A CV creates the first impression of you and is sometimes the only opportunity to get yourself noticed by an employer or recruiter so it pays to get this right. In order to make it to the next step to secure a telephone or face to face interview your CV must sell you to the employer by highlighting all of your skills, qualifications and experience.
Your CV should include your contact details, a personal statement, work experience and employment history, qualifications and training, other achievements, skills and interests plus details of referees. Although a CV is primarily a report giving this information is also needs to portray a good image of you as a potential employee.
Employers receive lots of CVs and have to decide quickly who they are and are not going to interview. Here are our top tips for creating a great CV:
- The right length – the rule of thumb is that a CV should be no more than two pages long. If your CV goes back a long way into your work history, make sure the information is relevant to the job you’re applying for. A Saturday job you had 20 years ago probably isn’t relevant however if you have a lot of relevant experience at a high level you could go onto a third page. Likewise, if you’re just starting out in your career, one page is fine.
- Avoid typing errors, poor spelling and grammar mistakes – Mistakes can make it seem like you haven’t put the time in, or you don’t think details are important. A tidy, mistake-free CV shows you as professional, thorough and that you care about how you come across. It’s a good idea to have your CV checked by someone whose English is good, even if yours is good too as spellcheckers can miss things, like the difference between ‘ceiling’ and ‘sealing’.
- Make it easy to read and look good – Don’t include so much information that it makes your CV looks cluttered. Avoid long paragraphs with very little white space. Bullet pointed lists and short sentences make your CV easier to read and easier for recruiters to scan for key words or phrases. Also, don’t mix up your fonts for visual effect because it can look messy and disorganised. Also, you really don’t need to print your CV on brightly coloured paper or include a picture – a ‘daring’ visual approach is only really suitable for creative jobs.
- Tailor your CV – Avoid sending out the same CV to hundreds of employers as mass mailshots are too general and unfocused – employers can spot these clearly. Instead, tailor your CV by considering what skills and experience the employer might be looking for and highlight the most relevant for the position you are applying for. For example, if you’ve got experience in retail and care work, and you’re applying for a job as a Parts Advisor, make sure your retail experience is easier to see on your CV than the care experience.
For more support into the world of work please check out the Employability Toolkit which includes 6 full modules – available to download FREE!