The Perfect CV – Verbose v Epigrammatic?

The Perfect CV – Verbose v Epigrammatic?

If there is one thing I can not be criticised for it’s my love of the French. The food, the wine, the expressive language. Just take away their oppressive employment laws and stomach for a serious battle and they could be the perfect nation! I jest.

What’s all that got to do with the humble CV I hear you ask? Well the higher up you are in the executive food chain in France the shorter your CV. There is almost an arrogance to it, but I love it. If someone has achieved the heady status of “siegeant au conseil d’administration” (on the Board) or has held a role for a number of years as a leader of a function in an organisation of any scale, then why on earth would you feel it necessary to explain what it was you did in any more than a succinct paragraph?

The UK is obsessed by the CV, is it long enough, short enough, or even more alarmingly in the right font! What drives this obsession in my opinion is a culture in the UK recruitment industry for databases and boolean word search. This has led to CV’s 15 pages in length in some circumstances with individuals desperate to get every tedious piece of their history down on paper, just incase the recruiter is searching for “Financial Director + Japan + dog lover” .

It’s lazy, unimaginative and has driven a commodity culture in the UK’s senior executive recruitment industry. “How quickly can I search through a database and get CV’s to my client?” This behaviour, which both client and recruiter must share responsibility for, has created a garrulous CV culture.

Perhaps it is worth remembering what is important to display on a resume at Executive level. In the new world of twitter it is worth considering the value of 140 characters. Perhaps an exaggeration but could you explain what you did in a role that succinctly? Possibly not but try it with 250 characters and I can assure you you will succeed. Bullet point your early career and education. It’s informative but it’s not going to make anyone see you unless its for a school reunion. Job title, company name, size and location followed by 250 well thought through characters and voilá!! You have created the perfect CV!

Putting my thoughts above into context, Hemming Robeson has assessed 3500 executive resumes over the last 18 months, we have called just over 900 forward for interview and at todays date selected only 400 (or 11%) that we are willing to represent.

curriculum vi·tae
n. pl. curricula vitae Abbr. CV
summary of one’s education, professional history, and job qualifications, as for a prospective employer. 

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Nick has built a reputation over 15 years as a leading protagonist in the Interim Management industry. He has started, bought, rebranded and sold interim management businesses. He is now focusing his attention exclusively at Board and Head of Function level.


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