It takes time to write the perfect CV – and most employers will spend less than a minute scanning it. Heartbreaking I know.
But that is why you need to make your CV stand out, and don’t give a potential employer any reason to add you to the ‘no’ pile.
You need to make it easy for an employer to see why you are the ideal candidate for the job – showcasing your most relevant skills and experiences.
Remember, your CV is a representation of you. It’s all well and good saying you have excellent attention to detail and you are a good communicator but an employer is unlikely to believe this if there are mistakes in your CV and you use clumsy phrases and jargon.
Knowing how to write a CV can be hard, especially if you are just starting out in your career.
But who better to speak to than our editors who have spent years trawling through CVs.
Follow these ten top tips and you can write the perfect CV.
Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for
Research the company and use the job specification to work out what skills you should be highlighting.
Don’t waste space with irrelevant information.
Make sure there are no mistakes!
A typo is a sure-fire way to end up in the ‘no’ pile. So make sure you get someone else to read your CV before you send it off.
Remember: It’s a driving licence not a driving license
Remember: You have four As in your GCSEs not 4 A’s in your GCSE’s!
Be specific and give examples
Don’t just say you increased Twitter followers, say you increased Twitter followers by 70% over a six-month period.
Similarly, don’t just say ‘I wrote articles for the Manchester Evening News’, be specific and say ‘I wrote four self-sourced articles for the Manchester Evening News, including one exclusive from an FOI that made page five during my week-long placement’.
Make it user-friendly
The presentation of your CV will be the first thing employers scrutinise. Your CV should be easy on the eye, clear and well-structured.
Write short sentences and leave an appropriate amount of space – don’t leave employers hunting to find your last job destination or your references.
And if possible, your CV should all fit one page – but don’t use size eight font to make that happen.
Feel free to be creative but don’t go overboard, for example, no garish WordArt please.
You should also avoid too many columns and boxes etc because this can easily move and look different on different software.
Write the perfect CV and include a short personal profile
Use these few sentences at the top of your CV to tell your potential employer the most relevant and standout facts about you which match you to the job.
Keep your CV up to date
Every time you gain a new skill, do some work experience or move jobs you should update your CV.
Firstly, this means you won’t forget any good details that should be included but it also means your CV will be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Include contact details at the top
Your full name, mobile number, email address and address should be easily accessible right at the top.
A polite reminder: Make sure you have a professional email address, now is not the time for email@example.com
Include two references
‘References available on request’ is just annoying. You want to make hiring you as easy as possible.
If you are uploading your CV to a recruitment agency or even if you are sending a digital copy of your CV then sometimes the first set of ‘eyes’ will be a computer automatically scanning for keywords so make sure the mandatory requirements on the job specification are included in your CV.
Avoid negative information and jargon
You should never criticise a previous employer and only refer to difficulties if you were able to overcome them – although this is probably best saved as a discussion point in interview.
You should use proactive and dynamic language – not jargon, clumsy expressions and clichés.
Follow all this advice and it will become much easier to write the perfect CV.
What have you found works well on a CV when applying to jobs? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image courtesy of Markus Spiske via Flickr, with thanks