When it comes to applying for a job, recruiters and hiring managers look at tens if not hundreds of CVs in a day, so it’s important to give them the information they want in the format that helps them to see exactly what makes you stand out.
Firstly, it’s important for them to be able to contact you to offer you that interview! Give them as many ways to contact you as possible; email, phone and address are all preferable. Oh and don’t forget your name!
This gives them an introduction to you as a person. What is your personality type? What are your strengths and weaknesses and what makes you perfect for the role you’re applying for? This section should always be tailored to each job; it may be time consuming but it goes a long way to showing recruiters you are serious about the role.
Skills and achievements
Here’s where you’ll talk about the key skills that you possess that make you a great fit for the role. Refer to the job specification throughout this, and ensure that the way you word your skills and the ones you include all relate back to what the employer is asking for; this very clearly shows the recruiter what you can bring to the role. You may also have achievements in your career that relate to the role you’re applying for; for example, did you receive a promotion or award for your hard work in a related job, or do you regularly hit targets that relate to this role? You should talk about these here too!
This section shouldn’t list every job you’ve had since school (we don’t need to know you worked in your local shop at the weekend at 16) – it’s about relevant work experience that you feel has set you up for this next challenge. Relate all the previous work experiences back to the role you’re applying for; showing where you’ve gained transferable skills or relatable experience that will enable you to do a great job in this new role.
Again, like with experience it isn’t necessary to list every single qualification you’ve ever completed. Just select the ones that are most relevant to the role you’re applying for and pick out the key skills and knowledge that you gained from these qualifications that will benefit you in the new role. If there are certain qualifications listed in the job specification as required or desired, be sure to make a big deal out of these on your CV as the employer obviously regards them highly.
How to present your CV
It’s important that you not only get the right information down, but you also present it in a way that is easily digestible and clearly demonstrates your worth to the recruiter. That’s what could make you stand out from the crowd.
Stick to two pages or less
Long CVs are not a favourite with recruiters, and to be honest it’s likely that if you go over two sides of A4 then you have included information that isn’t necessarily relevant. Be strict with yourself and review everything you’re including to be sure it adds value. Two pages is a maximum, it is not an aim. If you can get your CV onto less than this, then great!
Explain any work history gaps
If you’ve had breaks in your career, then it’s important to be honest about why they occurred. Whether it was time out to raise a family, to travel, to re-educate yourself and pursue a new career or even redundancy, the recruiter will understand every reason, you just have to be honest about it.
Spelling and grammar
Be sure to triple check your spelling and grammar on your CV, because one mistake could cost you that interview. There are a number of free tools out there now that check your spelling and grammar for you, both online and offline, so there is just no excuse! It’s also good to get a friend or family member to sense check your CV to ensure everything makes sense and is worded the best possible way to get your message across.
Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for
While it can be tempting to fire off the same document for all the jobs you’re applying for to save time, that extra effort to tailor your CV will go a long way to getting you noticed. Recruiters appreciate a tailored CV as it shows you’re serious about the job and makes it easier for them to see connection between your skills and experience, and the job you’re applying for. Don’t cut corners on this; make the effort and you will be rewarded with interviews!