A strong CV is an essential part of any job search and can be critical to getting to the interview stage.
First impressions count, so the way you market your skills, experience and qualifications to a prospective employer is very important.
Although we dedicate hours to writing and updating our CVs, the average attention span of a recruiter is just seven seconds . With this in mind, we’ve pulled together ten top tips on how to write the perfect CV and capture the attention of the hirer.
Keep it brief
Be concise and only include relevant work experience. If you are shortlisted to an interview stage, you’ll have the opportunity to elaborate on your achievements. As a rule of thumb, stick to a two-page limit in a font size between 10 and 12.
You won’t be putting your best foot forward if your CV is full of mistakes. Before sharing your CV with an employer or recruiter print it out and read it on paper. You might be surprised with small errors that you didn’t spot before.
Also, use this opportunity to seek a second opinion by asking someone that you trust to check your CV and give you honest feedback.
Use a template
Download a CV template to avoid fiddling with a layout for hours on end. This is also a great way to check that you’re including all the information that you need from personal details to references.
Choose wisely by browsing templates on a professional website such as Reed or Monster. Remember, a CV template is a guide, so make sure it’s still individual to you.
Each time you apply for a job, set aside some time to tailor your CV to suit the requirements of the specific role. Create a ‘master CV’ to make this task easier, and update it accordingly depending on the role or company you’re applying for.
Avoid overused expressions
Rather than describing yourself as ‘ambitious’ and a ‘team player,’ prove it through your experience.
Examples can include – if you plan to continue studying while working, belong to a society, or are learning a language. These are all much stronger examples to communicate your personal strengths than unsubstantiated adjectives.
Companies want to know more about you, and how you can enhance the existing team so include interesting hobbies. Team sports, volunteering or a side-hustle are all good examples.
Consider a video CV
A CV isn’t limited to a word document. If you’re working in the creative industry, consider sending a clip of yourself explaining who you are.
You’ll probably need to submit a written CV too, but if you can demonstrate your creativity this is a good way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Don’t try and pull the wool over people’s eyes. If it took you four years to complete your degree rather than three, or if you had a short tenure in a role that didn’t work out, it’s best to be transparent. You don’t want to betray trust by not being completely honest.
Include your LinkedIn profile
This is a good way to show recruiters and prospective employers that you’re connected with other professionals and up to date with topics that people in your field are speaking about.
If your LinkedIn is lacking in information make sure it has as much as possible about you and your career history too.
Also, take the time to start tidying up your other social media platforms. Unfortunately, prospective employers looking at your social media is not uncommon.
With the public nature of social media be sure that anything you post online, through Instagram, Facebook or any other platform, wouldn’t put off a potential employer.
Include key words
If you’ve uploaded your CV to a job site, key words are very important. For instance, a marketing candidate might mention search engine optimisation and digital marketing.
If you’re unsure of what to include for your industry, have a quick search online and see what words are commonly used when you input your prospective job title.
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