Get an understanding on presenting the right CV for your dream job
Ask 100 people how to produce the perfect CV and you will get 100 different answers! Your CV is ‘your’ chance to sell yourself on paper and make a fantastic first impression. Easier than you think with our straightforward guide. Confidence will speak volumes. Believe in your abilities and don’t be afraid to stand out. You deserve this job.
A CV consists of 4 crucial elements, your contact details, your work experience, your skills and your education. Without these you aren’t getting very far. Added elements also include any training, personal profile, awards and hobbies. The key here is to keep your content from getting too “fluffy”.
Keep it short – Content should be succinct, tangible and to the point. Resist the urge to waffle in the hope that at least something will work. Employers shouldn’t have to search for what makes you suitable for the role.
Tailor your CV to the role – Before you start, use the job description to brainstorm the experience and skills that you feel the client will be looking for, selecting keywords to apply to your CV. What kind of candidate will benefit their business? What have you achieved that will appeal to them? What skills do you have that will enable you to do the job better than anyone else? Scour through your existing CV and cut out any unnecessary material. Parts addressed in detail can be discussed during the interview stage, so be ruthless. Don’t waste that precious selling space.
White paper – black text – simple font. Elaborate fonts or a photo are not advisable. Attempting to be extravagant will only serve to distract from the sole purpose.
Keep the formatting consistent throughout. Make sure to use the same font, the same bullet styles, the same paragraph alignment. You’d be surprised how much the look of a CV can affect its reading ability.
Ideally, a CV should not exceed two pages and should be formatted in an organised manner. Following your personal details and profile, content should be placed in whatever order you feel is most relevant to your application. Think about the information an employer needs to see first.
Personal Details – Your name, address, phone number and email address should be placed together at the top of your CV. Make sure these are always up to date.
It is worth noting that email address have a big impact on a first impression – get yourself an email account that simply uses your real name e.g. JoeBloggs@gmail.com or JoeBloggs1987@gmail.com rather than using one which is unprofessional such as ‘JBizzleBloggz@hotmail.com’
Personal Profile – Usually a short paragraph to instantly draw an employer in, revealing aspects of your personality that make you unique. Your personal profile is a chance to tell your potential Employer what it is you want. Are you looking for your next step up in progression? Are you looking for a change in career? Are you wanting to secure a permanent role after working temporary contracts? This cuts down the objections that an Employer might have about seeing you for interview. Though remember do keep it positive, avoid using phrases such as ‘I will only consider permanent work’ or ‘I don’t want a role in this industry any longer’.
Think about your interests and the experiences you’ve had that will support your application and demonstrate your commitment. Don’t simply list your qualities without using examples and experience to back it up. Just be positive about your attributes and filter out anything that isn‘t constructive. Anything beyond three or four sentences could be used in your covering letter.
AVOID buzz words. These words include ‘Passionate’, ‘Hard working’, ‘Determined’, ‘Personable’ – They are used in the majority of CVs and will make sure you do not stand out from the crowd.
Work Experience – Beginning with your most recent experience, list each held position in short concise sentences – make sure to include your start /finish dates, your job title and the company name. Ensure these are descriptive and relevant to the kind of job you are pursuing.
To enable your prospective employer to gather further information, noting down the company’s website next to the employer’s name may be beneficial. Also, briefly explain any gaps in work history – ‘Unemployed but actively searching for work’.
Skills – Specific skills such as IT abilities, typing speeds, training, proficiency in particular programs or fluency in foreign languages. Keep these factual and relevant to your application. If you feel you have a certain level of skill in a particular program include that within your description (i.e. Excel ((intermediate)) ).
Education – A brief rundown of your qualifications: GCSE’s, A-levels, diplomas and degrees. If necessary to your application, go into minor detail of the units covered.
References – List the name and contact details of two or three referees that know you at your best at work. Alternatively, it is perfectly acceptable to state ‘References available on request’.
Proof read and proof read again – Mistakes will give the impression of carelessness and more than likely end up on the reject pile. Don’t waste an opportunity by not doing something that takes so little time. Send out your CV with confidence.
The easiest way to do this is to send it to a friend or a family member to have a quick read through!