A CV is the first impression your potential employer, which makes it a very important document if you want to be successful in your job search.
Your potential employer will review each CV received against the job description they have created for the role, those CVs that most closely resemble the job description will be favoured by the employer. A CV can be flexible and you have a chance to adjust it before applying for any role. This gives you a great opportunity to set yourself out from the crowd and grab the employers attention!
Your CV should be:
Components of the CV
CVs are commonly separated into the following section:
Employment History & Experience
Education & Qualifications
Skills & Interests
Layout of your CV
Personal Information and Contact Details
Your name should be in large, clear font to stand out.
Make sure that your address is neatly laid out. Try formatting your address to save space and to not distract from the other elements of your CV.
Include your email address and mobile number, these are the most convenient ways for recruiters and employers to contact you.
This is often the most difficult part of writing your CV. It is important to still pay attention to your personal statement, as it is a chance to sell yourself.
Your personal statement should be clear and concise, you should be straight to the point. Focussing on your particular skills and achievements will help you avoid being vague and will make sure you communicate effectively with the reader. Some skills that all employers look out for are:
You should list your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent work history and moving towards your earliest relevant work history.
Include actions works when writing about your previous work. This will help you advertise the skills that you demonstrated in these previous roles.
Some great actions words are:
Remember that all jobs contain transferrable skills that may be relevant for the role you are now applying for, even if it was in a different industry or sector. For example, a job in a restaurant will involve a lot of customer service skills that will be transferrable to another customer facing role, such as a receptionist.
Please read our blog on transferrable skills and how they can help you widen your job search - Widen your job search with transferrable skills
Education & Qualifications
As with your work experience, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order, with latest qualifications at the top.
Your latest qualifications and educations will be the most relevant for a recruitment consultant or employer. Therefore, you should give more detail for more recent qualifications but summarise older ones.
These should be kept short and not contain any more detail than necessary.
It is important that you proof read your CV for spelling or grammatical errors. This check is definitely worth while as it will demonstrate good attention for detail and that you take pride in the quality of your work. All of this will contribute to creating the best possible first impression of yourself. If in doubt, ask someone you know to read through your CV to check for any errors.
Keep your reader in mind!
Employers tend to only glance at a CV, usually for only a few seconds before making a decision on it. Make sure your CV does enough to grab the attention of the employer and cover the necessary areas without including too much detail. You will have a chance to expand on your CV during your interview. (for tips on how to prepare for your interview, please read our blog - Interviews - Top Tips for Candidates
Make it specific!
Before you send across your CV you will have a chance to read through the job description. Make sure you use this to your advantage and tailor your CV to match to the employer's expectation.
Mind the gaps!
Try not to leave gaps in your work history. This will only raise questions and potentially doubts in an employer's mind.
This is your chance to promote yourself. Make sure you concentrate on your own strengths and don't be scared to let the employer know what they are. To help you know your own strengths you should constantly update your CV with new work experience or qualifications, to ensure that nothing is missed out. If you have your CV uploaded on multiple job boards, as part of your job search, remember to update your CV everywhere you have uploaded it. This will stop recruiters from not putting you forward due to your skills not being up to date.
Always tell the truth
Promoting yourself is important, but don't take it too far. Be honest in your CV. You will only be questioned during your interview.