So you’ve decided to start job hunting and you’ve seen some great sounding roles available, how do you ensure you are shortlisted for an interview?
You start by making sure you have the best possible CV and that it stands out from the pack – for all the right reasons.
With over 25 years operating in the recruitment industry, we’ve seen some fabulous CVs and some down right awful ones. Here are our Top 10 CV Writing Tips for ensuring your CV is as good as it can be.
Make sure your contact details are correct – recruiters need to be able to get hold of you. You would be amazed at how many CVs have telephone numbers missing a digit or email addresses mis-spelt.
Professional email address:
This is a number one fail on a CV – if you don’t have a professional sounding email address, create one! Hotlips85*, sugarbabe2000*, cooldude01* or manonamission50* really won’t create the right impression with recruiters/your future boss.
Set up a new email account and you’ll not only have a separate account where you’re able to keep all your applications, CV and documentation etc., but you will also be creating the right perception of yourself.
Not everyone chooses to have a ‘Personal Statement’ at the top of their CV, however for those that do this is a great way of explaining what you’re looking for, what your motivations are and where your strengths lie; however, keep it brief – 2-3 lines is ample.
And BEWARE – make sure your Personal Statement is relevant to each and every job you’re applying to. There is nothing more off-putting than receiving a CV for a Personal Assistant role that says you want to be a Dental Receptionist, or that you’re looking for a career in the legal sector and you’ve applied to work in retail. It not only shows that you’re applying to each and every job that you find but also that you haven’t bothered to check and amend your CV before applying.
Skills and Attributes:
This is another way of selling yourself and highlighting the key skills you can bring to the table. Keep it professional though, employers aren’t interested in whether you can ride a uni-cycle or can belly dance; they want to know that you’re organised, proactive, personable, motivated, reliable, flexible, articulate, analytical, even punctual! Avoid ‘perfectionist’ – almost every candidate thinks they are and yet very few ever are.
Bullet point them and keep them honest – don’t list skills that you don’t have or have never had experience of (e.g. Advanced MS Office skills if you’ve only ever used Word).
List your employment history chronologically starting with the most recent. You should include the job title, company name and dates you were employed and then write a brief synopsis of what you did or bullet point the key responsibilities.
Do you have dates you weren’t working? This isn’t a problem if you can explain what you were doing/where you were.
Unexplained absences will look suspicious – detail where you were/what you were doing (e.g. travelling, looking after a sick relative or made redundant); as long as gaps are explained there shouldn’t be any issues.
Always add your education to your CV. If you’re a recent graduate and your degree is relevant to your applications, then you may want your education on the front page before your work history. If you have been working for several years and that is more relevant than your education, you will want to put your education after your employment history.
If you’re trying to impress an employer, it could be easy to think that a little white lie wouldn’t harm, but don’t be tempted. Have you seen The Apprentice? Mistruths on your CV can easily be found out and once an employer thinks you’re prepared to extend the truth they will struggle to trust you.
Check, check and check again:
Finally – know your CV inside out!
Loosely translated from Latin ‘Curriculum Vitae’ means ‘the course of my life’, so your CV is your life written down on paper. Therefore you should definitely know every last bit of it – if anything on your CV throws you off guard in an interview, or you don’t know the dates you did something, it will ring alarm bells with the interviewer.
If you take on board these top 10 CV writing tips and format your CV so it’s well laid out and easy to read, you should get a positive response to your applications.
If you’re successful at gaining an interview then look out for our next blog on how to make a positive first impression on interview.
*These are fictional emails and are in no way intended to be linked to known or existing email addresses. Any relation to real life individuals/email addresses is purely coincidental.