It’s a Jungle out there!

I started to write this to help candidates with updating their Curriculum Vitae (CV). Note, I said CV rather than resume and there is a difference! A resume is a condensed summary of your experience and education at no more than 2 pages. A CV is longer…. The length depends on your experience and working history and hence I cannot be prescriptive. As an example, a Senior Manager is approximately 6 pages as they are usually more experienced and hence more years of experience.

You would be amazed to know how many CV’s (resumes) I read per day which vary in professionalism. I wrote down a number of the key points that makes a great CV and thought that I would share my 20 + years’ experience of recruiting and selecting people. Please use them as you see fit.

By all means, I am not suggesting that this is the only way to write a CV but more that many employers are looking for dynamic people that can articulate their achievements in a tangible fashion.


The first page is the MOST important. If I cannot read your core skills and achievements in the first page, it’s unlikely I will get past page one. It needs to be memorable. Think of this: I recently posted an ad for one role to receive 65 applicants in 3 days. I scanned 65 applicants in 60 minutes; approximately one minute per CV. If I saw typos, grammatical errors, no achievements etc they would go to my “Unsuitable” basket. This generally weeds out 50% of the candidates. I then spend another hour to ready the remaining 30 CV’s. If the achievements do not match the client requirements/essentials, I remove another 20 CV’s and move to the “Unsuitable” basket. I then spend another hour to re-read the remaining 10 CV’s with a view to phone screen 5. After the phone screen, I interviewed 3 candidates face to face. After this process I short listed 2 candidates.

If you are still thinking “what does this all mean?” it’s time to engage a professional to write your CV and give you some interview tips. I know someone that could help!

Whilst it may be great that you have been married for 25 years and recently went on the holiday of your life with your partner, I cannot think of a time when your marital status is relevant on a CV. I am happy to hear from people who feel there is some relevance.

I would never disclose your current or requested salary; always best to “wow” them with your CV, at the interview and then negotiate. Why? What if you love the location or the corporate culture, would you accept a lower salary? What if the budget for the new role was significantly greater than your current salary, you may end up selling yourself short (usually the budget gives an indication of the challenges in the role).

I have recently seen CV’s with head shots. This seems to be more common in Asia but I am not a fan. Vote – Include or exclude?

Keep the fonts consistent. I do not subscribe to using only one font e.g. Times New Roman but I do recommend that all fonts are the same within the same paragraph. I have seen CV’s where candidates are detailing their achievements in different colours and fonts. Whilst it makes them stand out, they can appear very differently in the recruiter’s database. You should note that if you are applying direct to a company, it is quite likely that the company also uses a database to capture relevant information.

I would include the website details and one short sentence on the core business of the company so the reader can get a feel of the companies and similarity to the role that you are applying for. This is especially important when you are looking to make a career break or looking to move States/Countries.

Include products and services that you have managed (again important when identifying similarities).


Some acronyms are obvious and industry specific but I do recommend that you describe those that may be company specific. If you are not sure, err on the side of caution and detail it.


All achievements should be numerical e.g. I saved $XX by doing YY. All roles have tangible KPI’s (including HR roles). For HR roles, common KPI’s include % staff turnover (which indicates the culture of the organisation), staff engagement score (PS. Scores greater than 85% are good!)


The digital world has forced a shift resulting in the wide usage of the Internet; Using the Internet and email is no longer a skill; it’s a given to operate in today’s digital world. What is important? Project managing system upgrades/deployments/new system scoping etc are all very important and should be mentioned. I am not suggesting you boast but don’t forget that you only have 1-2 minutes to capture the reader’s attention. We are all time poor and the HR Manager and Hiring Manager are no different.

What technology have you introduced/experienced? You should name the technology as this would then also appear in the database and can be found in later searches.


To give a sense of scale, I would recommend including the number of people in the organisation and then the number that you managed in your team(s).


It is a given that if you are applying for management roles, they usually come with Profit and Loss responsibility. You should include the value of P&L’s that you have managed.

What’s the value of the inventory? What is the Inventory Record Accuracy? How much has it improved since you took over?

Safety & Environment

In today’s world, we are a far more caring world when it comes to people’s safety and corporate obligations with regards to the environment. Again, my recommendation is to include achievement related to safety and the environment. Examples would include: “The site achieved 1,000 days without an injury due to Free CV Template” and “the business delivered a 5% improvement on waste removal by Free CV Template”

It’s a jungle out there…Based on my experience, it’s a jungle out there and you have 2 minutes to impress for what could be the job of your life time. I think you should spend the time to sharpen your CV before you start to look for a new role. I would also argue that it is a “numbers game”; the more you apply for, the higher your success rate.

Good luck on the hunt.