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CV Content Advice

CV advice is readily available to job seekers but much of it centres on how to structure your CV. If you are currently seeking a job in the food industry we want to get you thinking more about the content of your CV, rather than the structure.

The CV remains your most important piece of self-promotion material. Make it bold, make it stand out and be prepared to fully back up your CV achievements at the interview stage. It's important to remember that a CV should concentrate solely on YOU. It may go against your nature and seem narcissistic, but you really do need to put the focus on you.

We recognise that a lot of work completed in the food industry is team or project based, and consequently, we see a lot of CV's that focus on the achievements of 'the team' rather than you 'the individual'. We advise candidates to isolate what their contribution to the team was and detail this fully on the CV. Be forthright in your language. I.E. “I increased throughput on the production line by implementing A, B and C resulting in a cost saving of £60k pa”. This sounds much better than, “I was part of a project team that improved throughput on a production line.” Positive language combined with the detailing of results (facts & figures) helps you to substantiate your skills and experience with hard evidence.

Concentrate on quality not quantity. When considering your Achievements in a particular job, it’s better to limit your list to 4 fantastic Achievements, rather than pad out your list with additional 6 mediocre Achievements.

Check thoroughly for general flow, correct grammar and spelling. Food Careers would be pleased to review your CV, or if you have a friend or work mate who recruits staff, ask them how your CV stacks up against others they see. Ask them, "If my CV arrived on your desk, would you interview me?" Ask them, "What do you look for in a CV when recruiting a food industry professional?"

Check your dates. A pet hate for many recruiters/employers in the food industry is dates of employment that don’t tally up. Make sure there are no gaps or overlapping employment dates. Having incorrect date information may give a hiring manager a reason not to interview you and even if you do get an interview, it will upset the flow of the interview if the interviewer has to go over the dates of employment and scribble down revisions.

Use relevant 'keywords' that a recruiting manager within the food manufacturing industry will know, as this will help your CV come higher up in job searches made by employers and recruiters. At Food Careers, one of the tools we use to identify suitable candidates is ‘keyword’ searching. Using the right keywords on your CV will make you easier to be found. Keywords could be specific technical skills, food categories you have worked with, software or systems you have used, specific customers you have supplied, job titles you have held, vocational or technical qualifications you have gained or professional memberships you hold.

As a lot of the initial communication between a job seeker and a recruiter will be on email, so avoid using a shared email account or an email account that you seldom check. Also, avoid putting an email address on your CV that could be construed as strange, offensive, flirtatious or of a sexual nature.

It is likely that your CV will contain your home and mobile numbers. If you have a strong CV, it is likely a recruiter or employer will pick up the phone and call you. A professional sounding answerphone message will encourage the recruiter/employer to leave a message, enabling them to call them back. A comedy message or inappropriate music may encourage them to hang up!

Remember your CV is a work in progress, update it every few months or when you have another fantastic Achievement to add. Make sure that telephone numbers and email addresses for referees contained on your CV are kept up to date.

Quite often, interview questions are based on information contained in your CV, so you need extensive knowledge of your CV and must be able to talk about all the responsibilities and achievements listed therein. If an employer asks you how you achieved something on your CV, be prepared to talk them through it succinctly and clearly with a beginning, middle and end. An experienced interviewer will be interested in both what you say and how you say it, so you need to come across as coherent and logical.

If you require further advice on what content to include in your CV, or would like to talk through your CV, do not hesitate to contact us.