10 Tips on a Good CV from Former HR Boss at Infy

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03 June 2016

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Home Blog 10 Tips on a Good CV from Former HR Boss at Infy

10 Tips on a Good CV from Former HR Boss at Infy

At Infosys, where I was Global Head HR, my company received around 1.4 million resumes annually and we made around 55,000 offers. That’s a conversion of 3-4%. Global stats says 98% of resumes hit the trash bin. Ouch! Each of us want to be in that 2% and none of us want to lose the chance before we even had it.

Here are 10 tips on what makes a CV hot:

  1. I would recommend you stick to a maximum of two pages. Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
  2. It should be honest and must get the attention of the person scanning the CV. You can use two types of CVs – chronological or skill-based. For the former, use the last job as the starter and move to academic qualifications; for the latter, describe the skills earned from different work experience and education.
  3. Always include your name, address, date of birth (in some countries this is not required due to age discrimination laws), contact details (telephone number and email). For educational qualifications, state your degree, subject and name of school, college, university, plus grades (if you were a topper)
  4. Work experience: This is the most important part of the CV because most employers try to select for the current job opening as close as possible to the previous work experience of the candidate This should have two parts – name of employer, roles performed in the company, duration.
  5. Be sure to highlight what you did – achievements which are quantifiable e.g. increased sales from 13% to 25% within a year, brought down attrition from 20% to 16%. Also, do mention promotions and awards.
  6. Part of the Work Experience section should include the skills required for the job. The reason I highlight this separately is so you don’t miss it. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem-solving skills, so focus on these, whereas for a marketing role, you would place a bit more emphasis on persuading and negotiating skills. Also add languages, computing skills, driving – depending the role you are applying for.
  7. Skip “Interests”. Unless this in some way reflects the value you will bring to the job, I would suggest you skip this. However, if you insist, interests like “networking”, being part of diverse clubs (golf, theatre), ski-diving, mountaineering (displays you move out of comfort zone), being captain of the hockey team (team skills, leadership) can be added to bring some colour into your CV.
  8. References: Again, I would suggest you skip this until you have been called for the final interview. During your interviews, you will realise you need a reference who would be able to substantiate a certain aspect of your experience important to this role. You can then provide relevant names for reference. Usually a previous supervisor, direct reportee or peer is a good reference.
  9. Covering letter: this should accompany your CV. The letter must be addressed to the Recruitment Manager/Hiring Manager/HR Head and should explain in a short para your career objectives and reason for applying to the company for the particular role.
  10. While you may be applying to different companies at the same time, it’s very important to avoid “Cut, Copy, Paste”. Each covering letter and CV must be customised for the company and role that you are applying. If you expect to be selected amongst hundreds of other CVs, this investment is critical and worth it.

So what makes a good CV?

  • The CV is easy-to-read, well laid out, and not over-crowded.
  • It’s customised for the job you are applying to
  • You highlight the relevant skills you have for the job
  • It is a concise document with no grammar or spelling mistakes
  • It is not exaggerated and reads honestly

What are the common mistakes candidates make on their CV?
One survey of employers found the following mistakes were most common

Spelling and grammar: 56% of employers found this
Not tailored to the job: 21%
Length not right and poor work history: 16%
Poor format and no use of bullet points: 11%
No accomplishments highlighted: 9%
Contact and email problems: 8%
Objective/profile was too vague: 5%
Lying: 2%
Having a photo: 1%
Be positive. Your acceptance of CV is just the beginning. Soon it will be time to start getting ready for the interview. Good Luck!

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