Writing a good CV can be a really daunting task for any job seeker. Most employers scan through CV’s taking a few seconds to decide if you’ve made the cut into the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ pile. Harsh! But never fear! After gaining years of experience in the recruitment industry we’ve compiled our Top 10 tips on how to show the world ‘the best possible you’ and get that all-important interview.
1. Short and sweet
Usually a CV should be no more than two pages – and that’s two pages of A4 paper! Employers spend, an average, just 8 seconds looking at any one CV, Keep it brief, to the point, and save the details for the interview
2. Tailor made
One size fits all does not work with CV’s. Each job is different; so take the time to change your CV for each role that you apply for. Research the company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills match their job description. They will appreciate the obvious effort.
3. Let’s get personal
Tell them directly why you would be a good fit. Use a short personal statement to open your CV to highlight, why you are the best person for the job. This should be reflected in your cover letter to match your skills and experience to the job description.
4. Mind the gap
Gaps are never going to look good so don’t leave them, as this can make employers suspicious. If you’ve been out of work it can be a worry but just put a positive spin on it. Did you do a course, volunteer work or develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork or project management? If so, shout about it!
You should keep your CV up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don’t later forget something that could be important.
6. AVOID errors
Employers DO look for mistakes on CV’s and if they find them, it makes you look really bad and often you never make the YES pile. Use spell check, read and then get someone else to read it. A small mistake can make you look sloppy and no one wants to employ sloppy.
7. Be truthful
Everyone tells a few porkies, right? NO! Stop! Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying about your experience or previous roles. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can’t answer questions on what you claim to know and how awkward would that make you feel!
8. Make it credible
This may sound dull but by backing up your achievements with numbers it makes selling yourself much easier. When writing your work history, don’t just say that you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six-month period. Get it? Big numbers are especially good, but always tell the truth!
9. Looking good
We live in a world where image is everything, and that also goes for your CV. Take some time to make it look good. Think about the layout, font, style, use bullet points and tailor it to the industry you are in. Graphic designers could show off their skill but doing this for an accountancy role will not work at all. Use the graphic design trick of leaving plenty of white space around text and between categories to make the layout easy on the eye.
If you’ve uploaded your CV to a job site so recruiters can find you, keywords are very important. Job titles and job buzzwords will help a search engine pick out your CV from the pile. Confused? Don’t be. A marketing candidate might mention SEO (Search Engine Optimization), direct marketing and digital marketing among their experience and skills, for example… If you’re not sure, have a search online and see what words are commonly mentioned when you input your job title.
Good luck with your job search and if you need further help, check out some of our resources to help with your CV and interview techniques.