Creating an effective CV
Getting your CV right before sending it to prospective employers is more important than you think. A prospective employer will make a decision on the suitability of your skills and experience within about 20 seconds of viewing your CV, so you need to make sure you capture their attention from the outset.
By following the points below, you should be able to pull together a good quality CV that potential employers will take the time to read.
What to include?
There are a number of things every CV should include to ensure it is as effective as possible;
- Personal and contact information – name, address, telephone number, email address
- Education & qualifications – make sure any trade certificates are included and highlight those relevant to the position applied for
- Work history and experience – start with the most recent first and bullet point key roles and responsibilities
- Relevant skills – make sure you highlight any particular skills relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Interests/hobbies/achievements – don’t tell them you like ‘going out with your friends’ but feel free to include things such as reading, cycling, keeping fit etc
- References – it is often preferred to leave this out until you are at job offer stage, if this is the case you can simply write “References Available on Request”
Top 10 Tips to a good CV
Keep it short and sweet
A good CV should be no longer than 2 pages of A4. A long drawn out CV will only annoy the reader. Remember the purpose of a CV is to highlight your suitability for a particular job. If you make it short and snappy, the recruiter will hopefully contact you to dig deeper.
Tailor it to prospective employers
Sending the same CV out to every position is not effective as no two jobs will be looking for the exact same skills and experience. Take the time to read the job advertisement/description and amend your CV to highlight the skills and experience you hold that are relevant to the job in question.
Include a personal statement
It is not always obvious from a list of qualifications and work experience why you are the best person for the job. Therefore, ensure you include a short synopsis of why you are the perfect candidate (again this must be linked to the job description).
Don’t leave any gaps
There may have been a time when you were unemployed for one reason or another and the worry is that it can put prospective employers off. In truth, gaps in employment with no explanation is more concerning than being honest and saying ‘seeking employment/travelling/caring for a relative’ etc.
Keep it current
Make sure you take time to update your CV before sending it out to the next prospective employer. Even if you are currently in employment but looking for a new challenge, make sure you include your current employment details. A prospective employer can not contact your current employer without your permission so you don’t need to worry about upsetting your current Manager/Company.
Tell the truth
This might sound obvious to most but it is quite often the case that people expand the truth on their CV. Please don’t do this! If a prospective employer starts to question you on your CV and you have elaborated a bit too much, you might find yourself in a sticky situation and your CV filed in the bin!
If you have achieved something in previous employment that you are proud of, try wherever possible to back this up with statistics i.e. “I assisted in increasing monthly sales by 70%” sounds much more impressive than “I helped increase sales”
Image is everything, make it look good!
Use bullet points for listing roles and responsibilities, kept sentences short and make it easy on the eye. Two pages full of continuous text is not appealing. Make sure content is spread out as much as possible and the layout is simple but effective.
If you are using a job site to advertise your CV, make sure you use keywords that will help prospective employers find you!
DONT MAKE MISTAKES!
Spelling or grammatical errors and discrepancies in employment dates are all reasons for a prospective employer to disregard your CV. Remember, they could be looking through 100’s of CV’s for one job so you need to give them as much reason as possible to keep your CV on the ‘yes’ pile. Make sure you use spellcheck, get someone else to check it through for you and then check it again yourself before you send it. CHECK, CHECK AND CHECK AGAIN!