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Advice for businesses on how to review a CV

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With scores and possibly hundreds of applications for one vacancy, how do you select the right person for the job? You want to recruit someone who has the necessary skills and experience, someone who will be an asset to your company. At first glance, several applicants appear to tick many of the right boxes. But do you know what to look for in a resume to avoid making the wrong choice? Here are some tips on how to review a CV to make the process as efficient as it can be:


First impressions
If you are inundated with applications, it might not be possible to check through every CV in detail. A quick scan should give you a first impression of the applicant. A jobseeker that is eager to impress will take care that their resume is laid out correctly, is properly formatted and is not full of glaring mistakes. Typos, spelling errors and poor grammar suggests that they have not bothered to proofread it or have someone check it for them. This carelessness and poor attention to detail is a strong indicator of a lack of professionalism. They do not warrant the attention that a more careful applicant deserves. If time is limited for considering applications, this is one way to cut down a large pile and release more time to dedicate to candidates who have made a better first impression.

A CV should list a potential employee’s qualifications and experience, but also give information about their personality and ambitions. Robert Half has a great resource on what to look for in a CV. Do they have all the attributes you are seeking? Are there any warning signs that will help you avoid making a hiring mistake?

What to look for
* A cover letter accompanying a CV should clearly state the position the applicant is applying for and their CV should include details of their skills and experience to meet the job description. If they are applying for a job they are clearly not qualified for, they are wasting your time so put their resume on the reject pile.

* A good CV should show what the candidate has to offer to the position they want to be considered for. It should give clear descriptions of the job they currently hold and responsibilities held in previous positions. This indicates if the current or previous positions are relevant to the post being applied for and if the candidate can successfully perform the job.

* Details of all skills should be included to show if the applicant has what is needed to perform the job. These should include technical abilities, as well as communication, problem solving and leadership skills.

* Information should be included about a candidate’s education to confirm if they meet the educational requirements of the post.

* A strong candidate will have taken the time to include a compelling personal statement outlining their skills, achievements and ambitions, but also showing if they have the characteristics you are looking for.

* Candidates do not have to include references, but they should state that they are available if requested.

Red flags
At this point you will be well on your way to matching up an applicant’s resume with your requirements. Now is the time to take a closer look to see if there are any red flags in the resume. Here are a few to look out for:

* A candidate should include details of each job they have held. When reviewing a CV, give careful attention to start and finish dates of previous jobs. Are there any employment gaps? If there are, there may be a reasonable explanation. A candidate may have been a stay-at-home-parent, went back to college or been laid off. But if the applicant fails to give a good reason what they were doing during the mystery period, they may be hiding something.

* Frequent moves from one job to another should raise concerns, unless it involved short-term contract positions. Job hopping in full-time roles could indicate a lack of commitment or a person’s inability to get on with co-workers or management.

* If the resume is filled with lots of irrelevant or personal information that is not pertinent to the job and important information is buried, it shows a lack of awareness.

* Long and waffly CVs are a put off. They should be punchy and to the point, concentrating on achievements and experience.

* Making a mistake with contact details, such as missing a telephone digit or giving a wrong email address, again shows a lack of care and doesn’t give a good impression. And an email address with a nickname can be off-putting. Serious candidates should have a professional email address.

Once you have sifted through the resumes, sorted out the good, the bad and the downright ugly, you can go to the interview stage. If the process is too time-consuming, a recruitment agency can do the work of compiling a list of suitable candidates for you.

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