1.Keep it real!
Usually a CV should be no more than two pages – and that’s two pages of A4 paper! Employers spend, on average, just 8 seconds looking at any one CV, and a surefire way of landing yourself in the “no” pile is to send them your entire life story. Keep it punchy, to the point, and save those niggly little details for the interview.
2. Tailor it
We’ve all done it. Pinged the same CV out to lots of employers to save time… STOP!! Take the time to change your CV for each role you apply for. Research the Company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. They will appreciate the obvious effort.
3. Include a personal statement
Don’t just assume an employer will see how your experience relates to their vacancy. Instead, use a short personal statement to explain why you are the best person for the job. This should be reflected in your cover letter as well (see our tips on how to write the perfect covering letter).
4. Don’t leave gaps
We are a cynical bunch and leaving obvious gaps on your CV immediately makes employers suspicious – and they won’t give you the benefit of doubt. If you have bee out of work it can be a worry, but just put a positive spin on it. Did you do a course? Did you do volunteer work or develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork or project management? If so, shout about it!
5. Keep it current
You should keep your CV up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so don’t later forget something that could be important.
6. The error of your ways
Employers DO look for mistakes on CV’s and if they find them, it makes you look really bad. Barry Tierney, UK Operations Manager and Head of Resourcing & Compliance here at Virtue Recruitment Services, warns “With most employers experiencing massive volumes of applicants right now, giving them the excuse to dismiss your application because of avoidable errors is not going to help you secure an interview”. If you are unsure, then use a spell checker and always ask someone else to proof read what you have written.
7. Tell the truth
Everyone lies on their CV, right? NO! STOP! Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. You may also get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can’t answer questions on what you claim to know. And that can be VERY awkward!
8. The maths
This may sound dull but backing up your achievements with numbers makes selling yourself so much easier. When writing your work history, don’t just say you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six month period for example. Get it? Big numbers are especially good (although remember point 7 – TELL THE TRUTH!).
9. Make it look good
We live in a world where image is everything, and that goes for your CV. Takes some time to pretty it up… Use bullet points and keep sentences short. Use the graphic design trick of leaving plenty of white space around the text and between categories to make the layout easy on the eye.
10. Make it keyword friendly
If you have uploaded your finished CV to a job site so recruiters can find you, keywords are very important. Job titles and job buzzwords will help a search engine pick out your CV from the pile. Confused? Don’t be. A marketing candidate might mention SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and Digital marketing amongst their experience and skills for example. If you are unsure, have a search your self on-line and see what words are commonly mentioned when you input your job title.