Tailored. Relevant. Structured. Succinct. Second Opinion.
Your CV has one single aim – to get you an interview. Nothing more.
It’s your sales pitch. Personal brochure. Advertisement. It should provide just the right amount of information in a clear and succinct way to get you an interview with an employer or a recruiter.
Your CV should never be ‘generic’. Start with researching the company and the sector when writing your CV and then tailor it to the specific requirements of the role you are applying for. If you don’t have a full job description, use the job advertisement to help you highlight how your skills and experience match those required by the role. Use language and terminology that’s relevant to both the role and the industry sector.
Knowing what to exclude as well as what to include in your CV is key here. Focus on the nature of the role and the industry sector. If you are applying for a web developer role within a digital agency, your technical and communications skills are much more important than your sales ability developed through your weekend retail job while at university.
Equally, if you’ve had a number of jobs, focus on those that are relevant to the role you are applying for and reduce the less relevant to a line or two to maintain the full chronology of your work history.
Keep it simple. A neatly structured Word format CV is all you need. Start with your name and contact details at the top followed by summary, employment history, education and interests sections. Remember, you can always include links to examples of work / portfolio if necessary.
In terms of formatting, stick to a single modern font, choose different point size for body text and headings – for body text, stick with 10-12 point size and for headings 14 in bold and/or underlined is sufficient. Avoid splashes and pop-up text boxes. Remember, the easier you make it for the reader, the more likely that your CV will be read and greater the chance you will have of getting an invitation to an interview.
If you are applying for a role through a recruitment company, avoid PDF format and stick with Word as the company would most likely remove your contact details before sending your CV to the employer.
Keep it succinct. Up to two (A4) pages for a CV is perfectly fine. In fact, if you’ve tailored your CV to the role you are applying for, kept it relevant and structured, then most employers and recruiters would be able to make a decision whether or not to invite you for an interview simply by reading through the first page!
5. Second opinion
Whenever we write anything, we can easily develop blind spots when it comes to proof reading our own work. We may read what we thought we had written rather than what’s actually on the page. It’s not simply that we may miss obvious typos, grammatical errors or misspellings, we may not have articulated key points as well as we might believe that we have. So, always get a second opinion and ask a friend or a relative to proof read your CV. It could well be the final step that brings you the invitation for an interview to that perfect role!