Today’s job market is highly competitive.
What can you use to stand out from other job seekers? Your CV!
Your CV is the most important document you can have; it is your sales tool charting your employment history, experience and qualifications and it is crucial you get it right.
Together with a good reference, it will help open doors for you and ideally win you the interview that will set you on the way to your dream job!
Creating an impression – Presentation
The look and feel of your CV is important. Keep it simple - go for plain white or cream A4 paper, that is good quality (100 gsm weight).
Choose a clear typeface and don’t be tempted to go for anything other than black ink.
Avoid spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, alterations or changes at all costs. Never cross out a mistake - always print out a clean copy.
The way you present your CV is a reflection of how you present yourself. Prospective employers will be put off by poor presentation and incorrect spellings and typos.
What makes a good CV?
Quite simply it is one that gets you an interview for the job you want. Your aim is to look like you can do the job.
You need to know what to put in it, what to leave out and how to highlight your skills, experience and education to the best advantage.
Imagine for a second you are an employer who has 150 CVs on your desk from which you have to choose just a handful for interview. What are you looking for? How do you decide? Can the employer see the key points at a glance or do they have to search for the relevant information? Is the document free of qualifying words such as fairly, usually and hopefully? Is it well presented, smart and professional looking?
As an applicant your CV should demonstrate:
- The specific skills needed for the job
- The right sort of experience
- The right personal qualities
- An understanding of the specific requirements of the job
But you must also keep it simple. The CV should be:
- short and concise - ideally no more than two pages of A4 paper
- clear - typewritten and laid out with wide margins, section headings and information in logical order
- relevant – address the employer’s main question: can you do the job?
The following are examples of words that can be used to describe personal characteristics that are generally seen as positive and useful in the workplace:
Adaptable, Efficient, Motivated, Responsible, Trustworthy, Accurate, Confident, Decisive, hardworking, innovative.
You should choose these or similar adjectives that best describe your attributes.
Here are some examples of positive, active words that you can use to describe your responsibilities and achievements:
Achieved, Broadened, Demonstrated, Generated, Negotiated, Shaped, Planned, Managed and Represented.
Instead of saying “I am good at” when describing the strengths you could say ‘Skilled at’...or ‘Adept at’ or ‘with the ability’ to or ‘An expert in’...
Employers are looking for people who can:
- Increase - profits, turnover, sales and efficiency
- Decrease – sales turnover, risks, time taken, problems and waste
- Improve – competitive advantage, appearance, information flow, performance
Gaps between jobs:
If the gaps include voluntary work, training or relevant experience – travel for example, put these down as part of your skills, qualification and experience
Lack of qualifications:
Concentrate on what you do have. Emphasize your practical skills and experience; these are often as valuable to an employer as theoretical experience.
I am overqualified for the job I want
Emphasize the relevant practical skills and experience that you have for the job. Focus your attention on the Key Skills Section and choose the skills that fit the job for which you are applying.
Finally, when you have written your CV, check the following points:
- Is the layout clear?
- Do the relevant points stand out?
- Is the language clear and understandable?
- Are your skills and experience emphasized?