Confessions of a Recruiter

I have a confession to make….in the past I have been guilty of the 30 second CV scan. However, I am not alone. Recruiters, HR Professionals and Hiring Managers are guilty too.

As a seasoned recruiter, I have viewed thousands of CVs throughout my career. Whilst it’s our job to read deeper into the CV and to provide CV advice, CVs that don’t instantaneously grab our attention – can get overlooked. And it literally is a 30 second window.

Ten years ago, applying for a job involved laboriously scanning the job sections in newspapers, followed by hours spent perfecting your CV and posting copies of it out to dozens of businesses.

How things have changed. Now websites such as Jobsite and Monster enable you to upload your CV to the web, making your details and skills ‘searchable’ by prospective employers. Similarly, social network site LinkedIn acts as a career-focused Facebook, while websites, blogs and Twitter streams can be used to showcase your profile.

CV Do’s and Don’ts


  • Obvious Mistakes: Spelling, grammatical, date mistakes and so on. This sounds obvious but it’s amazing how even the most experienced candidates make these errors.
  • A CV stuck in the dark ages: A CV that has only ever been updated when someone has changed jobs. They have maintained the same tired format and it shows! This for me shows a lack of effort and seriousness about their next career move.
  • Waffle: 2-3 pages is the right length. If it goes on for longer, it simply won’t get read. Think more along the lines of your Twitter feed, make it succinct, punchy and factual, creating a strong desire for call to action!
  • Lack of a sales pitch: CV’s that don’t start with a succinct profile summary and key achievements section are very unlikely to get a second glance. Whether you are passively or actively job-hunting, today’s modern CV (whether you like it or not), is your personal sales tool along with your Social Media accounts.


1) A work in progress: Yes, you have heard it before but it’s true! Adapt your CV for each specific job you apply for, use each opportunity to refresh your content as you would with your social media accounts. Furthermore, utilise the wealth of information and tools online to assist you.

2) A sales tool: Use the first 3rd of your CV as a sales tool and include a profile summary and bullet points of your key achievements. Try to avoid subjective statements like, ‘I have excellent communication skills’ and include more facts, figures and demonstrable examples of where you have added value/excelled in your career.

3) Your CV is holistic: Include your transferable skills, hobbies, interests, attainments and qualifications. With today’s culture driven modern companies, guess what? 50% of the hiring decision is based on your personality and attitude. So be transparent about YOU and the reader can draw some excellent conclusions about your company culture ‘fit’. If you played hockey at school, it’s likely that you are quite competitive. Draw some interesting facts out from your background, even if it was some time ago. Whether it’s ‘I appeared on Come Dine with me once’ or ‘My favourite holiday destination is Tuscany’ the reader gets a rounded view.

4) Video: By 2018, 79% of website traffic will be video format. With this incredible insight, it’s a great idea now to consider doing a video CV. It’s innovative, it’s different, it sets you apart. You don’t need fancy technology, just your smart phone and a Youtube account. Consider sending this with your CV application (go on, be brave) or attach to your LinkedIn account or blog, providing you are openly applying for a new job.

5) Choose a Visual CV: We are visual creatures. Include a profile photo and your LinkedIn address. Choose an ascetically pleasing format, visual and interactive CV’s are now rapidly taking over from the previous one-dimensional formats.



Useful links to achieve a modern CV

My personal favourite, ascetically well designed formats that are easy to use.

Creddle is a completely free resume-making site that tailor-makes an auto-formatted document from your personal information (enter manually or sync from LinkedIn). Select one of nine templates, then change headers, add color, and move sections around at will.

Once you’re done, you can print it, share it online, embed it on your personal website, or send it as a PDF or DOCX file. And get this: You can even use Creddle to quickly create a cover letter with a nameplate and contact links that match your resume. Mic drop!

Like other sites, this resume-building service extracts data from your existing resume or LinkedIn profile, then lets you choose a design, add multimedia items like presentations, images, and embedded videos, and publish to a public custom URL, a private share link, or a PDF export.

Import your profile data from LinkedIn and Facebook, and ResumUP crafts a gorgeous infographic complete with your work history, skills, achievements, key values, and even your Myers-Briggs personality type. Share it with potential employers by downloading it in PDF or PNG form. auto-transforms your professional accomplishments into a simple yet compelling data visualization using the data from your LinkedIn profile. Choose from six style themes and dozens of fonts and color schemes to trick out your digital resume to your liking.

This site provides 23 impressive, easy-to-edit resume templates (at a minimal cost) that are modern, clean, and supremely polished. Best part? They open in Microsoft Word for straightforward plug-and-play.


In short, avoid the 30-second scan and maximize the chances of landing your dream job today!


This article was written by Helen Plumridge, King Recruit.

 Your career is our passion.

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