What do Hiring Managers and HR professionals want to see in a CV?

Monday, January 19th, 2009 - CV Writing, Professional CV, resume, tutorial


Professional CV

August Cohen, the owner of Raleigh, NC based GetHired,StayHired asks: What do Hiring Managers and HR professionals want to see in a CV? As a certified resume writer, I keep up with trends in the professional resume writing industry. But, in getting feedback from my HR and Hiring Manager friends, they don’t always like some of the trends resume writers may promote. In an effort to get a bigger sampling pool, I would like feedback from hiring professionals on whether they like these things in a resume:

  1. Branding Statements (the one or two sentence synopsis typically at the top of a resume
  2. Quotes from references in the resume
  3. Categories of accomplishments, i.e. “Leadership Skills” or “Management Expertise”, then some examples of such to follow, instead of the straight forward achievement bullets

This is your chance to impact what resume writers do, and in turn what you will see:-). BTW, a final question – do you prefer your candidates have a professionally written resume, do you think they stand out from self-made resumes? Thanks for your feedback.

In answer:

As the owner of a UK recruitment company, that has a business line in Professional CV Writing, the only criteria a Professional CV/resume has to answer are the two questions in the mind of the recruiter or HR professional:

  • Does the CV/resume fully demonstrate that the applicant has the required skills and competencies+ that the job description requires?
  • Is there anything here which stops me picking up the phone and talking to them?

The answer to the first question is relevant competency (can you jump the required minimum height hurdle); the answer to the second question is make no mistakes (ie – you might jump the hurdle, but have you also just tripped over it).

If the applicant can answer both questions, they should be able to get a phone call – whether they have a professionally written CV/Resume or not. However, after that they need to prove that the have the skills they have said they have, and have social fit inside the organisation – even as a recruiter, I don’t think anyone gets that later stage right 100% of the time.

You may find it useful to read the book “Executive Jobs Unlimited” by Carl R. Boll (ISBN: 002512790X, Publisher: MacMillan), where he states that:

  • First, unless you are looking for a job in HR, don’t worry about what they think. Your resume/cover letter must be tailored to the hiring manager
  • Secondly, branding, quotes, and categories can be OK if they clearly state why you are the candidate for the job in irrefutable, quantitative terms

Boll says that the hiring manager is asking him/herself, “Why should I hire this person?” Your resume/cover letter statements must clearly answer that in terms of what you have done and can do all over again for this manager, given that you have done your research and know what this manager is looking for.

Good Luck!

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