Career Forum Oct 2016: Shine up your CV to impress
Recruitment specialists Robert Walters will be playing a key role at the Classified Post Career Forum.
Not only will the company’s consultants be on hand to give one-to-one advice as “CV Doctors”, they will also be conducting the interviews to determine who will get through to the final stages of the Shadow a CEO Programme.
Tiffany Wong, Robert Walters’ associate director of the human resources division and transactional services division, will draw on her breadth of experience to pass on some tips and advice to job applicants.
Wong says that while the nature of the information contained in graduate CVs has not changed much in recent years, her and her colleagues have noticed a trend toward briefer ones. Also, where graduates previously formatted their CVs using paragraphs, there is now a greater use of bullet points.
There are still several “core” details that graduates need to provide, such as their name, contact information and email address. They also need to outline their language proficiencies; their academic record, with the most recent details first; any courses they have attended that are relevant to their job application; their computer skills and knowledge; and their most recent and relevant internship experience.
However, Wong says, graduates should avoid including extraneous information in their CV, and there are some pitfalls to watch out for.
“Graduates sometimes include too many irrelevant experiences – for instance, they should skip any high school work experience or private tutoring experience they may have had,” Wong says.
“Also, graduates should avoid writing a detailed introduction about themselves in the form of a long essay. I would say they shouldn’t waste too much time on their cover letter, but it is important to be precise in an application and make sure relevant information is included.”
She adds that they should make sure they use the proper formatting and font size, and should proofread the completed document to ensure it contains no errors before sending it out. “These little things matter,” she says.
There are several CV faux pas to avoid. “I have seen graduates include unprofessional photos in their CVs, such as clubbing pictures or even selfies. This is a big no-no.”
Likewise, a professional email account should be used when applying for jobs. “Do not use an email address that looks unprofessional, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Wong says the Robert Walters consultants will be handling the interviews and shortlisting candidates for the Shadow a CEO Programme in the same way as they would search for suitable candidates in their everyday work.
“Candidates will be business partners to the organisations we work with, hence they should know about the company’s background, its history, its challenges and its development plans.”
Wong says her consultants will be looking for certain qualities in interviewees, including good communication and presentation skills, a strong personality, relevant working and industry experience, as well as a real hunger for the role for which they are applying.
“Be yourself and let your personality show through. Also, do research on the company and the industry. If English is not your first language, prepare a script to introduce yourself – but don’t just recite it during your interview.”