Writing a good CV can be one of the most challenging aspects of looking for a job. Recruiters receive dozens, even hundreds of CVs. You want your CV to end up at the top of the pile not the bottom. Most employers spend a matter of seconds scanning through a candidates CV before tossing it in the “Yes” or “No” pile. That’s the reality of it, as harsh as it sounds. However there is no need to worry, we have compiled a list of 9 tips in order to help your CV stand out from all other candidates.
1. Be Concise
The employer will spend about 8 seconds on average scanning through a CV. A guaranteed way to ensure that your CV ends up on the “No” pile is for you to send an employer your life story. Your CV is not a novel, it should be clear, to the point, short and sweet. In an ideal world your CV should not exceed two A4 pages. Highlight a few elements of your professional career, the roles you plays, the tasks you carried out, the skills you attained and perhaps mention a your education history.
2. Tailor Accordingly
Don’t worry we’ve all done it at some stage, mass printed out CVs and handed the same CV everywhere we could in desperate need to find some work. It’s not advised though, consider tailoring your CV for the position that you are applying for. Check out the job specification and highlight your skills accordingly. Take the time to change the CV for each role that you are applying for, this will differentiate your CV from all the mass produced CVs and the employer will appreciate you making the extra effort.
3. Keep it Up to Date
Many people tend to forget about their CV once they have got a job. It’s so important to keep your CV relevant and up to date whether you are looking for a job or not. Every milestone that occurs throughout your career should be noted before you have forgotten about it. You never know what could be of importance in the future.
4. Remove Unnecessary Information
Avoid putting “Curriculum Vitae” at the top of the page. Likewise, do not put “name” in front of your name or “Address” in front of your address. If your CV is of a good standard and well presented then there will be no room for uncertainty.
5. Proof Read for Errors
Employers do look for mistakes on your CV. Nowadays employers are just getting inundated with CVs so a lot of them are have introduced a screening process where if there is a mistake on your CV then it just ends up in the bin. In many cases this is done electronically so some employers may not even physically see the CV as it may have been electronically discarded. With employers experiencing massive volumes of applicants, giving them the excuse to dismiss your application because of avoidable errors is not going to do you and favours when it comes to trying a secure an interview.
6. Tell the truth
It might be tempting to tell a little white lie on your CV in order to sound a little more impressive. Blatant lies on your CV can get a candidate in big trouble. Employers want to know who they are hiring. They will use their resources to their advantage and carry out background checks and in many cases will reach out to your listed references which may include previous employers. The last thing you want is to get offered a position in a job and then get fired for something as foolish as lying on your CV. Also try and remember that after you have applied for a job, generally the next step is a face to face interview. It’s quite embarrassing when you’re sitting there in an interview trying to make the best impression possible and the employer asks you a question and you can’t answer it because you’ve lied on your CV. Just a little bit of an awkward moment.
Make yourself accessible for the employer. You don’t want your contact information hidden in the second last paragraph, eight lines from the bottom of the page. Insert your contact details on the front page, on the top corner. Make life as easy as possible for the person looking at your CV. Consider stating your age on your CV rather than inserting your date of birth. Little things like this make life a lot easier for the employer which will benefit you in the long run.
8. Relevant Training Only
Of course you must mention your basic education and your specialisations relevant to the job, but make it brief and concise. If you have a degree, the employer will not be interested in the grades you attained while you were in secondary school. Include relevant training that you carried out throughout your career. Such as any courses you have taken, any up-skilling that you have completed. If the information is relevant to the job in question then mention it.
9. Presentation Goes a Long Way
We live in a world where image is everything. It’s sounds harsh but it’s just human nature. As humans we judge with our eyes. Take a little time to make your CV more presentable. Use short sentences, keep your message concise, if you are listing something don’t be afraid to use bullet points. It just makes it much neater. Use the graphic design technique of leaving some white space around the text and between categories to make the layout easy on the eye. Be careful not to over do it. Remember your CV is a professional document. Even though you are trying to make it presentable, this is not the time to get in touch with you artistic side. Refrain from using eccentric font or colours. It’s not necessary.
Photo: The Balance Careers