Writing a successful CV however can make all the difference between ending up on the reject pile or securing an interview. It is a way of selling yourself to employers and should include a personal profile, education, work experience, skills/achievements and interests.
We have put together some handy tips that will help ensure your CV gets you though the first stage of the employment process.
Tailor your CV
Every CV you create should be tailored toward every job you apply for. It is important to understand the role you are applying for and what is required from you and then tailor your CV to meet those requirements. It does not mean you have to change the whole CV, it just needs to be adapted accordingly. Look at the company’s website to ensure that you know all about the company and what is expected from you in the role.
Do not waffle!
Your CV should be short and sweet, employers will lose interest if they have to read through page after page. As a rule, your CV should cover around two sides of A4 paper however if you are someone who has many years experience it can stretch to three sides and if you are just starting out in employment one page may be appropriate. Choose the duties most relevant to the job you are applying for and if you have worked in a large number of roles, it is a good idea to delete very old positions.
Use positive assertive language as well as active verbs when writing about your work experience and skills and achievements. Always back up your skills with experience you have gained.
Presentation is key. A successful CV will be written in a clear font such as Arial with font sizes between 10 and 12. It should not appear cluttered. Boxes and bold colours should be omitted. Headings should be bigger, bolder or underlined. Proofreading is crucial, use grammar and spell check and ask a trusted companion to have a read through to ensure no mistakes slip through unnoticed.
Your personal profile is a paragraph about yourself that should be listed first on your CV under your name. It gives the employer information about who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals. It is an important aspect of your CV and should be kept short but relevant, 100 words is sufficient.
This is the section which requires you to list your position of employment, dates you have worked and a bit about your role. It should be listed in reverse chronological order (listing your current or most recent role first). It is a good idea to use bullet points to list your key responsibilities, achievements and skills you gained.
Skills and achievements
Use this section to ensure that your CV stands out. You could list all your technical skills or the fact that you may speak a foreign language. You may want to include your fantastic team leading skills or skills that you have gained from an unusual place for example you may have been the leader of a voluntary group. It is all relevant. However, do not exaggerate as you will have to back this up during an interview.
Education and qualifications
Your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. You should list the name of the institutions the dates you were there and lastly your qualifications and grades that were gained.
Never lie about your qualifications. For example, upgrading your degree will not only demonstrate that you are a dishonest person but is illegal.
Hobbies and Interests
If you have room, this is a section you may want to include as it is your chance to show what an interesting individual you are! Listing solitary hobbies such as reading, drawing, watching TV etc. are not going to interest your potential employer. Any hobbies you have that may be relevant to your role will be a benefit or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, you may have started up a book club or a Saturday football team. You may have written your own blog.
What not to include on your CV
It is no longer standardised practice to add these to your CV. If you prefer you could add a line “References provided at request” although this is not required.
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are not allowed to ask your age, marital status or gender. This information should be excluded from your CV.
You are not required in the UK to include a photo of yourself.
Reasons why you left a job
This information does not need be included and if appropriate will be discussed at interview stage.
Again, this is information that is not required and can be discussed during a later stage in the employment process. It may also send out the wrong message to a future employer.