Optimising your CV!


Having worked in the recruitment industry for 2 years now, I have learned how crucial a strong and well put together CV can be. Especially in the current climate, when making a good first impression with a hiring client is more important than ever. You need to stand out and be recognised as someone that could add value. Over the last couple of years, I have been solely concentrating in the field of Built Envrironment, and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to CVs. As such, I thought it would be a good idea to offer my own advice on how to optimise your CV, to give you the best chance of securing an interview and hopefully a new job!

A CV should always be tailored for the position you are applying for, so it is not generic and gives you the best chance of catching a hiring manager's eye. I’ve used a Architect's CV as an example in this instance:-

Keep it Condensed
You should try and keep your CV to 1 or 2 pages MAX, bearing in mind that a hiring manager will usually spend 10-15 seconds scanning an individual’s CV. You want to grab their attention quickly and not let it fade away as they make their way through pages and pages of endless projects or jobs. 

The Main Points 
The most important information on your CV will be your work experience, software proficiencies and project familiarity you have gained throughout your career. Education such as GCSEs are not overly important and should be towards the bottom of your CV, with the most relevant information being at the top (that a hiring manager will see first).

Keep it Varied
If you have worked across a range of sectors, within different types of practices. Make sure this is well communicated in your CV. For example: School Project (Cost/Size) what was your role in delivery of this project and what were your associated duties from concept through to completion? If you have worked across multiple Residential, Educational, Health sectors, it could be an idea to colour code these in boxes to help make it easier for the reader to identify which sector you’ve had the most experience in or using a charting system to show your different levels of skill within the sectors. 

Keeping it Brief  
Keep things focused on what sector you are seeking work in and where your ambitions lie. If this is in becoming a more experienced Architect then how you would like to progress your career within their practice? For example, your ARB registration + year of which you qualified should be clearly stated on your CV (towards the top of the page) and it will also be important to highlight when you completed your Part I/II exams to get to where you are currently.

No Links!
These can be used to show your portfolio work, but its very important to remember that clients do not like clicking on external links and would much prefer to be sent a couple of PDF documents instead. This should always be one containing your CV and another with your complimentary portfolio. This portfolio should be no longer than 10 pages (under 10MB ideally).

In conclusion, I feel these 5 key points will be crucial in giving your application the best chance of seeing success and securing you an interview. As obvious as they may seem, in just tweaking one or two sections of your CV, using the above points could really differentiate you from other candidates applying for the same position, and in such a competitive market this is very important. I hope this can help and Good Luck!

For a conversation about the Built Environment jobs market in the Midlands, feel free to reach out to Jack Perks on +44 (0)203 854 1100 or jack.perks@mustardjobs.co.uk or any one of our mustard BE team who will be able to give you confidential career guidance.

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