- Posted by Linda
- On 21st May 2015
- 0 Comments
Your CV is not going to get you the job but, if you get it right, it will get you through to the interview stage. In the present jobs climate recruiters receive so many CVs that reading them has become a time consuming chore and it’s irritating when so many applicants have obviously not even bothered to adapt their CV to the particular vacancy. Recruiters are looking for quick ways to eliminate the majority of them and will only keep about 15 out of every 100 received because they can’t possibly interview more than that.
Avoid your CV being thrown into the bin by following my top tips to writing a CV that will get you shortlisted.
1. Length – your CV should be no longer than two A4 pages. It must capture the attention of the recruiter quickly or they won’t even bother reading on. This means that your contact details, personal profile and key skills and attributes should be placed in the first half of your CV.
2. Layout – it should be attractive to the eye with plenty of white space. Don’t try to cram too many words into one page, it’s far better to extend it over two pages with nicely spaced out sections and paragraphs. The font type is up to you but Arial, Calibri and Times New Roman are popular choices amongst recruiters and the font size should be 11 or 12. Remember to make it easy for the reader to find the information they are looking for. If they have to work too hard to find it they probably won’t bother.
3. Contact Details – put your name at the top in a standout size (colour is optional but it’s a nice touch and may help yours to get noticed). Nobody puts Curriculum Vitae at the top any more, it’s not necessary. Under your name include your contact details i.e. email address and phone numbers. Make sure you use a professional sounding email address. It’s a good idea to create a separate one specifically for your job search. Your address is optional.
4. Personal Profile – this should be no longer than 3-5 sentences in one paragraph. Think of it as a synopsis of you as a prospective employee. It should draw the reader in and immediately get them thinking you are a potential candidate. In three sentences you should state your current or previous occupation, highlight your most relevant attributes and strengths and state what you are looking for, (i.e. currently seeking a new and challenging role …)
5. Key Skills and Attributes – bullet point your key skills and make them succinct and punchy. Include some attributes that would be beneficial in the role you are applying for. Remember skills are what you can do and attributes are how you do it. (For example, a key skill for a retail job might be “experienced in cash and card handling”. A complimentary attribute could be “remains calm under pressure” or “honest and trustworthy”). Another good way to think about it is that skills can be learnt and attributes are inate (ie a trait you were born with). It is always good to further demonstrate your skills and attributes by using short examples where possible.
6. Keywords/ATS (Applicant Tracking System) – look at several job adverts you are interested in and highlight the key words that are repeated in the job descriptions and personal specifications. Mirror these key words in your C.V. where appropriate. ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) is commonly used by recruiters now to speed up the process and filter out CVs without relevant keywords/experience. It may surprise you to know that your CV can be discarded even before it has been seen by a human eye!
7. Work History/Experience – this should be written in chronological order (most recent first). For each role you have had, state the company or organisation name and where it was based. If you have only worked for one organisation, then put the organisation name at the top and then the different departments and roles you have had within that department followed by the date. Make sure you are consistent with how you write your dates so that it is easy for the employer to check for any gaps. (Sometimes it is the little things that annoy employers like inconsistent dates and bad spelling and punctuation, especially if the job requires attention to detail!). Write a few lines underneath each role stating what you did using action verbs such as “achieved” “accomplished” “developed”. Write most detail on your most recent role or the role that is most relevant to the job you are applying for.
8. Achievements – Make sure you include your achievements in your CV. You can either lump them all together under a section headed Achievements or you can split them up under the relevant jobs. When writing down your achievements, think about the value you have added to each role, i.e. money you have saved, targets you have achieved or exceeded, any awards and commendations, procedures you have streamlined. If you are struggling to think of any achievements then try to think of what you have done particularly well and enjoyed doing in your job. It is a good idea to make your achievements stand out by putting them in either bold, italic or underlined.
9. Hobbies and Interests – these need to be relevant to the job, demonstrate your fitness or creativity and/or highlight any voluntary or community work you may be involved in. Never lie about your interests and hobbies. It is better to leave them out altogether if you feel you have to make them up and be prepared to discuss them at interview.
10. References – all you need to include at the bottom of your CV is one statement “references available upon request”. You are not required to give the details of your referees on a CV which helps to keep it to two pages. You will probably be asked to give more detail about your referees on an application form.