03 May Creating a perfect CV
Recruitment teams continuously receive hundreds of CVs to every vacancy role they advertise. Make yours stand out with an immediate impact and positive first impression. Writing a compelling CV can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job hunting process, so we have put together our top tips that should help you to secure that all-important interview for your next big role.
Structure, clarity and readability are essential
Recruiters typically begin by scanning the CVs they have received and placing those that immediately catch their attention to one side for further scrutiny later. The structure of your CV is a significant determining factor as to whether it will make the cut here. Endeavor to select an attractive layout that allows you to organise your information into clear, readable sections and paragraphs.
Keep it concise
Although it might be tempting to include every detail about yourself, it is important to remember that your CV is not a novel to recount your entire life story. Aim for 2-3 sides of A4 paper to highlight the skills, qualifications and professional experiences that are relevant to the role you want to secure. Amend your CV against each job role or specific company profile if this information is made available in the job advert.
A brief synopsis of yourself is a key point to any CV; this is where you can make your first impact count. The purpose of this statement is to give your prospective employer an introduction as to who you are and highlight your main qualities.
Remove all superfluous information
You might have gained certification in a specific software programme during a previous role that is wholly unrelated to the job you are applying for. Although this is undoubtedly an achievement to be proud of, consider emphasizing more relevant professional workplace experience in an area related to the role you are hoping to secure. Always prioritize the inclusion of relevant information over any potentially tangential material. Don’t pad out an otherwise sparse CV with redundant information that simply doesn’t need to be there. However avoid timeline gaps which will clearly raise question marks for the reader.
Be precise and quantify your experience
Using descriptors such as ‘detailed’, ‘in-depth’, ‘good’ and ‘basic’ will help recruiters to build a more accurate picture of your skills and abilities, be prepared to elaborate on these skills during an interview. If possible, provide concrete data points or percentages, to reinforce your achievements or show how you positively affected profit figures. Similarly, if you have just started learning a new skill or a second language, mentioning that you have even just a basic understanding of X or Y could be the key differentiating factor over another applicant. Just make sure you avoid exaggerating the truth because this could land you in some trouble later.
Emphasise your contact details
Don’t make it difficult for a recruiter to find your contact information. Place your address, telephone number and email address at the top of the first page of your CV to ensure high visibility at a glance.
Avoid unnecessary embellishments
Although standing out from the crowd is key, there are many more effective ways to do this than by selecting an unusual font, eccentric colour palette or personal photo. Your CV is a professional document and should demonstrate a high level of professionalism. Orange is not the new black.
Tailor your CV to every individual role
The great thing about CVs is that they can be personalised to reflect the requirements of every role for which you want to apply, so don’t think of yours as a standardised document. In fact, it is in your best interests to make adjustments to ensure that your CV is always hyper-relevant to each job you are pursuing. This demonstrates that you have read the job advert and researched the company you want to join.
Account for all gaps
Any obvious timeline gaps on your CV that are not explained are going to make recruiting managers immediately suspicious. If you have had periods of unemployment, put a positive spin on them by highlighting volunteer work, training courses or other skills you developed during this time. Add weblinks to any charity projects or community work which you may have participated in.
Updating a CV after a long period of time can feel like a mammoth task and often key details may be missed. In order to avoid this, take some time to add details on key projects you have completed, certifications awarded or promotions earned, into your CV when they happen.