You’ve found the perfect job and need to get a CV together, but how do you make it stand out from the hundreds of others that land on your prospective employer’s desk?
Here are five top tips to putting together a CV that ticks all the right boxes:
1. Check your personal details. Make sure your personal and contact details are correct or you may never get the call you are waiting for. Include qualifications, work experience and relevant skills as well as information about your personal achievements and hobbies. Employers want to know who you are as a person and how you interact with others during your spare time. Don’t forget to include a couple of references.
2. Focus on the presentation. Just as you should take care of your personal appearance in an interview situation, it is vital that your CV is well-presented. Print it on good-quality white paper and send it in a rigid A4 envelope so that it isn’t bent or crumpled in transit. Show that you can be concise by keeping your CV to two pages. The upper middle area of the first page will draw the eye of the recruiter, so focus on this area as a priority. Most employers will make a decision within seconds, so lay it out clearly using only the most relevant information.
3. Tailor it to the job description. Make sure you are really familiar with the job description and that your CV shows how you fit all the requirements. Even a role that seems minor or irrelevant, for example refereeing for a Sunday league or chairing a committee at your university can help to prove that you have the relevant skills and experience for the job. If you have relevant life experience, for example learning a language while living overseas, this may also be worth mentioning.
4. Avoid clichés. While employers want people with good communication skills and an excellent eye for detail, they will read these phrases over and over again during the application process. Try to show that you have these skills without using the phrases, for example: ‘Communication was key in my job as a sous chef.’
5. Use positive language. Make sure that you use positive words such as ‘achieved’, ‘organised’, ‘managed’, ‘responsible’ and ‘developed’ to show that you do more than just show up to work and do what you are told. It’s important that your employer can see that you are capable of using your initiative and that you are not afraid to step up when the right opportunities present themselves.