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Little changes that’ll make a big difference to your CV

Over the last 10 years, I have seen a number of changes across all sectors and regions, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a successful recruitment portfolio during this time.

The current economic climate has created financial difficulties for many businesses globally. Some companies may not survive, whilst others may downsize, this will leave a high population of candidates actively looking for work. So what did we learn from the last recession, and what can we take forward into this period of uncertainty?

During my first year at Ashley Kate making sure your CV was ‘on point’ was paramount to the success of securing an interview, let alone the role.  A number of businesses centralised their services, so regional roles were few and far between, L&D and recruitment roles were a luxury and the public sector had an open market on private-sector candidates; now we are all affected. If we are fortunate, we will come out of this much quicker than 2008/9, but you will need to prepare the very best CV to take to market.

So what does your new CV need?

The volume of applications that a hiring manager or recruiter will receive will be 3 times more than they received in January, so;

You need to make sure that your winning CV highlights the right words, so a little bit of ‘buzzword bingo’. An unfortunate term, but it will enable hirers to reduce c150 applications to 50 easier.

Never assume the reader knows what your company does, be specific.

A lot of applicant tracking systems will allow the hirer to search for keywords in your CV. They won’t know if you work in a unionised environment if you don’t state it. They won’t know if your business is/was global. They won’t know if your business went through a merger or acquisition. They won’t know whether there was a restructure that led to redundancies. So these are the things that you need to ensure are in your CV.

Let’s use the word ‘restructure’ as an example, most HR generalists will at some point in their career have worked in an environment that will have gone through a restructure, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that redundancies were made, be specific.

If you aren’t using a specialist HR agency, they may not be aware that a restructure could have led to job losses – they will only be looking for the words ‘redundant’ or ‘redundancies’, if this isn’t clear in your CV, you may have just been moved to the reject pile.

Other key areas that are missed

  • Line/team management
  • Standalone
  • Payroll
  • TUPE
  • D&I initiatives
  • Employee engagement initiatives
  • Cultural change programmes
  • Attrition reduction
  • Tribunal
  • Stakeholder management

There is no ‘one size fits all CV’, some will be two pages, some will be three or more. The key thing is to utilise the space well, have you sold YOU well.

If you had to replace yourself in your current role, what would you want to see?

Amanda Underhill is a specialist HR recruiter with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. She joined  Ashley Kate HR & Finance in 2010 and has since enjoyed developing long-lasting relationships with both clients & candidates.

Amanda regularly takes part in and organises HR Director Boardroom and HR employment updates across London and Greater London.

Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn


For more advice and guidance, or if you are looking to add to your team on a temporary, contract or permanent basis, please call us on, we will be happy to support you.

0203 8001500 | 0121 3321000 | 0161 615 9000 | 01159 223000 | 0114 2218000


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