In recent years, the role of the traditional CV has undoubtedly evolved. Social media has enabled us to instigate instant connections, and many candidates simply choose to submit a well-written letter as a means to getting their foot on the first rung of the interview ladder.
There are still many positions however, where a formal CV is required. Whilst a CV alone is unlikely to secure you a job, it can serve as your ‘key in the door’ to getting the all-important interview.
Make your CV Bullet Proof
Unfortunately, the age old image of the fat cat boss ‘filing’ unread CVs straight into the bin is, not quite a thing of the past. Whilst the elimination procedure is now handled by a skilled HR department (or, in some cases, a computer programme) it is still a ruthless process. On average, a CV will be scanned for less than 30 seconds, therefore you need to make an impact, and fast!
The following hints and tips will ensure that your CV shouts from the rooftops:
1. Keep it simple
A huge percentage of CVs get ‘filed in the bin’ simply because they are too long, hard work to read, or they are full of basic spelling mistakes. With this in mind, it is essential that you make every word on your CV count.
- Keep it short and relevant, no longer than two sides of A4.
- Make it easy to read, avoid elaborate typefaces and keep it well spaced.
- Stick to the point, use bullet points to help cut out the waffle.
- Spell check, check and check again.
2. Make it relevant
There is no point submitting a CV if you don’t have the qualifications required for the position, no matter how qualified you ‘feel’ you are.
- Write a unique CV, specific to the job you are applying for.
- Find out as much as you can about the company, and use this knowledge to tailor your CV accordingly.
- If you spent a period of time working for a similar company, detail what you achieved there.
- Emphasise any transferable skills you have that may be attractive to your new company.
- Use the same keywords that are used in the advertisement to highlight that you have the relevant skills. This is particularly relevant if the screening is done via computer.
3. Accentuate the positives
Not everyone can boast a full employment history, and many of us have done ‘filler jobs’ at some time or another. Be creative with how you use your past experiences to highlight potentially desirable skills.
- If you have been in regular employment structure it according to your time line.
- If you have gaps in your employment history, structure it according to your skills.
- Look for hidden skills in seemingly mundane tasks. For example, if you worked in a café, don’t focus on mopping floors, highlight instead your customer service expertise, leadership duties and organisation skills.
4. Substantiate your claims
Potential employers will be primarily interested in what you can bring to their company, namely your skills and experience.
- Avoid using cliché’s, instead pinpoint any key skills that make you unique. Anyone can claim to be a ‘team player’, however, demonstrating how a team that you lead secured a lucrative deal will prove that you are.
- Elaborate positive examples of experience in the area, employers don’t have time to read between the lines.
- Don’t forget that the whole purpose of the CV is to showcase your strengths, and set yourself aside from the competition. Now is not the time to be modest!
5. Make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle
- Spell check, check and check again!