Looking for a job can be really difficult, but we’re here to offer you some insider knowledge from the recruiting world that will help get your job application noticed. Here are ten essential tips guaranteed to give your CV that all-important wow factor!
1. Clear and concise formatting
Most recruiters spend seconds looking through a CV and so you want to make sure your CV is easy to read. You must use clear headings to signal each section of your CV, and you must make it obvious when you’re talking about a new role, company, school etc. That way a recruiter can easily see all the important details.
Bullet points are a lifesaver, too, as they break up the text. Therefore, when listing your skills and qualifications, ensure to list them in bullets; if your CV is too dense with text the recruiter is likely to give up reading it.
Did you know that the structure of your CV can be used to your advantage? If you feel your education presents you in a stronger light then list that section before your employment history. If you feel your employment history shows more of your value, then prioritise this section instead.
3. Tailor your CV
Do not upload a generic CV to each job application. You may well have a generic CV on file with all your skills, abilities and work history, but it’s essential that you tailor your CV to each role you’re applying for. If the job description states that the position requires someone with communication skills, or experience in management, make a point of highlighting you have these abilities. Your aim is to prove to the recruiter you’re qualified for that particular role, not just generally qualified.
It’s essential that you include keywords in your CV – that means words that relate directly to the industry or role you’re applying for, and words that have been specifically mentioned in the job description. If you’re applying for a job online, your application will likely go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before it reaches a real-life recruiter. ATSs check your CV and application to see if you’re an ideal match for the role and they do this by pairing keywords in the job description to keywords in your CV, such as ‘communication’, ‘selling’, ‘SEO’, and ‘work under pressure’. Keywords will obviously differ depending on the industry and role.
5. Prove your skills and abilities
It’s all very well saying you’ve got excellent communication skills, but you need to back these skills with evidence to prove to the recruiter your credibility. Offer examples to show how you’ve gained or developed your skills, such as, ‘I have excellent communication skills that have been developed through working with clients on a global scale via email, phone calls and in person’.
6. Include links
Most job applications are online these days, therefore recruiters are likely to be viewing your CV online too. Use this to your advantage and include links to your LinkedIn and Twitter (if it’s for professional use). It’s best to place them at the end of your contact details.
7. Include a personal statement
Most people forget to write a personal statement on their CV, or rush it because it can be quite tricky to write effectively. Your personal statement is vital though. It’s the first thing the recruiter is going to read as it sits at the very top of your CV under your contact details, so if you don’t hook them in with this, they may not read the rest of your CV at all! In a few lines you need to summarise who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals and you’re guaranteed to reel that recruiter in from the off.
8. You can leave out the hobbies and interests section
What you list in your hobbies and interests section should not only offer some extra insight into who you are, but it should also be relevant to your application. Don’t list activities for the sake of it – if you can’t think of any genuine interest that’ll benefit your application, then leave this section out and use the extra space to bulk out other sections in your CV with relevant skills.
9. Keep it updated
Ensure you update your CV regularly, even if you’re not job hunting. You’re more likely to remember all the roles and skills you’re developing through your current job that way – you don’t want to struggle to remember the last few years’ worth of responsibilities when it is time to start looking for a new position!
10. Proof read
We cannot stress how important it is that you proofread your CV. It’s extremely unprofessional and embarrassing if you have spelling and grammatical errors littered through your CV. Don’t just rely on spellcheck either. Print off your CV, read it through out loud with a red pen in hand; it’ll be much easier to spot mistakes and inconsistencies this way. Get someone else to proof your CV too!
So there you have it, 10 essential tips to get your CV in top form! Just bear these pointers in mind as you craft your CV and you’re sure to land that job in no time.
About the Author: Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace visit their Career Advice pages.