Headhunters answer your most common questions about CVs
  • Home
  • Blog
  • Candidates
  • Headhunters answer your most common questions about CVs
November 2018, by Sonia Riverin

Headhunters answer your most common questions about CVs

It’s time to update your CV, and you’re probably wondering how to present it in order to land your dream job. Who better to answer than experts from a recruitment agency? Here are answers to your most frequently asked questions to help you on your way.

Bear in mind that headhunters only need a couple of seconds to figure out:

  • How stable you are: Do you stick around for a while or do you change jobs a lot?
  • If you match the profile their client is looking for.

Read on to make the best impression you can!

Short or long?

We often see CVs that cover two or three pages. That’s not a problem. What’s important is that you express yourself clearly and in an organized way. Use short sentences with key words that you want to emphasize. If your text is confusing or too wordy, recruiters will have a hard time determining if your experience is a good fit. If writing is not one of your strengths, we suggest you get help.

Chronological or skills-based CV?

Which of the two most common CV styles you pick is a matter of taste. Regardless which one you choose, you should start with a short, attention-grabbing paragraph that summarizes your experience or career goals.

Emphasize achievements or responsibilities?

Headhunters would rather hear about your achievements than your job responsibilities. It’s their job to know the responsibilities of a sales rep or a VP of finance, for example. They want a quick glimpse of major projects completed and results obtained, like increased sales in a given sector.

Talk about your responsibilities only when they went above and beyond the normal job description, such as in the case of a special assignment or a particular initiative.

What about student jobs?

If you are a recent graduate, include your student jobs and extracurricular activities. They are an indication of your perseverance, discipline and time management skills. Examples to include:

  • Prom committee (organization, finding sponsors)
  • Judging panel for a competition
  • Communication games at university

But if you have been on the job market for 10 years, leave your experience from your student years out. Recruiters want to see your professional achievements.

Is a cover letter necessary?

Although it may be interesting to read about what motivates you to apply for a position, bear in mind that the recruiter will only give the employer your CV. If it is properly structured and adapted to the position you’re applying for, it will speak for itself. Should you include a cover letter, make sure it’s brief and succinct and draws attention to your CV.

What technical details are important?

  • Languages: Remember to specify which languages you speak and write.
  • Contact info: Believe it or not, some people forget to indicate an email address or phone number where they can be reached. You won’t make that mistake!
  • Leave out:
    • Your social insurance number
    • Your civil status
    • Your religion
  • Format: You can use Word or PDF, but avoid image files such as .jpeg, which are not recognized by our search engines. Make sure your document prints correctly.