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Does Your CV Make The Grade?

Does Your CV Make The Grade?

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but even with a long time in recruitment it does still happen, and it did last week.

A quick question for you first – if you re-read your CV right now, do you think it would answer everything I needed to know about your Education?  Does your CV even contain a section with your education on it?  In typical Grange Hill style, even the Headteacher Mrs McClusky would take my side on this one surely, even if two job seekers last week didn’t…….and they were not for turning either.

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Following my conversations last week, and reading as many CVs as I do, I am still amazed how many people put minimal or no information on their CV about Education.  The reason the two candidates had nothing on there was “Why would an employer want to know about my education – isn’t my experience the most important thing?”

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Of course experience is vital, but education has an important part to play too, as everyone spends at least 11 years of their life at school.  For some reason, they couldn’t see why being asked about their degree and professional qualification was relevant for a Senior Finance role.  Most employers are interested in this, just as much as they are in other areas of your background.  For this particular role, the employer wanted to know if candidates had a degree, the result they achieved, and how long it took them to gain their professional qualification.  Not only did they have to tick these boxes, but all those relating to experience and skills too.

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As we all know, employers are faced with a mountain of CVs, and they use all the information on a CV in order to make an informed decision about who to put forward for an interview, and who to reject.  Experience is critical, but that doesn’t mean other areas such as Education are not important too.

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As we discuss in much greater detail in our E-books, it is very important to have an Education section on your CV, and I would recommend you put in it from your High School onwards, including dates and your results if at all possible.  If you have a special award for achievement or have passed your professional exams 1st time without any re-takes, put this into the section too.  Without this information on your CV, how is a recruiter or potential employer going to know your history unless they telephone or email every candidate who applied?  The very fact that you put your education and results on your CV may be the reason you are put in the “interview” pile compared to someone else, rather than the “maybe” pile as some employers describe them.

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Education is something we have all done, and some decide to carry this on through adulthood with a Masters Degree, Doctorate and MBA.  Whilst being educationally-minded is not to everyone’s taste, if it is something that particularly appeals, then just like with your professional experience, say so and put it on your CV even if it was years ago.  The aim in all of this after all is to try and secure a job, and to compete with everyone else to get that job.

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Reading hundred’s of CVs like we do at McGinnis Loy, and with employer’s criteria getting ever more narrow, a lot are as specific about educational background as job experience, so it makes sense to put it all on there.  And this is all it takes – this is how I would put it on a CV, starting with your High School first:

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Thomas Gibson High School, Northampton (1983 – 1990)

6 ‘O’ levels with A-C grades

3 ‘A’ levels in Economics (B), History (C), Maths (A)

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Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds (1990 – 1993)

BA (Hons) Degree in Business Studies & Economics – 2i result

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BPP College, London (2000 – 2003)

ACA Qualified – 1st time passes (Fellow in 2009)

 

In just 7 lines, it gives the recruiter or employer everything they need to know, and stops anyone questioning or assuming what education you have, what subjects you took and what grades you obtained.  By leaving all this detail off, then you are not going to get 10 out of 10 for effort from me Im sorry to say – what do you think Mrs McClusky?

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Best wishes

Leslie Fearn

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Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams.  As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today.  Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @McGinnisLoy

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1 Comment

  • Pleasure coming here! got exactly what i was looking for! Thanks Leslie !!@bose