Recruitment | Executive Search

Musical CVs

Recruitment is like a song. Different parts, different genres, different tempo. It’s music.


This is the discovery stage. Some introductions are extended, while others are precise, timely, and concise – perhaps too concise. Nonetheless, a good intro sets the expectation of great things to come. Consequently, it underlines the tempo of the song and helps you decide whether you should skip to the next track or not.

So too will a CV leave an impact when first encountered. The first pages have a direct impact on whether the recipient will “skip to the next track CV“. Its important to communicate your field of expertise early in your CV order to indicate to recruiters that you are what they’re looking for. This can be either a short summary of yourself and abilities, or some other written or visual content that immediately highlights your skills and capabilities. It’s also good practice to include personal particulars such as names and contact information, recruiters will always seek this information right at the top; if its anywhere else, the intro is broken.


Herein lies the content. Just as songwriters and producers pay close attention to detail in every word and every stanza, so too must each individual refine the content of their CV. Anything and everything should be intentional. If something on your CV doesn’t add value, it should not be there. If it adds value, it should be there only after you have determined how to best compose and present it. In terms of content, job duties and responsibilities must be clearly defined and outlined. They’re just as important or more important than job titles. A bad verse cannot be offset by a good chorus – there are separate genres for that, and those genres aren’t typically associated with good music. The recruiter must remember the verse, not just the chorus.


The chorus is your experience. These are the segments of each song we mostly remember – the lyrics we sing in the shower and humm in our sleep. When recruiters recall the time they looked at a CV, they explicitly link each candidate to the job title they have or had before. They also recall the amount of experience each candidate has attained. Everything else is complementary. If your experience is not front and foremost in your CV, it becomes increasingly difficult for recruiters to remember you as an ideal candidate for future jobs. While internal information systems exist, no amount of technology will be faster than the instant recall of a previous candidate. There’s no app for that.


This is the unique part of a song – a refresh that fits well into the rest of the song, but still feels sublime on its own. Not every song will have a bridge, nor is it a requirement, but just like a verse, if there’s good reason to include It, it should be there. Your CV will should always have complementary information if its applicable and helpful for the recruiter potential employer. Graphic and digital designers should typically include any portfolio work (or relevant links) as part of their CV. So too should developers include links to any accessible and usable applications and websites they have worked on. Remember, this can be just as memorable as the chorus.


Finally, all good things must come to an end. Your feet eventually stop tapping, you eventually stop singing, and your CV must conclude appropriately too. It’s commonplace to include a summarized list of references if they were not incorporated into the CV before. This is the most popular means to an end, just as a list of references and annexures conclude written papers, proposals and reports. An outro is also a good gesture – and the perfect time for the recruiter to press repeat.