CV Writing: 7 Top Tips
CVs can be your first (and sometimes only) communication with a potential employer. They can also be great way to keep a record of all your employers, qualifications and achievements! A successful CV will demonstrate to a potential employer that you tick all the essential criteria and would make a great candidate for the job. Follow these 7 steps to create a winning CV and bag yourself an interview for your dream job.
Tailor your CV to each role you apply for
When you’ve established what the job entails and where your experience matches each requirement. Now you need to create a CV that demonstrates your suitability for that role. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to each specific role. You don’t have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so that they’re relevant to the person specification of the role you’re applying for. Make sure that you show your potential employer that you have the experience and skills to fulfil the role you’re applying for.
Presentation is key
Most employers will make a judgement about a CV within seconds, so stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper. A successful CV is always presented clearly, and printed on clean white paper. The layout should always be easy to read and well-structured. Use an A4 envelope if you’re posting an application to keep it unfolded. The upper middle area of the first page (the CV hotspot) is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important, and relevant information there.
Make the most of skills
Under the skills section of your CV mention key skills that make you stand out from the crowd. These could include: leadership skills, computer skills, or if you speak a foreign language. In addition, think about what you’ve done to grow your skills, and be prepared to give examples if you’re asked to attend a follow up interview.
Demonstrate your experience
Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections. Here are some buzzwords “developed”, “organised” or “achieved” (but don’t over use them). Try to relate your responsibilities and achievements to the job role you’re applying for. Get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions. And don’t forget to include part-time employment and voluntary roles.
References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you’ve never worked before you’re OK to use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Try to include two if you can. If you’ve just come out of education try to include 1 academic reference and 1 work-related reference.
Nothing is more embarrassing than claiming to pay attention to detail and have great writing skills, when your application is full of spelling mistakes. Check and double check your CV before you submit. I’d recommend looking over your application with fresh eyes (time permitting). You could also ask a friend or family member to try and spot any mistakes.
Update your CV regularly
It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis. Add new skills, experiences and achievements every few months. If you’ve started volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure to include it. Potential employers are always impressed with candidates who take initiative and go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.