A CV is not just a document you send out in hopes of getting invited for an interview. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing yourself, so care needs to go into putting it together! You need to sell your skills, abilities, qualifications, and experience to prospective employers. It conveys your personal details and should be done in a way that presents you in the best possible light.
The structure and readability of a CV are incredibly important as some recruiters may spend as little as 45 seconds skimming through your CV before marking it “no”, “maybe” or “yes”.
Another thing to consider is, with the use of technology to scan through CVs it is important to choose the right keywords that match your expertise to the role you are applying for, please remember to keep it honest. Keep your professional CV brief and to the point and save the not-so-important details for the interview.
Most job advertisements receive hundreds of applications and most candidates are perfectly suitable for the job so it is vital that your CV stands out from the crowd. Make it look great, image is important when applying for a job, and this is not just limited to how you dress for an interview, it extends to your CV as well.
Take some time in making it look good, be smart with the use of white space to make it easy on the eye. The use of colour has become common recently but please don’t go crazy with your colours, keep it modest, and keep the role you are applying for and organisation in mind when choosing your colours.
Alternatively, use professional CV writing and design services and let the experts design an outstanding CV for you.
There is no single “correct” way to write and present a professional CV but the following general rules apply:
- It should be carefully and clearly laid out: logically ordered, easy to read and not cramped
- It should be informative but concise
- It should be accurate in content, spelling and grammar. If you mention attention to detail as a skill, make sure your spelling and grammar is perfect!
The content of your CV is what actually lets the employer see why you are the best candidate for the job, use this opportunity to match your skills to the employer’s requirements. You can go into more detail on your Cover Letter.
Some of the most important aspects of a CV include but are not limited to:
Contact Information – Keep it basic: your name, physical address, email address, and phone number, you can include your LinkedIn URL, too if you wish. It is not necessary to include personal details such as your date of birth, marital status, or religion.
This is arguably one of the most important aspects of your CV. It is where you give an overview of who you are and inject a touch of personality. Keep it short, no longer than a few sentences. Cover the following:
- Who you are
- What you do
- What you can offer the company
- Your career goals
Previous Work Experience
Your experience should be listed in reverse chronological order. You should state your job title and the dates you worked, followed by your responsibilities. Your current role is the one recruiters will look at with the most attention, your older roles can just be listed and accompanied by a summary of the role. It helps to choose the duties most relevant to the job you are applying for, especially if it is a long list. You can experiment with the format, but in this section, bullet points are useful for clarity and highlighting key skills. The reason for leaving is unnecessary on your CV, remember the main purpose of this document is to sell yourself and secure interviews, you can give this information in the interview if you are asked.
Education and Qualifications
Like the Experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you were there, followed by the grades you achieved. If you have a lot of qualifications, there is no need to list them all; just choose the most relevant.
Not only does this section tell employers what computer skills you have, but the additional keywords also help your resume compete in a resume database.
This is a great opportunity to display yourself as a good Culture/Team fit. Choose your attributes carefully and highlight the most relevant ones for the role, now is not the time to be modest, do not downplay your capabilities. Again, please do not get “creative”, keep it honest, you do not want to have your integrity questioned.
Your referees should be your previous employers or your educational tutors, but there is no need to list all their details in this section. A person’s Name, Company/Institution, Designation, Contact Number, and Email Address are common things to include. Stating “References available on request” is also acceptable.
Send your CV out in PDF Format (unless otherwise stated by the recruiter), this will help maintain the formatting, insuring the recruiter sees your CV the way you intended it to look. It is also the safest format as it can be opened from almost any device. Including a picture on a CV is getting increasingly common but it is ultimately your decision. If you do decide to include a picture, make sure it is a professional headshot.
Common Mistakes to avoid
Take care to avoid these common mistakes when writing your professional CV as they could come at a hefty cost:
- Spelling and grammar
- Not tailored to the job
- Poor format
- Poor work history
- Vague or overly complex descriptions
With all that said, your CV is a representation of you so have a CV you are proud to send out.
If are done putting together your well-written CV and need help making it look outstanding checkout Elite CV.
Also, see the Rewards of having a great CV.