Posts Tagged 'Recruitment'

What Makes a Good CV? 15 Tips from the GFP Team

This week in the office we’ve been debating what makes a good CV. CVs are extremely personal in my opinion, and no two people will give you quite the same advice, but here are 15 top tips that we all agreed on:

Look & feel

  • Make it easy on the eye – Use a standard font size (10pt or 12pt), clear, logical headings and make sure there’s enough white space.
  • Don’t be too fancy with the formatting – A splash of colour can be great, but text boxes and tables are distracting and are also hard for CV parsing programs (basically technology which extracts information from your CV and put straight onto a database) to work with.
  • Bullet point – Bullet points are great, but don’t over-do them. Unless you want your reader to go cross-eyed, of course…
  • Keep it to two pages – If you really can’t then limit it to three at the very most!

What to include

  • Numbers! –  Quantify wherever possible – how many staff you managed, the value of the projects you’ve worked on, budgets you have controlled, and so on.
  • Your key achievements – Anything between four and six is great – put them front and centre on your CV so that prospective employers can see how great you are! It also provides a reflection of what you consider to be important and can be quite telling.
  • Online references – If (IF!) appropriate, link to any online references. Maybe you write an industry-specific blog or have a raft of recommendations on LinkedIn that you’d like to show off. They won’t always be looked at, but can be worth considering.
  • Relevant experience – Highlight the experience you have relevant to the job for which you are applying.

What not to include

  • Irrelevant information – This might include marital status, DoB, the names, ages and number of children you have, etc. (You’d be surprised how many people want to tell us all about their family rather than themselves!)
  • A photo of yourself – Unless you’re a model or actor there’s really no need!
  • Your ENTIRE work history – If you’ve been in work for many years then don’t try and cover everything. Focus on the last 10 years or so and summarise the rest.

Other things to consider

  • Reverse chronological order – I’m sure we don’t have to say it, but ALWAYS start with your most recent experience first.
  • Be concise – It’s a summary of your experience, not War and Peace.
  • File format – Ideally send it in Word format (PDF can also be acceptable, but be prepared to hand over a Word copy too if asked)
  • Proof reading – Read it, re-read it and then read it again. After you’ve done that, give it to someone else to read! It’s amazing what you miss when you’ve worked intensely on something.

And finally – make sure you’re happy with it! It’s a reflection of you, after all!


Lessons Learnt

You may have been following a story with one of our clients which I titled The Impossible (you can read the original post here and the follow-up here). So what have I learned from this? What did we do wrong or could we have done better? Having had time to reflect here’s some of the things I’ve come up with. But first, a bit more background…


How did it all happen?
We met over the internet.
They had a need. We wanted to fill that need.
It was desire (or lust) at first contact.
We sent in our man on a blind date, he secured the work and started immediately.

Who took the brief? 
Our surveyor did. The client needed someone fast and we sent him straight in; something we wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Who then managed the brief?
 Our surveyor did. Having been there at the original briefing, we left him to manage the job. It didn’t sound that bad an assignment; it was routine work to us…

Who did he call when things started to go off course?
Well the guy he took the brief from of course. The trouble with this was that he wasn’t the day to day contact on the project and was divorced from every day issues that had cropped up.

What could we have done differently?
Gone to see the client after the brief had been given to make sure that it had been correctly translated and that a clear plan had been agreed (as we would usually do)

The moral of the story?
Lack of time is no excuse for compromising on attention to detail. Even though the need was urgent we should have found time.

Tesco Value QSs and Architects?!

Now we all like to have a bash at the big boys every now and then so what about the latest story to break about Tesco?

They have flown in some Indian Architects and QS’s to train them in the UK to work on their initial planning and development projects.

Why can they not use UK consultants to do this type of work?! How are they going to keep them aware and up-to-date with UK construction methods, legislation and techniques?! Is it just Tesco driving down costs again, or is something more sinister afoot? Who knows, but has anyone got the ear of someone senior at Tesco that they could talk to about this? It’s mad! Here we are in the UK construction sector struggling to get work, and a big player like Tesco goes overseas! I expect we’ll get Gordon Brown to intervene on our behalf as it’s an outrage! Or maybe we will just fade away quietly… Does anyone realise that without an active and engaged construction community there’s a lot of damage being done to us at the moment?!

I prefer Sainsburys anyway, so I’ll go with the boycott that some of the Building Magazine readers have suggested.

The changing face of construction

Well it’s March and the sun has been shining on us this week. Is it just me that feels positive about the future or is there something in the air?! I think not, as a recent consumer confidence survey said that confidence is at a two-year high, and that was before we knew the economy had grown by 0.3% instead of 0.1%. Does 0.2% really make that much difference to us?

As far as our business goes we are gearing up for the move to the offices upstairs for the end of the month, and we’ve been busy clearing out lots of old paperwork that we’ve accumulated over the years. There’s some interesting contractor names in there – some are gone, some are still with us but under a different name…

  • Chrsitiani & Nielson
  • Avebury
  • Gleeson
  • Mowlem
  • Kaverner
  • Banner Holdings
  • HBG
  • Benson
  • MJ Gleeson
  • Walter Llewellyn
  • Driver Construction
  • Claydon
  • Ballast
  • William Verry
  • Botes
  • Taylor Woodrow
  • Sindall
  • Snape Roberts
  • Totty Cosntruction
  • Tilbury Douglas
  • Jarvis Construction
  • JJ McGinley
  • Try Accord
  • Bluestone
  • Swallow Construction
  • BMH
  • Sunley Turriff
  • Eugena
  • BSR Metro
  • Amec
  • William Sapcote
  • George Wimpey
  • Crispin & Borst
  • Pettifer
  • Norwest Holst

…And so the list goes on. Can you remember some of the names?

The other bit of interesting news I found was that according to the REC/KPMG index of permanent placements by recruitment agencies, the job market is on the up too.

So the economy is growing and job market is showing signs of improvement. And after many months in the doldrums I believe our business is on the up again too!

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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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