Sometimes writing a CV is the hardest part of looking for a job; creating a document that reflects you and your abilities in all their glory is a very hard task to get right. A lot of people can feel foxed at the first hurdle of job seeking and although designing your CV can be quite a daunting task, it is an essential tool that will help you progress in your career.
You need to see your CV as your ‘pre-interview interview’, the only thing is that you’re not present and you only have 30 seconds to impress an employer! It is imperative that you engage your potential employer with a document that shows you in the best possible light without dragging on.
Below is a list of tips to assist you in structuring the best possible Curriculum Vitae:
1. Master the basics
A lot of people are too busy thinking about the content of their CV that they forget the basics such as personal information, work history, experience and relevant skills. Don’t forget, they are also going to want to know about your interests, achievements and hobbies.
2. Keep it up to date
Your potential employer isn’t going to be impressed if you have just sent a CV that hasn’t been updated since 1999, so make sure that all your details are up to date. Don’t just send an old version that you haven’t read in years.
3. Show off your skills
The point of a CV is to grab attention by showcasing your skills, so if you’re a creative person present your CV like a piece of your work. Also don’t be afraid of choosing a different kind of media to present your CV.
4. Be personal
Don’t forget that the company is going to want to know a bit about you, so don’t forget to add some personality to your personal statement. You can also direct them to your LinkedIn account for a further look into your work life.
5. Be truthful
As a recruiter, we know that if someone has lied on their CV it isn’t going to end well. Some of our clients now request that the candidates undergo a range of checks such as employment reference, character reference and qualification checks, and these are designed to ensure that the candidate they’re hiring has the credentials, qualifications and employment history they say they have. So you are going to look a bit silly if you are not telling the truth!
6. Presentation is vital
It is very important that your CV doesn’t only sound good but it also looks good, take a little bit of time to make sure that its eye catching.
7. Say what they want to hear
If an employer has a checklist of criteria that needs to be met for a role and you have those skills, make sure that you mention in plain English (no jargon) that you do have all of those skills.
8. Do not leave gaps
A recruiter sees gaps in CVs as inconsistencies so if your CV has gaps make sure you explain them. Even if you didn’t go backpacking for three years it’s better to mention it then leave it as a big gap.
9. Customise it for the role
If you are applying for a range of roles it will be beneficial for you to re-jig your CV to highlight key experiences that would be relevant for that particular application.
10. Check your references
It’s always important to choose your references wisely; make sure that they are relevant for the job and that the person is still willing to provide a reference. Once you have chosen them, inform them that they might be contacted for courtesy and it will probably help improve your reference.
11. Leave them wanting more…
Remember that a CV is a sales tool, it’s not designed to drag on… You want them to contact you after reading it so leave them wanting more. Your CV should never be more than two sides of A4.
For some final thoughts to consider, we have asked our experts in the office to highlight some of their pet hates when viewing CVs:
Steph’s dislike – Profile pictures
Profile pictures are something that you have to be 100 precent on. They’re usually not necessary in a CV. A prospective employer might not want to see them so save the profile pictures for Facebook.
Kelly’s dislike – Bad layouts
A CV is the first insight into the candidate and first impressions count. A messy CV indicates a disorganised person who doesn’t want to make a good impression.
Kelsie’s dislike – Random images
Ensure you keep the content of your CV relevant to the vacancy you are applying for. Random pictures of irrelevant things are a no no… They are only distracting for the recruiter.