Dan Smith, Director of Executive Search Firm Hansen Filler and over 10 years Industry Experience

Creating your best CV 

Don’t know where to start? Not sure how to explain your sporting career? Struggling to know what’s relevant and what isn’t? Here’s some tips on how to create a great CV from 3 of our Senior Recruitment Leaders.

As 3 individuals who see hundreds of CVs a week, from candidates applying to roles across a range of sectors and for positions of varying seniority, we asked them what they look out for on a CV to help you to stand out from the crowd! 

“Key skills such as resilience, work ethic, drive, ability to communicate, ability to work as part of a team. It’s hard to pick all of this up from a cv, but it tends to be demonstrated by work experience (even if this is bar work whilst studying at university) or experience of performing extracurricular activity.” – Sam

As well as work experience and your academic experiences, you can use examples from your interests and other activities to showcase your suitability for a role. They provide clues to your personality and motivation. They can also distinguish you from other candidates. You could be memorable to an employer if you have achieved a high standard in a sport, or have taken responsibility in the form of part-time work.  

With this in mind, we were intrigued to hear what really ‘stands out’ to our senior recruiters… 

“A major “DO” for me is making sure you’re calling out your transferrable skills gained from your sport” – Riteesh 

“Key achievements to date and any jobs they’ve previously had, or extra circular activities, especially in sport” – Dan 

“I like people who have performed something over a period of time, as it shows somebody will stick at things. Full time athletes/scholarship athletes are a good example of this but working in a bar for a couple of years (as opposed to just a month) is also good.” – Sam 

You may be reading this and questioning what our recruiters mean when they talk about transferable skills? Transferable skills are those skills that an individual can apply to adapt to a new job role or setting. This set of skills doesn’t belong to a sector, industry or job; they are general skills that can be transferred between jobs, departments and industries (hence the name). These skills are valued by employers because they can be useful in so many ways for a variety of job sectors and roles. Problem solving is a transferable skill for example. It can be useful in consultancy when faced with a new or complicated business case.  Think about all the times in your sport when you have felt stretched, challenged or have completed something you were proud of. Will any of these experiences demonstrate to an employer that you are adaptable, can set yourself a goal and take steps to achieve it? It doesn’t need to be anything momentous like winning a global title – it just needs to show your potential. 

How to present a CV 

For applications to roles in the UK, most CVs will include all or most of the following core information: your name and contact details, personal profile/objective, work experience, education, relevant (hard) skills, any other useful experience to include and references. However, the way in which you structure and present this information is key: 

“Layout is crucial, a good CV is concise, well presented and easy on the eye” – Dan  

“Before writing your CV you should have thought about the sector you want to go into, show you’re well researched by making your personal profile specific to the job you’re applying for. Your CV should be well structured, have a good flow and no spelling or grammar mistakes” – Riteesh 

“Breakdown your experience, starting with your most recent role at the top. This section of your CV is another opportunity to talk about the skills you have gained through prior experience, which are applicable to the role you’re interested in.” – Sam 

We have a range of CV guides and toolkits available to download from our online portal here.

Moving onto the CV don’ts.. 

Although there may not be one right way to structure your CV, there are some definite CV don’ts according to our senior recruitment leads – 

“Something to avoid on your CV would be pictures of yourself. Your CV should be 1 or 2 pages maximum, especially at Graduate level. Don’t waffle.” – Dan 

“Don’t include your date of birth or any photos of yourself, here at Deloitte if we received a CV with either of those things they’d be removed before being read regardless. Also keep in mind the language you are using, avoid slang and keep it professional. Expect the person seeing it to be quite senior” – Riteesh 

A final word from our recruiters – Know your CV! Your CV is a key tool that your interviewer will refer to. Make sure you know it inside out, that you know the dates, and are able to talk through it succinctly and give ‘real life’ examples to illustrate your skills!