Friday, 29 October 2010

New research highlights the perfect CV!

It’s official!

If you want your CV to be successful, you need to keep it to two pages, use (and avoid!) specific fonts, and work on your golf handicap!

A recent article in the snappily titled Journal of Sociological Trends in Assessment Practice reveals the results of a year long study into the CVs of successful candidates applying for management positions in UK FTSE organisations. If you wish to trawl through the rather turgid tables in the article, follow the link below, but here’s a brief summary of the major findings.

The ideal CV is 2.46 pages long.
OK this is difficult to adhere to, but the study revealed that although there is some validity in the much-quoted advice of keeping your CV to a maximum of two pages in length, CVs of greater length do not actually penalise you.

Avoid Comic Sans Font!
If you wish to impress with the look of your CV, stick to trusted favourites like Arial, preferably in 11 font. There was a slight correlation between successful CVs of candidates applying for roles in Finance and the use of Times New Roman (perhaps it’s something to do with the slightly old-fashioned and risk averse nature of that particular typeface!) but the only really clear message from the survey is the familiar one of avoiding Comic Sans Typeface. Of over 3200 CVs studies, only one using this particular typeface led to an appointment and that was for a position in the Media and Communications department of a major advertising agency (where presumably being a maverick is to be encouraged!)

Take up golf
The single most important factor in progressing from application to interview is to describe your prowess in golf. No other sport has such a positive correlation between appearing on a candidates CV and being appointed into the post. Particularly within roles in the finance sector, a decent golf handicap seems to have more power to impress than even an MBA. And for roles at Finance Director level, it’s not only the fact that you play golf that’s important – it’s how good your handicap is!

Don’t play team sports
Slightly linked to the point above, it’s clear that individualism is what companies are looking for. If anything, there’s a negative correlation between team sports (especially, for some reason, five-a-side football) and appointment into senior roles. The advice here is clear: only mention your dribbling skills if your applying for roles at middle management level. Beyond that, preferably mention how good you are on the golf course or, if you’re applying for roles in IT or Procurement, it will help you if you have completed the occasional marathon.

Drink more wine
Only one leisure interest (other than golf) has a positive correlation between inclusion on CV and appointment to position: mentioning that you are a connoisseur of fine wines. The phrases “Entertaining” or Dining Out” have no bearing whatsoever on progressing from CV to interview, but there is a marked correlation (0.582 for the statistically minded!) between simply mentioning “Fine Wines” and being appointed to position. The correlation is even higher for posts at MD level, and those with salaries of above £75K

So, to summarise, keep your CV to two pages, avoid Comic Sans Font, play golf (alone!) and drop into conversation (should you get to interview) that you knocked back a bottle of Chateau Gruaud Larose 1986 at the weekend (£288 a bottle)

Good luck!

Journal of Sociological Trends in Assessment Practice


  1. Well that’s me scuppered.

    With a career like mine I’d probably only be able to get to 2.46 pages if I used Arial bold (sounds like a washing commercial) 24 font.

    I did have golf lessons once (when I was about 10) and recently came in 3 under par at my local pitch and putt. At a push I suppose I could say I was a scratch player (but only because my Pringle jumper is so bloomin’ itchy)!

    And people wonder why the recruitment process has such a bad name! No wonder people like Trevor lie.


  2. Excellent article! Particularly surprised about the golf comment, however...

  3. Who said the old boy club is dead? So they want lushes in Pringle. That's me out on one front anyway

  4. Have just re-written mine and its 2 pages, now i'm worrying about the .46 I haven't got!

    There's no hope on the golf front with my attempts at crazy golf normally ending up with my ball landing in some form of water! Wine, on the other hand - i'd be up for some practice....hic!