When it comes to applying for a new job, your CV could be just the ticket to get you an interview – but how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than being discarded?
Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how. It's a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you're applying for. Here are some tips help you get started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) job.
Before you start compiling your CV, ensure you understand the job for which you are about to apply. Read all the details well, take notes and create bullet points – highlighting everything you can satisfy and the things you can’t. Gather all your skills and experience that speak to that specific job and get writing showing all you have and how they are transferrable to this role.
Get the fundamentals right
There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements; and some references. Use a template for structure and assistance if you can.
Presentation is key
First impressions count. Employers want something easy to read with correct spelling and proper grammar. Make sure you or someone proofread your CV before sending it. Big blocks of text put people off; instead use bullet points and shorter sentences. Potentially, your CV might be read on a mobile device so it needs to be clear and legible. Keep your CV short, clear and concise: stick to no more than two pages of A4 paper.
Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter's eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
Don’t be generic
There is no such thing as a generic CV. When you've established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role. Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don't have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they're relevant.
Making the most of skills; work experience and qualifications
Under the skills section of your CV don't forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out. These could include: communication skills; computer skills; team working; problem solving or even speaking a foreign language. Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you've done to grow your own skills.
Detail your work experience – putting the most current and relevant to the job first. Take the time to highlight the skills and accomplishments of each role. Make sure your current and previous work experience all speak to the job being applied for.
Ensure your qualifications are most up-to-date. Once again place the most current certification and accreditation first – and focus always on relevance to the job for which you are applying.
Most companies will do background checks. Make sure you include at least two credible people as reference. It’s best to use people you’ve reported to. Those who have employed you in the past and can speak to your skills and experience.
Use a template
By following a CV template, you are not restricting the way in which you can express yourself but you will find that your CV becomes easier to read and covers all the most important aspects of your work history.
Keep your CV updated
It's important to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skill or experience. In addition, update to ensure that it meets the requirements of any new job you’re about to apply for. Potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience – include them once they’ve relevant.