The art of simplicity

Many assume that when preparing a CV that it needs to be presented in an elaborate manner.
Most interviewers and employers are not interested in sifting through intricate and complex CVs. Elaborate and sophisticated designs can be off-putting.
In general, recruitment agencies and HR departments prefer clean, professional designs that are easy to read and in which information is easy to understand and follow. This is especially relevant in larger organisations, where your CV is placed in large volumes of traffic.
Recruitment agencies need CVs to highlight your key skills so a simple layout highlighting your accomplishments and skills will help you to be seen. Your information is scanned for relevant and transferrable skills that are relevant to the role in questions.
In a more elaborate CV, these skills can often bedrowned out by detailed information.
“Distinct section headers, clearly outlined dates of employment, and easy-to-read text are essential,” commented a recruiter for a national retailer (Top Executive Resumes, Katherine Hansen, PhD).
The key to a good CV is readability and professionalism. These two features go hand in hand. Simplicity does not mean that professionalism has to be sacrificed.
Clean, concise language presents your information in the best light. Plenty of white space enables your words to breathe and helps them stand out. Bullet points and basic, competent language
Length and complexity do not showcase your skills. KPMG Principal Mary Ann Davidson comments on “In less than two sentences, I want to know the scope of your responsibilities, size of budget, geographic territory, number of team members that you lead, your product lines, and reporting relationship relevant to each of your roles in the last eight years.”
The same rule applies to your interview. Why make the preparation more complicated that it needs to be? Rather than rehearsing the top 20 standard questions, prepare a simple plan.
Bring it back to basics.
Who are you?
What can you offer?
How can your key career accomplishments help the company?
Focus on the interview, not on what you could be asked, but how to prepare if you were asked no questions and asked to speak for half an hour on your strengths.
When asked to introduce yourself, have a simple, powerful statement prepared. It helps you begin the interview in a confident manner and lets the interviewer find out about you immediately.
The art of simplicity is more difficult that it sounds. As we develop in our careers, we become lost in a world of technical jargon and impressive job duties.
Edward Everett, a former Senator, presented the two-hour keynote address that day at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Everett wrote to President Lincoln after the event: “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”

Sli Nua Careers (Watson’s Lane, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo / Drum East, Bushy Park, Galway, tel 094 95 42965 / 091 528 883, carry out CV Preparation, Mock Interviews, Interview Training, and Career Direction. For your free e-book on interview & CV tips, email They provide online CV makeovers at