Now more than ever it’s important you have a CV that gets you noticed and secures your move to the next stage in the recruitment process – the interview! Research suggests that the majority of people looking for their next career move are not confident about writing and submitting their CV for a new job. With that in mind here are our top tips to help you review and rewrite to make sure your CV showcases your skills and experience in a clear and simple way!
The first thing to check is the basics. Your CV should include:
· Up to date contact information
· A personal statement or profile
· Work experience – including relevant skills and achievements
· Education & Qualifications
Some of the information we see included on a CV that we would recommend NOT including would be a photograph of yourself, your date of birth, your marital status or referee details.
CV Design, Font and Colour
Your CV needs to be easy to read and so a clean, simple style is best. Don’t be tempted to use fancy fonts. Calibri, Tahoma or Arial are our top 3 and make sure font size isn’t too small, remember the easy to read bit! Unless you are applying for a creative role where your design flair needs to be showcased on your CV don’t add colour or logos. Stick to black and create your CV in MS Word to ensure it looks good when being viewed on all types of software.
A good CV should grab the attention of the first person who reads it, even if that isn’t the hiring manager. Remember that the HR Department or a recruiter may be shortlisting CVs to pass on for review, so ensuring your personal profile gives all the right information and reflects the skills and experience you have to be able to do the job is key. Try and use language and words that reflect the job description or job advert and take out any ‘jargon’.
Usually, 2 sides of A4 is long enough and if you review the information each time you apply for a job to ensure it’s only the relevant experience and skills that you are showcasing your CV may be even shorter.
Getting CV Content Right
Your profile or personal statement is your first chance to show the reader why you are the best candidate for the job so it’s important to get this part right. Briefly explain your work experience and skills and the type of role you are looking for (here’s where you need to adapt and change things depending on the job you are looking for. If you say you are looking for an admin job but applying for a telesales position your CV won’t go any further) and the value you could bring to the business.
Your work experience should include the company your worked for, your job title and the dates you worked there by month and year. As you go further back, to early work history, years alone can be sufficient but if you do that for most recent jobs it can seem as if you are hiding the actual length of your time working for a company. Which brings us on to accounting for gaps in your work history.
Explaining gaps in employment history is a must as not explaining them or trying to cover them up will lead hiring managers to fear the worst. Be honest and explain. If you were made redundant in the past it is fine to say that and to explain that during the time before starting your new job you did some travelling, re trained or were simply searching for a new role.
Give a brief summary of each role and outline responsibilities that match the duties listed on the new job; leaving out those that are irrelevant.
Some CVs require a different approach and more focus on skills and achievements and so for these types of CVs you need to really think in broad terms about the skills you have, giving more detailed examples of your achievements.
Education Section of Your CV
The education section on a CV is always one where we see a variety of approaches. It really depends at what stage you are at in your career as to the information a potential employer will want to know.
A school leaver for example needs to list the subjects they have studied and grades for each subject, whilst later on in your career, school based qualifications are less important and employers will be looking for recent training, or courses that show you are up to date with industry changes and technology.
Would I Lie To You?
We mentioned being honest earlier and your CV should reflect your true skills and experience. These day employers check out potential new employees online, via their social media and with more formal background checks so if you have lied on your CV you will usually be found out at some point.
And if you have been truthful and know you would be perfect for the job but don’t get shortlisted then why not get in touch with the hiring manager to ask why you didn’t fit the bill? It may actually make you stand out from the crowd after all and if you do get constructive feedback you can keep that in mind when submitting your CV for the next job!