When searching for a new job, writing and submitting a CV is crucial to ensuring that you land the position you want. CVs play a vital role in helping you get shortlisted, increasing your chances of being called in for an interview by potential employers. But how do you get your CV to be considered and added to the interview pile instead of being thrown into a bin?
Creating a successful CV is quite easy once you have an idea of how to go about it. It is a case of taking your experience and skills and tailoring them to suit the position you are applying for. However, what do you do when you do not meet the required criteria? Well, you should consider hiring a professional resume writer, or try these tips on how to create a successful CV.
Get the Basics Right
There isn’t a wrong or right way to write up a CV; however, there are a couple of “basic” sections that you should make sure to cover. These sections include education and qualifications; contact and personal information; skills relevant to the position you are applying for; work history and experience; references; and own achievements, interests, and hobbies.
Presentation is Key
For your CV to be successful, it is advisable to ensure that it is clearly and carefully presented, printed on a piece of clean and crisp white paper. Make sure that its layout is well-structured and clean, and that the paper it’s printed on isn’t folded or crumpled. To keep this from happening, always make use of A4 envelopes to post your job applications.
Remember to work around the CV hotspot, which is the first page’s upper middle area. This is where the eyes of most recruiters fall naturally, so do your best to ensure that you include essential personal information around this area.
Do Not Overdo It
Do not use more than two A4 pages. A good CV is concise, clear, and straight to the point – avoid waffling around. CVs serve as a reassurance to potential employers and are a chance to tick all the right boxes. If your CV addresses everything, an employer is looking for, your chances of landing an interview increase. Since employers receive tons of CVs all the time, it is highly unlikely that they read through all of them from cover to cover. Most judge a CV within sections, so consider sticking to a maximum of two A4 pages.
Understand the Job You Are Applying For
Job applications are laden with clues, so make sure that you read all the details of an application before applying. Take notes and highlight, in bullet points, everything that you can satisfy and those that you cannot. For areas that you are lacking, fill in the spaces by adapting the skills that you do have. For instance, if the position you are applying for requires someone with experience in sales, it wouldn’t hurt to highlight any work experience that you have undertaken before. That could include work you did to help pay bills through college. This will help demonstrate your skills and show how they are transferable.
Tailor your CV around the Role
Once you have established what the position you are applying for entails and how well you match the requirements, craft your CV for that role specifically. Please note that there’s nothing like a generic CV. All the CVs that you send to potential employers should be tailored to the roles of the position you are applying for. So, do not be lazy and hope that an all-purpose CV will work because it will not.
Craft unique CVs for every position you apply for. You do not have to rewrite the entire thing, just tweak some of the details to make them relevant to a position.
Make the Most of Your Skills
Under the skills segment of your CV, make sure to mention some of the skills that you believe will help you stand out from the rest. Some of these include computer skills; communication skills; problem-solving; team working; or speaking foreign languages. Personal skills can stem from the most unlikely places, so take the time to think about some of the things that you have done to grow yours. It doesn’t matter where that is, be it you joined a voluntary group or were once a part of a local sports team – it is all relevant.
Make the Most of Your Interests
Under the “interests” section, remember to highlight things that show off some of the skills you have gained and which employers are looking for. Describe any examples of working in a team, positions of responsibility, or any other thing that shows that you have initiative. For instance, if in university, you ran the campus newspaper or started a weekend football league team that became successful, mention such in the section.
Include things that show how interested, skilled, and diverse you are. Do not include passive interests like solitary hobbies or watching TV as they could be interpreted as you being a person who lacks people skills. Make yourself sound interesting.
Make the Most of Your Experience
Use definite and assertive language under the experiences and work history sections, like “organized,” “achieved,” or “developed.” Try to relate the skills that you’ve learned to the position you are applying for. For instance: “The position involved organization, leadership, and planning, as I was responsible for a team of fellow workmates” or “The work experience involved, to a greater extent, working in a team.”
Add references from people who you’ve worked for before and are willing to vouch for your experience and skills. If you have never been employed, it is okay to use a tutor or teacher as a referee. Try and include two if possible.
Keep the CV Updated
It is essential that you review your curriculum vitae regularly and add any new experience or skills that are missing. For instance, if you have just worked on a project recently or done some volunteering work, make sure you add these to your CV. Potential businesses are always impressed by candidates that go the extra mile to boost their experience and skills.