Your CV in 10 questions

It only takes up between two and three pages yet its appearance is constantly changing. Here are some tips from human resources professionals on updating your CV.

1. Should the CV be ordered chronologically or by competency?
Matthieu Degenève, founder of l’Oeil du recruteur, answers, “With standard CVs, I prefer a mixed formula with information descending in chronological order. But that also describes the skills used in the positions.”

2. What is the ideal length of a CV?
“As short as possible,” cuts in Guy Samson, president of the firm ConseilPro, “From two to three pages long. It is important that there is no redundancy and that each line relates to the targeted position.”

3. Is it a good idea to add a photo?
“This is a tricky question,” states Degenève, “It can have advantages, but also its share of inconveniences like having your physique discriminated against. As a precaution, it isn’t recommended from the outset. But that isn’t to say that it’s inappropriate.”

4. Is it better to put an objective or summary at the beginning?
Degenève further states, “We work with purpose, an objective looking forward, not backwards, that adapts to the sought-after position.

Samson, who mostly has executive clients, prefers a “career summary.” Most of the junior profiles he aadvises on have denominations like “profession” or “career plan.”

5. Should we use keywords when we directly email CVs to employers?
“Yes!” replies Samson, “It’s important because there is a good chance that employers use a filtering, keyword-based software to separate the more interesting CVs.”

6.   Should you adapt your CV to LinkedIn?
“It should be!” says Degenève, “Instead of simply refining your CV, you want to fill the sections with as many characters allowed by LinkedIn. This strategy used keywords so that recruiters will find you in their search.”

7. Should I put training or experience first?
Degenève qualifies, “Normally, experience comes first, but if you feel the training section responds more appropriately to the job offer than you can reverse the order.

8. Is an “interests and hobbies” section relevant enough to put at the end of the CV?
“Of course!” answers Catherine Filippelli, team supervisor of the recruitment division at Adecco. “Recruiters can associate hobbies with certain aptitudes required for the position. It’s the perfect section to give your application a jump start and subtly show your qualities.”

9. What is the main shortcoming of the CVs that you receive?
“No dates and an incomplete work history,” answers Filippelli, “A gap in your CV stirs up many questions and confusion.”

10. If you could only give one piece of advice on developing a CV, what would it be?
“Don’t be satisfied with only writing job titles,” states Samson, “Indicate concrete achievements and figures. For example, I increased sales or reduced costs by X%.”

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