CVs from young candidates must tell story, say managers

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Young people are focusing too much on qualifications and not "telling a story" about themselves, according to research by youth employment charity Brathay Trust.

The report, released ahead of the final of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge on Wednesday, asked more than 900 line managers what the biggest challenges of hiring young people were. 

It found that more than one-third (38%) of managers want young people to give greater prominence to soft skills, such as communication, on their CVs. Around one-fifth (19%) said young people's resumes often look the same. 

One-third said good candidates are missing out on roles because their applications are not of a sufficient standard. 

Brathay Trust head of apprenticeship development Jez Anderson told HR magazine employers want young people's CVs to be more than just a "catalogue of qualifications". Organisations want to be able to build up a picture of candidates and how they could fit in with the company.

"Hiring managers want to see those work skills in the application, not just a list of GCSEs," he said. "Education institutions should be helping young people to develop those skills, on top of the informal help they receive from friends and family."

Deloitte UK HR director Stevan Rolls told HR magazine young people often forget their CVs should tell a story. He said that a tailored online application form helps the company to find out the information they want from candidates. 

"It helps us greatly because it allows us to zero in on the kind of information we want," he said. "A CV and a covering letter can be rather generic, not giving the level of detail we look for. Enthusiasm for the role can be hard to convey in a CV and some candidates tend to get bogged down in facts and figures."

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