CV Preparation - H-Training
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CV Preparation

The word resume derives from the French ‘résumé’ meaning ‘to sum up or summarize’.

However, it has been H-TRAINING’s experience that many people abjectly fail to practice this in compiling CVs and instead try to ‘sell’ themselves via this document and in so doing annoy recruiters tasked with sifting through the sometimes dozens, if not hundreds, of the CVs they receive for a given position.

This is not to belittle the importance of a CV, but more to emphasis it’s actual role as a key document in the recruitment process. In 2014 H-TRAINING was tasked with recruiting a bi-lingual Sales Engineer for one of our partners, who were about to open an operation in Switzerland. The key criteria for this process was obviously the relevant languages (English and French) but also the basic competencies (selling and engineering). During this process it was noted that identifying this key information in the CV’s we had received was becoming very time consuming (we subsequently changed tack to construct an online application process that asked for this information as a requisite early in the process). 

But the main point of this example is that the CVs in question did not display the information we required in an readily accessible manner and thus made more work for the very people the candidates were trying to impress. This is a very significant point in an information age where, although content is king, it must be accessible and not buried somewhere in a glut of information or a seven-page profile that a recruiter must then wade through. By making your information clearly accessible you are endearing yourself to the recruiter and making their job easier. Furthermore, recruitment is (as distasteful as it may sound) a competition. You are trying to distinguish yourself from the field and this is a good first step, or furthermore an opportunity to describe yourself succinctly.

A lot of clients ask: “are my qualifications or work experience more import?’ This is a good question and you will get different answers based on who you ask. For example a University will always suggests that your qualifications take pride of place front and centre in any CV. And furthermore, if you are applying for a role in an educational institution H-TRAINING would most definitely agree. However, beyond such circumstance your educational achievements become merely box-tickers and have little relevance in most recruitment processes other than to open the door (and obviously evidence of you technical capability) . Furthermore, there has been a lot of pushback from industry on the supposed quality of University Programmes, with perhaps the most significant being EY’s recent decision to exclude it as a requirement for career applications (H-TRAINING will explore this more thoroughly in an upcoming post). 

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The point here is that there is more weight given to experience by employers and industry in general. The unfortunate part of this is that a lot of young graduates embark upon careers with a fist full of letters and little in the way of practice and at times basic common sense. Whereas, a plethora or ‘drop outs’ or early school leavers, can often find themselves with almost ten-years managerial experience and the wherewithal to absolutely polish the boardroom furniture with their more educated competitors. There are also many cases where people have an assumed inferiority complex of sense of doubt given the absence of these supposedly sacred pieces of paper on their CVs. It is important here to say that we are not attacking formal education as it has been a big part of H-TRAINING’s success and is something we hold in high regard. However, the market is not shy about its requirements, and currently this is how the land lies. 

So in light of this we suggest a two column CV with Education and Experience side-by-side that can be scanned in much the same way as Newspaper editors (of the pre-digital age) constructed their headline pages with the Inverted S theory of scanning. This means that the stressed out recruiter can easily ascertain who he has with a quick (and no doubt practiced scan of the document) and identify Qualification level and central work experience as follows: 

Also of significance in this vein is the profile. What we want is a succinct snap shot of who you are and what you offer, but we need to keep it as factual as possible (NB. Do not include that you are an excellent communicator and this is obvious and annoying filler). If there is more on offer the interview is the place to develop this. So for example, I might write:

Experience Learning & Development Professional, mentor and coach, with a speciality in Leadership, Interview and Career Development and a strong background in HR.


Straight to the point. We know who we have after reading a single sentence. We now have the option to find out more at interview stage. 

There are a range of adjunct factors pertaining to CVs that we will begin to address in the coming months, such as what to do with those dreaded gaps or how to explain difficult circumstances and how to tailor a CV to a given role or perhaps most importantly how to spin your experiences to your favour. 

H-Training provides a full CV preparation service, including consultation and cover letter for €80. 

H-Training is a premium learning and development organisation based in Cork, Ireland but in operation internationally.

For more information visit H-Training. net or get in touch here

About the Author Ciaran Hourican

As a professional coach, mentor and facilitator Ciaran has a passionate interest in developing competencies at all workplace levels but particularly in first-line and mid-level managers. His well-developed skills in coaching and his unique approach gains the confidence of clients and supports them towards significant development.

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