Your CV is an opportunity for you to sell yourself to potential employers. It can make the difference between you getting that interview for your dream job or missing out to other candidates whose CV’s really stood out above the rest. Getting it right is so important so here’s a few tips to help you create that perfect CV and highlight to employers why you’re the best person for the job!
Do your research and tailor your CV for every job application
When writing your CV, hit the job boards and research the types of roles you will be targeting to get a feel for the core skills and experience employers are looking for. You can use this to make sure your CV highlights the highly sought-after skills.
Your basic CV will be tailored towards the general type of roles you are applying for, but you can go one step further and tweak your CV each time you apply for a different job to give your application an extra boost.
Each time you apply, compare your CV against the advert and make sure it highlights the most important skills and experience they are looking for. Tweak your profile section, reorder your core skills and go through your employment history to see if any crucial skills/experience need a bit more emphasis.
Start with a profile that really makes an impact
A profile section at the top of your CV is a great way to grab the readers attention. It is the first thing a recruiter or potential recruiter will see so make sure it makes an impact and they read on! Avoid clichés and bland, generic language and keep it brief, a paragraph or two is plenty. Just be sure to summarise your most valuable skills, experience and ultimately highlight the benefits of employing you.
Follow your profile with a bullet point list of about 10 core skills to give the reader a quick overview of what you have to offer. Core skills could include industry experience, training and qualifications, IT skills or any other skills, behaviours or abilities you feel are relevant that will make your CV really stand out.
Employment History, Qualifications and Training
When writing these sections, always start with the most recent first and list in reverse chronological order. For each job it is useful to start with a brief overview of your role, a summary of your key achievements and then a bullet point list of core duties and responsibilities. Avoid big chunky paragraphs to keep the reader’s attention and leave out the trivial details, keep it concise!
Qualifications and Training don’t need too much detail. The name of the school/college/university, course, grade and dates is enough. A short bullet point list of relevant modules / content can be included but only if it will add value and highlight any specific skills employers are seeking.
Explain any gaps in your CV
Unexplained gaps will always be of interest to potential employers and can cause suspicions. A simple explanation can put minds at rest and depending on the reason could even work to your advantage. If the career break was down to personal development, volunteering, travelling etc, this could demonstrate alternative skills and behaviours that could be equally important! Whatever you do though, never try to cover up gaps by extending other roles as reference checks may get the better of you!
Try to keep your CV within 2 pages if you can (3 pages max) or you run this risk of readers getting bored and losing interest. If you struggle remember that potential employers are generally more interested in your most recent employment, so try shortening your older roles first.
Only include relevant personal information and contact details. Age, date of birth and marital status are not necessary and avoid including a headshot as they can look a bit cheesy.
Proof read the CV to ensure it makes sense and there are no typos or grammatical errors, you will instantly lose credibility if your CV is full of errors, especially if attention to detail is one of your core skills!
There is so much guidance online to help you write your CV, so do your research and take onboard these top tips and you should be well on your way to creating the perfect CV. Just remember your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself to potential employers so put the work in now and that dream job could be just around the corner!