Looking for a new job can be a daunting task, especially if it’s been a while. You may have found a great opportunity that could really help to boost your career, however applying for this is pointless if your CV isn’t up to scratch. Your CV is your way of selling yourself to a future potential employer, so it needs to be effective and memorable for the right reasons.
People often forget to update their CV or include lots of irrelevant material, so we’ve decided to break down what exactly makes up a good CV.
What Is A CV?
A CV (curriculum vitae) is a document that summaries your life from a professional standpoint, from education to previous work to qualifications.
It is used either as or alongside a job application to showcase your skills and experience, and an employer will use the information to determine whether or not they would like to bring you in for a face to face interview.
A CV is the first thing an employer will see of you and could potentially be the last. As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.
The Essentials You Need To Include
When writing your CV, it’s important to know exactly what information you need to include.
You need to start off by including your basic personal details, which includes name and contact details. It may sound obvious, but people have been known to miss out this basic information before.
Next, you’ll want to try and sum up yourself and why an employer should hire you in a short paragraph. A personal statement works well for trying to showcase what you are about in a short but impactful way.
You’ll also need to include details of any previous relevant job experience and education, qualifications or skills you have. Including the dates and details of your experience and qualifications is important for allowing an employer to see your full history, and to look for any gaps.
How To Format
The format of the CV needs to play to your strengths and including the most important and relevant information first is essential.
For example, listing previous jobs in similar roles first is more likely to grab their attentions than your hobbies. Listing the most recent job experiences first is preferable, as employers will most likely want to see what you’ve been doing recently. If you lack much job experience, then listing qualifications and skills is the best way to go.
The general layout should follow:
- Personal Details
- Personal Statement
- Work Experience
- Hobbies/Interests (Optional)
As the aim is to keep it relevant and to the point, we recommend using bullet points to list your skills and experience. Many employers will skim your CV even if you include large blocks of text, but it is more important to tailor the content to your new potential employer.
Don’t Make It Too Long
As an employer is likely to spend no longer than 30 seconds looking through your CV, you need to keep it short and to the point.
Nobody wants to read through a novel to decide if you would be a good fit for the job, so sending over pages and pages is not going to get you an interview.
An effective CV needs to be informative without overloading it and should be no longer than two A4 pages long. Two pages should be more than enough space to talk about your previous job experience and the qualifications relevant to the position you are applying for.
In situations like this, less really is more.
Keep It Relevant
While it may help flesh out your hobbies and interests, listing “socialising with friends” as a hobby isn’t going to be the personal quality that gets you the job. However, if you play for a local sports team, even if this is non-competitive it can show to the potential employer your team working skills.
Including hobbies and interests is not essential for any CV but adding ones that are relevant to the industry you are applying for could help your application. Listing a range of relevant interests will make your CV more appealing to a potential employer and gives you something to talk about should you be called in for an interview.
Don’t Be Generic
Lines such as “I’m a team player, who also works well alone” or “I’m a perfectionist” have been heard a million times before, and have no place on an effective CV.
Flexible, motivated and good at multi-tasking are all phrases we often see used throughout most CVs, and the over use of these words can potentially drag you down. These qualities should be expected in any employee, so adding them in as positives may seem a little bit pointless.
It can be tricky figuring out which words will make you stand out, but including phrases such as hard-working, confident, reliable and responsible will all go a long way in letting them know you can be trusted to carry out the job.
Keep It Professional
It may sound obvious, but your CV needs to be professional, and the words you choose play a large part of that.
Going through your CV with a fine-tooth comb is recommended and checking for spelling or grammar mistakes is crucial in order to look as professional as possible.
A CV filled with mistakes shows that you have clearly not given much attention to writing it and could reflect on your potential work ethic should they hire you. Start as you mean to go on and thoroughly check the CV before sending it to anyone. We may also suggest that you ask a friend or colleague to also look over this, it can be hard to spot mistakes in your own work.
An important thing that people often forget about is the email address that you use to apply for the role, a professional email address should be used instead of a personal one. Employers are less likely to respond to an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org”, so make a separate account purely for professional use.
It should also be noted that playing with the font and colours will not help in any way and could make it look less professional. Use a font like Times New Roman in black with a font size of 11 or 12 to keep it looking simple and presentable.
If you are still struggling to put together an impactful CV, then why not make use of our CV writing service?
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into writing a great CV and a lot of do’s and don’ts that people don’t often realise. Wurkplace can help by sitting down and figuring out all of your skills and strengths and using this information to provide a CV that will be much more appealing to potential employers.
If you’d like to learn more about our CV writing service, please feel free to get in touch today.
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