When it comes to applying for a new job, your CV could be just the ticket to get you that initial foot in the door and secure an interview – but how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than thrown straight in the bin?
Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how. It is a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you are applying for. But what if you do not meet the right criteria? I have put together three tips to get you started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) job.
Get the basics right
There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements, or hobbies; and some references.
Presentation is key
A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented, and printed on clean, crisp white paper. The layout should always be clean and well-structured, and CVs should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope to post your applications.
Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
Stick to no more than two pages of A4
A good CV is clear, concise and makes every point necessary without waffling. You don’t need pages and pages of paper – you just keep things short and sweet. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer, it’s a chance to tick the right boxes. And if everything is satisfied, there’s a better chance of a job interview.
Also, employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. Most will make a judgment about a CV within sections, so stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper.
Understand the job description
The clues are in the job application, so read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you cannot. With the areas where you are lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. For example, if the job in question requires someone with sales experience, there is nothing stopping you from using any retail work you have undertaken – even if it was something to help pay the bills through university. It will demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they are transferable.
Tailor the CV to the role
When you have established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role so do not be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it will not.
Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You do not have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they are relevant.