Is there such a thing as a perfect CV? Maybe not, but there are some basic rules and principles that can improve your CV, sell your skills and abilities, get you that first interview and most importantly, a job!
1. What makes you unique
Every job you apply for you will be up against lots of other qualified applicants, so it’s really important to stand out from the crowd. What do you bring professionally that offers a little bit extra? Highlight your achievements, show how you have solved problems, implemented solutions, increased revenues or made a positive impact to a team and/or project. Use positive and empowering words to describe your skills and experience.
2. The So What Factor
Incorporating the ‘so what?’ factor really helps to hone your CV. Often we see ‘hard working, efficient, excellent communicator and reliable’ on a CV but these attributes and skills should be a given. As a recruiter that isn’t offering anything different and often we’ll think ‘so what’, what else have they done?
Highlight your big selling points and make sure you consider the ‘so what?’ factor.
For example you have successfully managed a team…..so what? Highlight your successes ‘I managed a team who won two highly profitable contracts and an award for outstanding service delivery.
3. Tailor your CV to each role
Tailoring your CV for each job you are applying for will greatly improve your chances of being chosen for interview. Match your skills, attributes and experience to the job description and do your research into the company to highlight your suitability.
4. Keep it up to date
It’s common sense but regularly we see CVs which aren’t up to date. Keeping your personal information up to date is crucial. It is very frustrating when details are outdated and will probably lose you that important interview. Also be conscious of your email address firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t create a good impression, keep it professional.
5. Check, check and check again
CVs with errors and mistakes are usually rejected on that basis alone. Your CV must be presented accurately if you want to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail. Check the spelling and grammar and ask someone to proof read the final draft before sending it.
6. Present it well
Keep your CV concise and factual. Employers spend under a minute scanning a CV so it needs to be easy to read, relevant and pertinent to the job in question. Try and keep it to 2 pages and make sure you cover any gaps, explain if you were travelling or volunteering.
- Ask yourself ‘so what?’
- Use positive, enthusiastic language and empowering words such as improved, developed, planned, achieved, presented and contributed
- Keep it concise, factual, up to date & free of errors
- Tailor it to each job
- List your achievements, be proud
- Don’t presume people know what you have done – spell it out!