Your CV is the ticket to get you that initial foot in the door and secure an interview – but how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than the reject pile?
To write a good 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:
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 or hobbies; and some references.
A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented. The layout should always be clean and well-structured in an ideal world should be no longer than 3or 4 pages. Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the employer’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
Ignore the myth that a CV should be no more than 2 pages long. A good CV is clear, concise and makes every point necessary and as long as it’s no more than 3 or 4 pages then that is still short enough. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer; it’s a chance to tick the right boxes. And if everything is satisfied, there’s a better chance of a job interview. Also, employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. You must grab the employers attention within the first page or you will lose them.
When you’ve established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employer should be tailored to that role, so don’t be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it won’t.
Under the skills section of your CV don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. More importantly, provide brief examples of them. These could include: communication 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, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group – it’s all relevant.
Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”. Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”.
Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions, even if it was just working in a restaurant – every little helps.
It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. For example, if you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they’re on there – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.