain much really, being a SAHM and now ready to go back to work is fine. You’ll definitely come across recruiters/management with children who can relate. Your volunteer experience is great and will help bridge the gap.

peachgreen Wed 27-Jun-18 21:20:02

I look at what the job description is asking for and under employment history highlight how I meet each of those criteria. Eg if it asks for content strategy I would list a content strategy project I undertook in my previous role.

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