When searching for a job, the CV is perhaps the most important thing to have in your job-seeking arsenal. Getting your CV right increases your chances of success. If you imagine things from a recruiter’s point of view, they only have the information presented in your CV to decide whether to take you on or not, it is therefore important that you give it your best shot, here is guidance to help you do this.
What is a CV?
CV stands for “curriculum vitae”. The term CV is often used interchangeably with resume, but although the two documents serve the same purpose, they do differ slightly. A resume is shorter, generally, no more than one to two pages, while a CV can be longer and more detailed.
That said; don’t ramble on when writing your CV. Your CV should be tailor-made to reflect your specific qualifications and experience. Ensure that the entire content is relevant.
While you can take the opportunity to brag about yourself, use your CV to sell your skills, knowledge, and expertise. Your CV should cover the following:
- Personal details and contact information. Make sure these are correct. Always include a working phone number as well as a current e-mail address to give your recruiter the opportunity to get in touch with you.
- Education, certifications, and training. Include not just your designation, but your field of study and educational institution. If you are fresh from school and lacking in work experience, highlight the specific skills acquired in school. For example, you could indicate your dissertation subject, any training undertaken and any leadership roles held. These kinds of specifics stand out to a recruiter.
- Employment history and experience. Getting this information across in a pertinent, concise way is key. Have a couple of different versions of your CV, so you can tailor your experience exactly to the role you’re applying for. If you have experience in sales and project management, construct one CV that emphasizes your skills and familiarity with each area.
- Skills. Try to be specific here, using action verbs that describe your skills and achievements, as opposed to generic words such as motivated, result oriented, innovative and team player among others.
- Objective or personal statement. While this isn’t a mandatory part of your CV, it can help you create an impact with a potential employer. Keeping it short and sweet is best practice. It should convey who you are, what you’ve done and why you’re right for the role. Write it in the first person clearly and succinctly.
- Hobbies and personal interests. These can be a great talking point in an interview, or they can scare HR managers away! Remember that while this area of your CV refers to your personal hobbies, they are still being presented in a professional setting.
Key Points to note
After you have included all of the above aspects, read through one more time and ensure that the following have been presented accurately in an easy to read fashion.
- Your name
- Current title and place of employment
- Start and end dates of your most recent position
- Previous title and place of employment
- Start and end dates of your previous position
Read through your CV several times to rule out careless mistakes. Pay attention to grammar and spelling. No recruiter is going to stand careless mistakes. Also, look out for uneven spacing, multiple font types and ascertain that your tenses are correct. Ask a friend to read through and give you feedback.
Once you are sure that your content is in order, you need to work on how you present your CV. Your CV should:
- Be clearly printed on A4 paper and sent in an A4 envelope to avoid creasing
- Avoid coloured paper
- Utilise a clear, professional font such as Times New Roman or Calibri.
- Use 1.5 spacing to avoid a cramped overall look and make it easy for recruiters to navigate the key points in six seconds or less.
If you are interested in CV proofreading, editing or re-writing services, contact us. Remember that your CV is the best and sometimes only way to make a first impression with a recruiter – you will not regret having made the investment!