What is a CV?
A curriculum vitae, (CV for short) is Latin for “course of life”, fitting right?
A CV is your way to shine, to show a potential employer what experience you have and what makes you tick. It’s important that they can interpret why you’d be a good fit for their organisation.
What does your CV say about you?
- Messy – Employer won’t take the time to read it.
- Too long – If a client has 50 cv’s on their desk they will only scan your CV and not read all 4,5,6 pages.
- Too short – How can you get your personality across if your CV is only half a page long.
- Not split into sections – A potential employer can’t easily find what they’re looking for.
- Poor spelling or grammar – If you’re not putting effort into checking your spelling and grammar, are you going to put effort into your potential new role?
- Obvious one – Make sure contact details are up to date, you could have a cracking CV that ticks all of the boxes but if they can’t get hold of you there’s no point.
- Having an inappropriate email address – email@example.com will not give the right impression, keep it professional.
So how can you stand out in the crowd?
Create interest and structure it right , use bullet points so that it’s easy to read. This includes splitting it into sections, such as:
- About me/profile – What makes you different?
- Key skills – Make them relevant to the role
- Experience (most recent first) – Pinpoint areas of interest
- Qualifications/training – Most pertinent first
- Interests – Make it interesting, love reading, what are you reading?
Your ‘about me’ or ‘profile’ section is the first thing a potential employer will see. Keep it short and to the point, we suggest no more than 150 words total.
Always begin, in bold, with the dates you worked at the company, followed by the name of the company and finally your job title. (example below)
October 2020 – March 2021
Joe Bloggs Ltd
Try not to write ‘I’ so much, instead of ‘I handled the accounts, I ran company meetings, I drove the van for deliveries’ try being more descriptive. Start your line with ‘my duties included:’ then list the most relevant skills in bullet points as follows:
- Handling of company accounts
- Use of company vehicle for deliveries
- Organising and running company wide meetings
Tailor your CV to your potential employer
Why would they hire you over the other people’s CV’s they have in front of them? Do your research, know exactly what it is they are looking for and tailor your CV to replicate this. If you are applying for an accounting position, they probably don’t need to hear about the waitressing experience you had one summer 10 years ago. Find your USP (unique selling point) and make sure your CV is top of that pile!
Related to above, don’t just write every task you did in your old positions – think about how those tasks will correlate to the role you are applying for. And don’t be afraid to have more than one CV. If you have a few particular skill sets, create more than one, just remember to apply with the correct one!
Keep tuned in next week where we will discuss if covers letter actually get read. See you soon.