In a recent LinkedIn post, Recruiter and Career Coach Diana Logan disclosed the crucial information that's often missing from candidates' CVs.
I spoke to Diana, to draw on her twenty years of experience in the industry, for more information on what graduates can do to strengthen their job applications - and the details they may currently be overlooking.
Diana tells me that, the reality is, graduates need to do everything they can to save a recruiter, or potential employer, time. You can do this by "giving them the information they need" to progress you through the hiring process right off the bat. "If they have to dig for it, they won't," she says.
"I don't think people get enough feedback on what is missing," Diana explains, "there is a lot of guessing going on".
So, here are 6 things recruiters definitely want to see on your CV, that you may not have considered:
1. Your specific skills
Whether you show off your skills in their own dedicated section on your CV, or include them in your Experience section, be sure to specify which versions of a programme you've used. Writing "Photoshop CS6," as opposed to just "Photoshop," gives a potential employer more insight into your proficiency level, and how familiar you'll be with the tech used in their office.
2. The story of your achievements
Diana explains that grads often treat the Experience section of their CV as a list of job titles and the activities they fulfilled in each position. Though this is acceptable, she advises taking your CV one step further by storytelling. When outlining a recent project or achievement, include the "why" (the situation that prompted the project), "how" (how you solved the challenge presented), and "what" (the results of your efforts).
3. The size of the companies you've worked at
Don't assume a potential employer has heard of, or knows the details of, every company you've worked or interned at. "The size of the company truly tells a recruiter about your scope," Diana explains, "it's very different working in an HR department, for example, with 40 colleagues versus 3. You need a different skill set."
She adds that, generally speaking, "large companies invest in the best technology and training. Small ones allow you to be creative and move a lot faster with innovation... both have advantages."
4. And the types of company you have experience at, too
You should briefly indicate to the recruiter, alongside each of the bullet-points in your Experience section, whether it was a public, private, non-profit and so on.
5. The focus of your previous roles
Were you working to represent your business to other businesses (B2B), or to a consumer (B2C)? Make sure this is clear to anyone reading your CV, so they can instantly get a sense of where your skills are.
6. What makes you special
This is the 6th and final thing Diana says is absolutely crucial to communicate on your CV. Whether you're a recent graduate with little-to-no formal work experience, or working at management level, Diana says you should treat your CV similarly "to a business proposal," in which you "make a pitch on why you are worth the investment".
"Every person alive on the earth for 18+ years has collected experience. It's just how you put it together and make it relevant to the job you're looking to do," she continues.
So, make sure you do your research on a company and its target market before you apply, then think back through your own experiences to draw out the ones that'll be most interesting to each employer you send your CV to.
In particular, Diana says, "employers love leadership experiences" - if you can point to a situation where you took charge or lead a team (whether it's in the workplace, volunteering or as part of your uni society), be sure to include it.