Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, founder of CV writing service StandOut CV and author of The Ultimate CV writing guide, he regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian and CV-library.
We recently asked Andrew for his advice on crafting a CV and negotiating salaries. Here’s what he shared:
How has recruiting evolved since you started your career? What has had the biggest impact on the way we get jobs today?
Technology has had the biggest impact on recruitment over the last few years and I imagine it will continue to do so. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are excellent for networking and help both candidates and recruiters find opportunities that just wouldn’t be possible using traditional job/candidate search methods. CV upload databases and job matching tools have made it possible for candidates to access huge numbers of suitable jobs as soon as they are released.
How important is a well-written CV to a job-seekers ability to get hired?
An effective CV is absolutely crucial in every job hunt. You have to remember that your CV is usually all a recruiter will have to judge you on, so it needs to make the perfect impression or you won’t get many responses from your applications – it’s almost like your marketing material for your services.
What are the components of a standout CV?
The purpose of your CV is to win job interviews, and you do that by quickly demonstrating that you have the right skills and knowledge to carry out the roles you are applying for.
So firstly, your CV must look immaculately professional, with a simple font and tidy formatting – nothing too fancy or elaborate
Secondly, you need to ensure that your CV structured for quick and easy reading. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people so break the information up and structure it logically to make it easy for them to find the information they need.
Thirdly, ensure that the content relates to the jobs you are applying for. Do some research to find out what your most sought-after skills are and be sure to highlight them.
What are some dos and don’ts for highlighting your professional experience on a CV?
Do try to show the impact of your work as opposed to just listing responsibilities as employers want to know what the benefit of hiring you will be. Try to include some impressive achievements in each role and use facts and figures to quantify their value where possible.
Don’t pack your CV with generic cliches such as “hard-working”, “enthusiastic”, “team player” as they don’t really tell the reader much about you – stick to factual evidence of your work
What are the most common mistakes you see individuals making on their CVs? What are your personal pet peeves?
The worst CV mistakes are often the easiest ones to avoid – there really is no excuse for messy formatting and sloppy spelling mistakes these days, so make sure your CV is neat, tidy and triple checked for errors. Unexplained gaps on a CV is a pet peeve of mine – if you’ve had some time out, just be honest and explain why
How can a good CV pave the way for leverage during salary negotiations?
A strong CV is an excellent tool for salary negotiation, especially if your CV is full of quantifiable signs of your value. For example, if your CV contains demonstrations of occasions where you have saved employers budget spending or generated revenue, you have a strong business case to demand a matching salary.
What type of research should job seekers do to better understand their worth ahead of salary negotiations?
Simple research across the major jobsites will give you a good idea of the salary you can expect as well as speaking to your peers and tools like Adzuna can evaluate your CV and provide a rough salary estimate for you.
What advice can you offer on approaching salary negotiations with confidence?
Doing your research beforehand is probably key to having confidence in a salary negotiation, as well as having the good judgement to walk away from an offer if it is too low. If you have a real idea of your value and don’t settle for anything less, then you will be in a strong position to negotiate
What are some of your favorite tools or resources for job seekers today (aside from Standout CV, of course)?
StandOut CV probably has the most detailed CV writing guides on the web along with free tools such as CV templates and job application trackers, however there are some really great career advice blogs out there such as UndercoverRecruiter, CareerMetis and CareerGeek
What trends or headlines are you following in the world of recruiting/job search today? Why do they interest you?
The trend that most interests me is video and interactive CVs. They are by no means commonplace at the moment but creative industries such as web design are starting to see more candidates breaking the rules and often seeing great results with quirky videos and even CVs that allow the recruiter to play them like a game.