Last week, one of my followers said, ‘James, there are countless articles online about how to write a CV but can you give me any ideas on how to read one?’. This got me thinking, you know what – you’re right and It’s a shame because effectively reading a CV is essential for any employer looking for the perfect candidate and hugely beneficial for jobseekers too. So here are three things I think both employer and employee should be looking out for when it comes to reading and writing a CV.
The Gap Year
It’s common knowledge that a gap in a CV is going to raise some eyebrows but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
My advice to employers is don’t be too hasty, there are many good reasons people may have a gap in their CV – perhaps it’s a returning mum who is now ready to focus on her career – as employers, we cannot discriminate so don’t write candidates off straight away.
Explaining gaps in your CV can be a little tricky, especially because many people are already frightened it has left a bad first impression. I meet a lot of candidates who haven’t prepared themselves for the question and it’s really obvious. Your interviewer will be listening intently to see how credible your answer is so you have to be natural – don’t blag it! Whatever the answer is, be open, be honest and make sure you can reflect it in a way that doesn’t make you look irresponsible.
Beware of the Hoppers!
“Hoppers” is the name I’ve given to people who are always jumping from job to job. When you’re first starting out in your career, I agree you should be gaining as much experience as possible. However, if you go from competitor to competitor and spend a minimum of 6 months in a job, I will start to question how loyal you will be to my brand and how much you will value the investment I put in to developing you.
Understanding Soft Skills
I’m interested in soft skills. I hire people for their overall character, not just their academic qualifications. Illustrating these skills is vital to me because I want to find someone who I’m confident will fit in with the Hamilton Bradshaw family. To do this, I’d suggest using real-life examples that show how you have used your soft skills.
Every employer needs to be able to recognise soft skills in a CV and every potential employee needs to illustrate them effectively.So if you’ve been part of a sports club for the last few years, tell me. That’ll prove you’re a team player. If you’re a stickler for timekeeping, tell me. I’ll be glad to know you’re efficient.
Finally, and I think I speak for all employers when I say this, make sure your personality shines through! Reading a CV should leave me wanting to meet you, it shouldn’t bore me. Forget the ordinary jargon; I want to know what you can bring to the table which nobody else can. Show me how you want the job more than anybody else.
James Caan CBE
Serial Entrepreneur and Investor in People with Passion