It might seem like one of the simplest tasks when applying for a job, but in fact your CV is the toughest and most vital part of the application process. A CV is the first impression for many companies, and a great way for you to market yourself, so getting it perfect is fundamental to making the right impact.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing or even updating your CV.
- Include your information at the top of the page.
It’s the information you don’t want to be ignored, so make sure it’s simple to see, read and find. Include all contact information and even put your name and email address on the bottom of every page, just in case the pages get separated.
- Check your spelling and grammar
There is nothing worse than looking through a CV with huge amounts of spelling and grammar errors. Nothing shouts dis-interested and sloppy louder than a badly put together CV. Get someone to look over it and make sure it’s easy to read and not too cluttered.
- Use positive language and view your experiences positively.
Use power words to describe your key achievements and portray all your experiences in a positive light, even the bad ones. Tell the employer what you learnt and the types of skills you developed in the process.
You may have been in a job for a while, but keep your CV updated. Include any qualifications you’ve got through your previous workplace and the skills you have used and enhanced whilst there.
- Keep your personal statement simple
This is a vital part that will make you stand out from the crowd. Keep it simple. Include career goals, past achievements and what you want from a job next. Include skills that you’ve learnt and will bring with you to your next job.
- Make it too long or too short
There’s a thin line between including everything needed and putting too much into it. If your CV is too long, the reader will get bored. Cut it down to the most relevant and impressive items. If you think it’s too short, include brief information about key things that you’ve been involved in while at school, college, university or within a job.
You might think you don’t have enough experience or the right qualifications, but the most awful thing you can do is lie; employers do background checks! If you lack experience, explain why. Include information about roles within school and college and hobbies and the skills you have gained because of those.
You’re applying for a specific job, so tailor your CV to it. Include skills you think they need and are looking for in the role. Make sure you include key abilities you have that can also benefit them. Construct your CV with the prospective employer in mind and find out the main activities of your chosen company or organisation.
Pretty colours and fancy text is for school and won’t impress employers. Keep your CV plain black and white and an easy, readable font.
When listing your career summary, explain everything. Leaving gaps in dates of jobs leave employers uneasy and nervous about what you’ve been up to.
Charlotte Carter is a second year Journalism undergraduate from Southampton Solent.