Your CV is essentially the tool by which you make your first impression with an employer, as such; you need to make sure it does you justice. At the other end of the spectrum, it is absolutely imperative that you don’t lie about your experience, education or indeed anything else. It is highly probable that any lies will be found out at the interview stage, the reference checking stage or even during the course of your first few weeks on the job. Even if you fall slightly short of the stated preferred relevant experience or qualifications, if you impress in other areas of your CV you may well still get to the interview stage – whilst dishonesty will wreck any chance you may otherwise have had.
2- Be thorough but relevant
In order to have the best chance of impressing with your CV it is important to make sure to detail any relevant experience or qualifications you have under your belt. It is however also pretty vital that you don’t bore the reader to tears. Whilst detailing the duties you regularly performed in your most recent role is a great way to demonstrate transferable skills; a paragraph detailing the finer points of your role as a part time supermarket cashier ten years earlier is more likely to lose you points than gain them and also take up valuable space.
3- Get creative with the layout
The vast majority of CVs make pretty tedious reading and for the most part follow exactly the same format. Although others may not agree, at Blue Octopus we think you should put some effort into making your CV stand out visually. Provided the design and layout don’t inhibit the readability of the text, adding a creative touch will make your CV more memorable. This is particularly relevant if you are applying for a role with creativity at its core.
4- Make it about the real you
Many people make the mistake of purely focussing on the aspects of their past and character traits which bear an obvious relevance to the specific role they are applying for. Although you need not include the minutiae of every part time job you’ve done, you should try and portray the real you as much as possible. More often than not a CV will include a single sentence headed ‘Interests’ which will invariably say something along the lines of ‘I enjoy music, films and socialising with friends.’ Employers are looking for well rounded, active, charismatic people who fit in well with the other members of a team. Aim to write a paragraph about your more personal interests and express your real personality rather than ‘playing it safe’ and appearing dull.
5- Sell yourself as a must-have product
Advertising is all around us and the language and terminology associated with marketing and promotion are rife. Think about a successful marketing campaign which has lead you to buy a product and attempt to define which aspects and words most inspired your purchase. If you have the confidence, try and emulate these factors in reference to yourself within your CV. If you’re applying for a sales or marketing position then this could produce great results and be a talking point at the interview stage.
6- Check for errors
Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and poorly constructed sentences can put a serious dent in otherwise great CVs. These small but potentially devastating errors can and should be easily avoided by proof reading your CV before sending it out to any recruiters.
7- Get a friend or colleague to read through it
As well as proof reading your CV yourself, it’s a good idea to have a friend or colleague read over it. Not only will they be able to point out any potential typing errors, but also highlight any sections which they think could do with being changed, expanded or deleted. This secondary perspective is a very valuable tool.
8- Tailor it for each job application
It takes minimal time and effort to make subtle adjustments to elements of your CV in order to optimise it for a specific role. Read the job description thoroughly and ensure that your CV addresses all of the attributes and areas which are highlighted in it. By simply using the same terminology as is present in the job description you are able to effectively communicate your suitability for the role to the person reading.
9- Make it memorable
All of these factors should help to transform your CV from a drab document into something which sticks in the mind of the reader. Being memorable for all of the right reasons is the ultimate aim when crafting a CV and will massively increase your chances of progressing to the interview stage.
10- Send it on time
This tip is probably the most important of all. Regardless of how well structured, written and presented your CV may be; if you don’t submit it before the application deadline then you will never secure the job you’re applying for. As opposed to delaying the writing or re-working of your CV until you come across a position you’re interested in – get started as soon as possible. Even if you’re content in your current position, it is always useful to have an up to date CV on file in case you come across the opportunity of a lifetime.