Would your CV meet the expectations of today's employers? Find out!

Thanks to the introduction of data-protection regulations, the replacement of previous anti-discrimination laws with the Equality Act and the increased use of robotics during the recruitment process, the CV you used five or more years ago may not pass muster with today's HR managers. Test your knowledge on CVs to ensure you're ready for the job search.

1. ___ What does ATS stand for?

  • Applicant Tracking System

  • Application Testing Software

  • Automatic Transcribing Source

ANSWER: Organisations use recruitment software known as an 'applicant tracking system', or 'ATS' for short, which is designed to scan CVs and eliminate the least-qualified candidates for a role, resulting in up to 75 per cent of CVs being rejected before the recruiter even sees them. Click on the following link to learn how to write an ATS-friendly CV to beat the 'hiring bots'.

2. ___ Which of the following elements may cause your CV to be automatically rejected by an ATS?

  • Custom fonts or styles of bullets

  • The use of images and graphs

  • A PDF file format

  • Lack of relevant keywords

  • All of the above

ANSWER: Stick to a standard font type that is available among various versions of Word and Google documents such as Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman or Cambria, to name a few. Avoid using custom fonts, fancy design elements or embedded graphics, as not all ATS software will be able to 'read' the information contained within them. While a PDF file format is the best format for preserving the design and format of your CV, it is not compatible with all ATS software. If in doubt, use a Word document instead to upload your CV for an online application. 

Related: How to tell if your CV is 'ATS-friendly' 

3. ___ How long does the average recruiter spend reviewing a CV?

  • Less than 10 seconds

  • 30 seconds

  • 60 seconds

  • 90 seconds

ANSWER: According to research carried out by employment firm Ladders, the average time spent reading a CV is just 7.4 seconds. Believe it or not, that's an improvement. When the study was originally carried out in 2012, recruiters had spent even less time – 6.25 seconds! Translation: You have only a very short window of opportunity for your CV to impress.

4. ___ What is the ideal page length for a CV?

  • 1 page

  • 2 pages

  • 3 pages

  • As many as is needed to provide a detailed account of your employment history and education

ANSWER: While there will always be exceptions, a two-page CV is the ideal page length for most professionals. When you have just seconds for your CV to work its magic with employers, there is clearly no point in writing pages and pages of detail. By giving yourself the target of a two-page CV, you're helping to focus your CV and ensure that the details you provide serve one specific purpose – to build your case as a qualified candidate and positively influence the reader to call you up for an interview.

5. ___ True or False: If you are married, you should state your marital status and maiden name (if applicable) on your CV.

  • True
  • False

ANSWER: In the past, this private information was commonly included in a CV. However, it is unlawful in the UK for an employer to discriminate against anyone, both at work and in job adverts, based on gender, marriage and civil partnership, to name a few. Employers are no longer interested in learning your marital status, as it has no bearing on your qualifications and could open the employer up to accusations of such discrimination.

6. ___ Which of these words is NOT an action verb?

  • Developed

  • Detail-oriented

  • Organised

ANSWER: Action verbs are just what they sound like – words that express action: develop, analyse, organise, solve. When chosen carefully, they can be a powerful way to describe your capabilities and accomplishments. While an adjective such as 'detail-oriented' might be used in a personal statement, it only provides value to your application if you're able to offer proof of this skill in your CV's 'Work History' section.

7. ___ True or False: It's important to include a list of referees directly in your CV.

  • True

  • False

ANSWER: Referees – also called references – should only be listed directly on your CV if you're applying for a government job. For all other professionals, we recommend creating a separate referees document rather than using up valuable space on the CV itself. 

8. ___ True or False: Your CV should only include a photo of yourself if you're applying for a role as a model or actor in the UK.

  • True

  • False

ANSWER: While it was once a standard practice to include a professional photo of yourself with your CV, employers in the UK do not expect candidates to include this information any more. In fact, thanks to anti-discrimination laws in the UK, some companies are so afraid of being accused of discrimination that they'll automatically reject CVs that contain photos to avoid potential allegations. However, there are some countries that still welcome — and in cases, require — your job application to include a photo. Click on the following link to learn which countries still expect candidates to include a CV photo.

9. ___ True or False: Employers expect you to include information about your religion to ensure your religious practices are not in conflict with job requirements.

  • True

  • False

ANSWER: Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of religion, belief or race. As a result, employers do not wish to see this information listed on your CV for fear that they will be accused of treating you less favourably than someone else because of your religious beliefs. Click on the following link to learn more about which items do not belong on a modern CV.

10. ___ If you're applying for a job in the UK, which one of these items should always be included on your CV? 

  • Street address

  • Core competencies

  • Date of birth

  • None of the above

ANSWER: Thanks to the advent of GDPR and the Equality Act 2010, employers in the UK no longer wish private data such as your full mailing address and your date of birth to be included on your CV. They do, however, appreciate having your qualifications, including your core competencies or areas of expertise, summarised at the top of your CV. ATS software is also looking to parse this valuable information from your CV to evaluate your candidacy for the employer.

11. ___ Which of the following is the ideal format for a modern CV?

  • Clean and simple

  • Elaborate and fancy

  • Colourful and image-heavy

ANSWER: While it may be tempting to add elaborate graphics or loads of colour to your CV to make it stand out, these design elements often become a garbled mess or get completely left out of your application after passing through the ATS. Less is truly more when it comes to the look and feel of your CV, so your application stands a better chance of passing through the ATS without issue if you stick to a simple, clean design where your information is organised in a clear hierarchy.

How did you do?

If you didn't score as well as you expected, or if it's been a while since you last searched for work, your CV may require some updates. Find out how your CV would fare in today's job market by requesting a free CV critique.

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