So, you have made the decision to actively start looking for a new role. You are ready for change and want to take on a new challenge- fantastic! But the thought of writing yourself a strong CV that stands out is less than appealing and can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. Do not fear! In a two-part blog, we have compiled a list of 10 things that you can do to make your CV sit on the top of the call back pile and should (hopefully) make writing it a much less thankless task for you too!
1. Make sure it is detailed but concise.
Most CV’s should never really need to be more than two sides of A4, three at the most. You should be utilising this space as best as you can and only include information that you really think it will be beneficial for your potential employer to know.
Most CVs will always include a personal statement (see below), your career history and your academic and professional achievements. It is said that most employers will spend on average just 8 seconds looking at your CV, so make sure all the key information stands out. You can save the finer details for during the interview!
2. Think about the benefit of a personal statement
Generally speaking, having a profile section on your CV is always a good idea. If you decide to include this on your CV, you should write a brief paragraph to introduce and sell yourself. Even if you are not changing your entire CV for each application you are making, you should at least be altering your profile section. Include the most prominent and relevant facts about yourself that make you a good match for the role you are applying for and summarise your experience, skills and any personal or professional achievements that are particularly applicable.
However, depending on your background and what stage of your career you are at, it may not always be entirely necessary. A recent graduate who is looking for their first role may not get as much benefit from this as a seasoned worker. If you have a smaller amount of work experience this section should be short and sweet if you do choose to have it. If you have a strong career background behind you, you will probably have more to include to emphasize your personal USP.
3. Don’t send the same CV to multiple employers
If you really want your application to stand out, you should take some extra time to edit your CV specifically for the role you are applying for. Use both the job advert and the company website (if you’re applying directly) to determine exactly which of your skills you should be highlighting to them.
It is very easy and tempting to send out the same CV to lots of employers to save yourself time, but in doing so, you are likely affecting your chances of being successful. Create multiple copies of your CV to save yourself time in the future.
4. Make sure everything is kept up-to-date
Even if you aren’t looking for work, you should always be updating and refreshing your CV to reflect anything significant that happens in your career (like an internal promotion or the mastering of a new skill). Doing this will ensure that you don’t unintentionally overlook anything that could be of importance.
If you use LinkedIn, making sure that you keep this up-to-date and current is also a good alternative to constantly changing your actual CV. When you then need to update your actual CV, this can act as a great reminder.
5. Make sure there aren’t any time gaps
Any prominent gaps on your CV are quite likely to make employers suspicious and they will immediately question what you were doing in the blank time window. You should address these so that your CV flows through a clear timeline.
If you took a career break to travel, say briefly what you did in this time. If you were unemployed and looking for work, do not worry about putting this down too: find a way to put a positive spin on it. Mention any additional courses or volunteer work you did in this time, or if you further developed your soft skills like teamwork and communication with other activities.
Most employers are reasonable and can appreciate that sometimes, seeking employment can be a challenge. Be honest about this, don’t hide it away in the background as doing so may make you less likely to be shortlisted.
These first five points should be more than enough to get you started. Check back here later this week for the next 5!