Whilst content of course is principal, you can put yourself at an advantage by constructing a CV that’s uncomplicated, succinct and effortless to read. Composing your CV is definitely not one of life’s most thrilling activities, but with some simple advice you can certainly make it a lot more painless for yourself.
By creating a structure that makes visual sense and is simple to navigate, your CV will immediately earn you your first few brownie points with a recruiter or hiring manager who is reviewing it for the first time. Some people mistakenly feel the need to feature year upon year of experience on multiple pages but this is, to put it bluntly, CV suicide. Sources claim you only have 6 seconds to impress a recruiter with your CV so it’s imperative that you make it count. Best practice and experience tells us to keep the CV to a maximum of two pages, using brief paragraphs and plenty of bullet points. A CV is not the story of your life but rather a showcase of your professional acumen.
The proof’s in the pudding
Your key achievements are what will help you stand out and in today’s competitive market, you need to know your unique selling points and exploit them. Employers are constantly searching for added value, so consider carefully how you’ve demonstrated this in your career. Even if you don’t have a hefty sales target on your head, you can illustrate your added value in a number of ways regardless of your discipline. You might have executed a lucrative marketing campaign that achieved a dramatic increase in web traffic (inadvertently leading to more sales) or you may have taken on an additional task that saved the company from outsourcing therefore saving cash. Other examples of added value include time saved, processes improved and direct increase in revenue.
Be careful with the creative
Keep fonts simple and leave pictures to the artists of the world. It tends to be much safer to keep your CV plain if you don’t work in the creative industries. You’re aiming for inoffensive. We know there’s loads of content geared towards standing out from the crowd and daring to be different is the latest trend in how to live your life, but there are some instances where this really isn’t necessary and the CV is one of them. Let the content do the talking. If you’re a graphic designer, go crazy, but always consider your audience first.
Big yourself up a little! Your CV is not the time to get shy about your greatest professional achievements, you should be celebrating those. Obviously don’t go overboard because arrogance is a major turn off, but if you’ve got loads of achievements they should be celebrated and visible on your CV. Why work hard to achieve something to keep it in the cupboard for the rest of your life? It’s totally pointless. Embrace it!
Target your CV
If you’re serious about a job role you’re applying to, then this point is absolutely vital. Take a look at the requirements and responsibilities of the role and make sure you’ve addressed these on your CV. If the recruiter sees no link between your CV and the job in question, you’re not going to get very far in the process. You may have been doing a role that spans a number of different disciplines and this new role might be honing in on just one of those disciplines. Take this this on board and tailor your CV to this as best you can.
By Laura Chetcuti