CV Advice & Tips

HRS can help you to achieve your career ambitions and to allow us to do so we need to ensure you have the right CV in place for the job applications in question. Whether you are looking for a job in science, engineering, or technology the formula to the right CV is the same.

Before looking at the CV advice and tips below, there is one key piece of advice to consider:

"Employers / Recruiters can review a few hundred CVs a day and your suitability could be determined in the first 30 seconds."

For this reason you need to make sure your CV content stands out, whilst providing the most relevant information in a clear and concise manner. Investing time in your CV content will save the reviewer time and maximise your chances of successful job applications.
Jobs in science cv tips

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Length:

Permanent: 2 - 3 pages
It is recommended that this is up to 2 pages in length but for those who have worked for a number of companies / projects this may go on to a third page.

Contract: 3 - 4 pages
Similar to permanent you want to aim to be in the 2-3 page length but for those who have worked on multiple short term projects / assignments this may need to go to 4 pages.

A CV which is in excess of four pages should be discussed with your HRS consultant, as we may be able to offer advice and recommend changes to prevent it being too lengthy.

Content:

Contact Details

Ensure these are in a place where they can be easily found. At the top of the first page is our recommendation and the details required are:
  • Full Name (do include any relevant accreditations i.e. MRSC)
  • Home Address
  • Contact Telephone Number (mobile, home & work)
  • Email Address (personal and work)
  • LinkedIn Profile ID (if applicable)

HRS Tip

Double and triple check these are correct to ensure that you are contactable.

Personal Statement / Profile

This is not an essential requirement but it certainly can help to tailor your experience and expectations to the company / job you are applying to. This requires 2-4 sentences maximum, located just underneath your contact details, and can help to show the reviewer you have taken the time to recognise their requirements and to engage their interest in you.

HRS Tip

A Personal Statement although very powerful can cause complications if you are applying to multiple positions and forget to change this on a job by job basis. Make sure you check this is relevant to the exact position and its requirements before applying.

Education / History

Based upon your experience to date the following two sections can be ordered before or after one another, i.e. If you are a graduate your unique selling point (USP) is your academic achievements, but if you are an industry expert your USP may be your experience before your academics. If in doubt this can be discussed with any HRS consultant.

Educational / Professional Qualifications

Make sure you position your highest level of qualification first and work backwards from there. List each of your accreditations and make sure you specify where and when you did them.

Work History / Expertise

Make sure you position your most recent / current role first. Under each of your positions ensure you specify what you did, who you worked for and when this was. If you work in a specialised field the recommendation is to specify each niche skill set / expertise under each of your positions. Again list the most relevant one’s in comparison to the job / company you are applying to.

HRS Tip

Where possible list certain expertise / academics in bullet point form. The easier they are to identify, the easier reviewer will be able to determine your suitability to the role.

Hobbies & Interest

Although these are not necessarily going to get you the job they will certainly help to add more of your personality to your CV. List the key ones without putting too much focus / using up valuable space. Although we want the client to get to know you, the priority is you are there to do the job first.

HRS Tip

Know your audience. If you know the company you are applying to have similar values and interests to you. Try and show this in this section if applicable.

Publications (if applicable)

These can be very relevant to the role you are applying to but can really pack out and elongate your CV. Our advice would be to provide these to your HRS consultant to be held on your record and then state ‘available upon request’ on your CV.

HRS Tip

If you have a list of publications put the two most relevant to the job under this heading and then state how many more are available upon request.

References / Contact Referee

It is common practice to provide two professional references when applying to a new job. This is likely to be your current employer and either a previous employer or an academic reference. Our advice would be to provide these to your HRS consultant who will store them on your records and state ‘References are available upon request’. That way HRS can help.

Additional Considerations:

Achievements (*HRS’ top tip)

If you have had tangible achievements in your career it is great to showcase them on your CV. You don’t want this to be a self appreciation section but if under each of your positions you can show success above and beyond doing what you were asked to do this, it can really help you to stand out from other prospective candidates.

Imagine looking at two like for like CVs from jobseekers that have the same experience. You can only choose one of them and the only difference is that one of them shows a list of achievements and the other does not. Sometimes just these subtle ways of differentiating your CV can help make the difference.

HRS Tip

If you have multiple achievements make sure the first one you list is going to be most relevant to the job you are applying too.

Covering Letters

This is really down to the individual application. Some clients do not require a covering letter and some like to see one with every application. If in doubt consult with your HRS Consultant.

Covering letters are a targeted introduction of your entire profile to the prospective client / recruiter. They take in to consideration the demands and expectations of the exact job you are applying too. They are an extension of the Personal Statement which you may have included at the top of your CV.

The important thing to consider when writing a covering letter is to make sure it explains where you have the skills required in the job description’s requirement section. Make sure you read this first so that you can ‘tailor’ and sell your expertise within the parameters of the client’s needs.

HRS Tip

Do not exceed one page of A4. This is supposed to be a snapshot of your relevant experience and if goes on for too long you may lose your client’s interest quickly.

What not to include in your CV

It is recommended not to outline the following two topics on your CV.
  • Reason for leaving
  • Salary
Both of these topics should be discussed with your HRS Consultant who can represent the information to the prospective client. By putting them on your CV it can lead to a miscommunication / assumptions to be made. This can play a factor in the initial CV screening decision making process.

HRS Tip

if your are unsure whether to include these topics on your CV just pick up the phone and speak to any HRS Consultant who will gladly pass on their thoughts.

Gaps on your CV

If you do have extended periods of time between roles in your CV it is best not to try and hide these, and where applicable explain the reasons as to why. This should be discussed with your HRS consultant who can provide you with advice before submitting your application.

HRS Tip

Having gaps in your CV is not something to be concerned with. Sometimes it is this time where you developed skills above and beyond the work place which can add value to a new employer.

Proof Reading

Make sure you run a spell check on your full CV and ensure you have read it at least twice before applying to a job. Unfortunately any errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar can raise doubts over your attention to detail.

It is also vital you make sure you have not repeated any particular parts of your CV too many times. The last impression you want to give to anyone is that you are trying to pack out your CV or have not proof read it.

HRS Tip

Ask a friend or family member to review your CV as if they are the client you are applying to. That way they can challenge you on any parts of your CV and provide honest feedback. Any consultant at HRS would also be happy to assist with this.