In an ever-changing digital world, one thing hasn’t changed, if you’re applying for a job 99 times out of 100 you will need a CV. Your CV is the window to your career and should give a strong overview of who you are, what you do and what you want. This is your proposition, sales pitch and personally all wrapped up in one document.
The CV is just part of the whole recruitment process, but if you don’t have a good CV then you will not get any further with your applications. So where do you start and how do you ensure that your CV is picked interview.
There are various online templates that can be used for CV’s and it’s tempting to start with one of these. I’d resist this and start with a blank page. First start with notes, dates, education, training, job roles and locations. Get them on paper, scribble them down, type them up at this stage you are looking at how you can build the structure around your career and experiences. Treat it like a skeleton of your work and education history and get down the basics. You might already have a CV which you need to adapt, and that’s fine; the structure of how to construct the CV is the same.
Summary, Opening Statement or Profile
This is a snapshot of you and who you are. Traditionally people will talk about being hardworking, punctual, a good team player, excellent at lone working………This will NOT allow you to stand out in the crowd. These points are a given.
Think about the essence of who you are. The CV is all about creating a emotional connection to the reader. Trustworthiness, Loyalty, coachability and unique skill set stand out in the crowd, also take this chance to outline your passion for your job and extensive knowledge.
Outline your formal qualifications as below.
|Date From – To||Further Education Establishment, Location|
|List your qualifications|
|Date From – To||Secondary Education Establishment, Location|
|List your qualifications|
Guess what? In a recent survey only 1 in 20 employers confirmed that secondary school education history was of interest or importance when candidates were applying for job roles. However don’t leave this off as 1 in 5 employers would see that missing this off a CV would cast doubt in their of the validlidy of application.
Key skills are essential for one simple reason employers scan CV’s. If you have a stand out group of key skills near the top of your CV then employers are more likely to read on. These can be down in bullet point form or listed.
Accountancy | Finance | Payroll | Etc………….
Ideally try to list between 15 to 25 skills. These can relate directly to you previous experience and also consider the job that you are applying for.
Make sure that you keep the structure throughout the CV. As so similar to the education history follow the same format.
|Date From – To||Employer, Location,|
Duties and Responsibilities
- Bullet point these and keep them concise and to the point
- Make sure that you outline any specialist work you’ve done
- Refer to equipment, software packages, or any unique experience
- Talk about anything you were specifically responsible for
- Outline how you performed
- Any management duties
- Again list these in bullet point form
- Give detail on facts, figures, wins and improvements
- Make this tempt the employer to want to know more
Reason for leaving: Make sure you add this after every job. Again you’ve got more chance of being seen if you include this.
Follow the above format for each job role.
You can add references if you wish, or you can add a section which says references available on request. If you choose to add references, then pick a maximum of 3 employers. Some companies will have a reference policy on how many references they take and from where. So for example if you are requested to give a reference from your last employers and you have left on bad terms, your better of bringing this up during the interview so there are no nasty surprises. This should also be outlined in the reason leaving section. It is unlikely but not impossible that references might be taken prior to interview. If this happens the new company/employer will need to gain your permission first.
Employers do occasionally take the individuals personal circumstances into consideration. So when you complete this section, again think about the emotional connections.
Some businesses like those who have played team sports, have an active social life, have various extra-curricular activities listed and family commitments, while other really don’t care. This depends on the individual and what’s important to them.
So do some research into the company and find out what their ethos is.
Avoid the fancy………keep it simple
There is a temptation to use fancy graphics and fonts…. Don’t! they will not support your application and in fact your taste doesn’t always match the taste of those reading your CV. So keep it simple.
Use a easy to read popular text, such as “Trebuchet MS, Calibri (Body) or Arial”.
Avoid fonts such as Blackadder ITC, Brush Script MT and Comic Sans MS.
It’s a professional document so use a professional font.
The above is just an overview, if you would like to find out more information, why not get in contact.