The 3 Types of CV that Recruiters Receive

The 3 Types of CV
Written by Jonathan Burston

Now you already know that your CV is the key document that will go in front of a recruiter. I’m telling you nothing that you didn’t already know. It’s probably one of the most important documents that you will ever create.

Here are the 3 types that a recruiter will see:

1. The Why Bother CV?

This is the CV that has been badly created. Very little effort has gone into it. It is poorly structured with bad grammar, spelling mistakes and gaps of missing information.

Create ‘The Why Bother CV’ and you’re unlikely to be attending an interview any time soon.

2. The Bland One

This is the CV that the majority of candidates create. Yes it has all the information a recruiter expects to see, but it’s bland. It is dull. There’s nothing in it that makes the recruiter sit up and say I must see this person. Rather they will quickly scan it and more than likely move on.

The Bland One is often a CV that’s been created once and then used for every job application. It will have ‘buzzwords’ – pointless words that sound good that actually mean nothing. Words such as dynamic, teamplayer, self-motivated….(yawn). Do you get my point?

Create The Bland One and in some cases you’ll get the benefit of the doubt and be called for an interview. However you are going to have to work hard in the interview to overcome the blandness in your CV. But in most cases it’ll go straight from the recruiter’s desk to the confidential bin for shredding. What a waste!

3. The Intrigue CV

Few CVs end up here. The Intrigue CV is the CV that a recruiter looks at and says I want to see this person.

This CV is interesting and intriguing. It gets the recruiter thinking, ‘I want to meet the person behind this.’

So what makes it different?

The Intrigue CV is tailored to the role that is being applied for. It includes had facts, achievements, numbers, skills etc. In other words it has all the information a recruiter needs for them to say ‘I need to meet this individual in person’.

Create The Intrigue CV and you’ll increase your chances of getting an interview significantly.

Where CVs Fall

Most people fall into the groups 1 and 2.

Ridiculous isn’t it? Your CV is your brochure, your advert, your marketing asset to the job market. If you can’t be bothered, why should anyone else.

Lee’s Story

Let me tell you about Lee.

Lee used to work for me in my previous company, in one of the business units I looked after at the time. He had a reputation for being a good salesperson when on form, and lazy at other times. This isn’t an unusual trait across many sales people (well the ones that aren’t earning the big $$$).

Anyway, I digress. Lee left the company to go off to a new role paying more money. I lost contact with Lee and I subsequently moved on a few years later too.

So it was a good six years later that Lee’s CV came across my desk.

It had been sent to me by a recruitment consultant for a sales role that I was recruiting. At first I didn’t remember his name.

Scanning Lee’s CV

Names aren’t always initially relevant when you’re scanning a CV. As a recruiter I’m looking for information, keywords, past experience, track record etc, to make it stand out against the many other I will have on my desk.

Lee’s CV certainly stood out, but sadly not for the right reasons. It was one of the worst I’d ever seen. It was poorly laid out and there was missing information. The fonts were all over the place. It was dreadful. It certainly fell into group 1 of CVs – The Why Bother CV.

Now where am I going with this?

Benefit of the Doubt

Well, it was only because I saw my old company name on it that I looked at the name at the top. I then remembered who he was. It was only because I knew him of old that I decided to have a telephone interview with him.

At this stage I asked him detailed questions about his CV, the gaps, the lack of information. It became evident, very quickly, that Lee wasn’t right for the role I was recruiting for.

Lee’s CV was an extension of him and demonstrated his lazy side. He couldn’t be bothered. And if you can’t be bothered to put the time and effort into creating a document that is so personally important for you, who in their right mind is going to take a chance on recruiting you?

Your Best Work

I hope you understand the point that I’m making. You need to put time and effort into your CV. It must be the best piece of work that you have ever produced.

Does that sound a little too much?

No, not in my view. You should and must be proud of what you have created. If you are not, nobody else will be.

What I Learnt

What did I learn from my conversation with Lee? He shouldn’t have had the second chance and his CV should have gone straight to the bin.

Further Reading:

23 Things Not to Include on your CV/Resume
10 Reasons Why a Recruiter Hates your CV
How to Keep your CV Fresh
Tailoring your CV in 4 Easy Steps  



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About the author

Jonathan Burston