When searching for a job, our CV is generally what most of us consider our most important tool. It is the first impression most potential employers will have of us, and can quite dauntingly be what makes or breaks our job search!
It is, therefore, crucial to acknowledge ways in which you can get your CV to the top of the pile and stand out from other applicants in a heavily competitive process. Here are our top tips to ensure CV success, to help you get your job search off to a great start:
Keep it simple and concise
Your CV is usually the employers first look into your experience, achievements and traits for the role, therefore keeping it informative yet to the point is essential. If you're CV is longer than 2 A4 pages, it is likely that it holds too much information and welcomes a higher chance of a recruiter or employer not reading it. Avoid the use of lengthy paragraphs and whittle down your key points that are most relatable to the role you are applying for.
Remember to position the most important information on the first page to grasp the reader's attention from the get-go. You should also avoid cliches and buzzwords - as you know, employers read many CV's when recruiting and if the same words keep cropping up, your CV can look too general and not tailored for the specific role.
Format into a clear and professional manner
One of the most important areas within a CV is your contact details. Be sure to include a professional email address which you check most regularly, and your up to date mobile number so that you don't miss any crucial phonecalls from your potential employer. You may also want to detail your LinkedIn URL as this allows the employer to learn more about your experience, certifications and professional profile.
Font style and size should always be consistent throughout your CV, although remember to make sure your headings are noticeable and that there is a logical order to your resume. To save space and eliminate the use of lengthy paragraphs, try to implement bullet points or utilise 2 columns on each page. This will make it much easier for your potential employer to grasp your key expertise and achievements and quickly and easily.
Tailor and use keywords appropriately
It is important to tailor your general CV for each job you apply for, to ensure you are highlighting your key skills that match your desired role. Employers will be able to identify the keywords they are looking for in your CV, which could give you a better chance of being a contender. They will also appreciate this effort and know you are serious about the job!
Another crucial aspect to consider when applying to roles is to ensure your current CV is the most up to date and details all of your achievements and experience up until the date of applying. This is to make sure you don't have any gaps and shows the employer you have considered changes to your CV instead of uploading a previous version for quickness.
Examples and understanding
It's easy to get into the habit of listing your many responsibilities from previous roles, but it's essential to provide examples of certain achievements you gained during these roles. This lets your potential employer see how well you performed in the role and that you have the ability to make a difference to their company.
You may have taken some time out of work to study, go travelling or even take some personal time. Employers will appreciate an explanation of this gap between roles as not disclosing this may look suspicious. Don't worry if you have taken some time out, if anything, employers will admire those who have committed to some extra studies, worked on personal development or even travelled.
Obtaining a sound understanding of your new employer is extremely important to get you to the next stage of the recruitment process. Create an engaging and confident cover letter, tailored to each role you are applying for, ensuring you have done your research about the organisation. This is where you really sell yourself to the position and show your potential new employer that you are the perfect fit for the job.
Spell and grammar check
It may be ruthless, however an employer can be put off within a heartbeat if they notice spelling and grammar mistakes, so it's crucial to make this a key step in your CV writing process. Re-read your CV the next day to double-check or ask a friend or family member to read it for you, as a second pair of eyes may pick up silly errors that could make all the difference to your chances of securing your next role.
Your CV is the starting point for what could be the path to your dream career. Don’t rush it, as it’s undoubtedly worth putting in some time and effort and getting it completely right.
For help with your CV and job search, contact us at Stafffinders, and one of our expert consultants will provide you with a helping hand.