A CV is probably the most crucial weapon in your job-seeking armoury. It’s often the first document a prospective employer will see and sometimes the only opportunity to impress. In light of this, we’ve put together the following tips to help you create a winning CV:
Make sure you tailor your CV to the role you’re applying to, highlighting examples where your experience and skills are likely to match that job and sector.
Put a personal statement or profile at the top of your CV – many clients won’t consider you if this is missing. A well written personal statement will give your CV direction. You can summarise motivations and ambitions, as well as what you can offer in terms of skills and experience.
You may wish to use visuals to make your CV stand out, such as infographics and animation. This approach works particularly well if your job, for example, involves creating presentations or you are in a creative role. However, please choose your design carefully and don’t overdo it. Some companies use software to upload job applications into their systems, and too many graphics might mean your CV is illegible. Many clients don’t like ‘clever designs’ on CVs and prefer to stick to a format which is much more conservative.
Make sure that any files you use for saving your documents are compatible with other software – you don’t want your CV to distort when opened on other systems. A good tip is to save your CV with a .PDF file extension, which will allow recruitment managers to open your CV on any device.
Choose your words carefully. We all know that a well-written CV is the first step to getting a new job, but the information you decide to include can make or break your application. Quantify your statements. If you don’t, it will just put people off.
Highlight and talk about the most recent and most relevant skills and experiences related to the role you’re seeking. You should also mention any experience you have with specific programs, tools and techniques integral to the everyday job you’ve applied to – it will boost your chances.
Chronology. Make sure you list your experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent experience first.
Include any relevant stats to support your experience and quantify your achievements. If your role is revenue/sales related, for example, then employers will always want to understand what your numbers were.
Use an easy to read layout with clear contact details. If relevant, add any links to blogs or social media profiles (more about this below).
Talk about the industries or brands with which you’ve worked. Employers will often look at specific brands and sectors, looking for similarities, before deciding whom to shortlist.
And finally, don’t forget to check the spelling and grammar. There’s no excuse for mistakes these days with spellcheck so readily available. There’s nothing more disappointing than finding a careless spelling mistake on a CV. If this does happen, it often results in the applicant not being invited for an interview.
The ideal CV should be no longer than two pages of A4. Space is a valuable commodity, and there might not be enough room for you to transcribe all of your achievements. That’s why it’s useful to add a link to your LinkedIn, or any other social profile. Through this resource, recruiters can discover additional information that might help further your case for the role. Your professional online profile should act as an extension to your CV; something that tells employers more about your employment history and successes while providing a little insight into your character. You can enhance your profile by persuading a few people to write endorsements for you.
Remember to update your profile regularly. It’s also worth periodically googling yourself to see what a potential employer might see.
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