LinkedIn has analysed how people in the UAE apply for jobs – and says that many words and phrases are overused, while CVs are not presenting the candidate in the best way.
The same words keep cropping up – such as 'dynamic', 'strategic' and 'expert'. UAE recruiters agree with the findings of LinkedIn's research, and say that CVs tend to spend too much time describing a role rather than highlighting employees' accomplishments.
Jennifer Campori, managing director, Middle East & Europe at recruitment agency Charterhouse, lists her most-hated words and phrases on a CV. “Team player, hardworking, motivated and can work effectively as part of a team or independently,” she said. “These phrases on CV are givens. You should be motivated, a team player and hardworking. What the CV needs to show is facts, which are achievements, responsibilities, education, past employers and so on.”
“It frustrates me when they say they are a 'good manager' but you see from their CV that they haven't actually managed a team yet,” said Annalinde Nickisch, HR consultant and partner at The Thought Factory. “'Goal oriented', and 'hardworking' – I hate that one! 'I'm looking for a challenging position' – that one really bugs me,” she added.
Studies show recruiters only look at a CV for less than a minute, so it's important to include meaningful information. Nickisch said: “At a recruitment agency, we have so many CVs that we spend literally only a few seconds looking at each one. I don't read cover letters, I don't read introductions or anything that looks completely text-based or starts with 'Please let me introduce myself', because I know that the content is usually copied and pasted.
“For example, if you are a salesperson, use numbers – say what figures you have achieved, how many clients you had when you started your role and then how many new clients you brought to the company, so it's more fact-based. And for an HR role, say how many people you have recruited and the turnover you have managed,” added Nickisch.
Candidates frequently try to list their weaknesses as being 'over-organised', but to professional recruiters this doesn't mean anything – neither does “'I'm too disciplined' or 'I'm too hardworking and I don't care about my personal life at all!'” said Nickisch.
Recruiters warn against merely describing a role, and suggest focusing more on what you brought to the organisation, why you are unique and what your skills are. “Don't just say that you have great communication skills – what exactly could your communication skills do for the organisation to which you are applying for a job? It should be more like a sales pitch than a list of job descriptions,” said Nickisch.
The online presence and image a candidate has outside their CV is also important. “I like it if a candidate links to their LinkedIn profile – especially sales and HR people who tend to have a lot of connections. You can see how many connections they have and the kind of recommendations they receive. It says a lot about them,” Nickisch said.
“I also like to see hyperlinks to articles they have written, or if they have participated as a speaker in an event. If you're a graphic designer, put a link to your portfolio. If people write professional blogs, those links are great. It's also good to see if you are a member of a professional group or networking group.”
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