The difference between a good CV and a great CV can make or break your career.
It is an essential tool in your job search, usually being the first contact someone has with you. A bad CV will be in the bin in a matter of seconds and there will be no second chance.
Face to face first impressions count, we all judge people pretty quickly, a smile can sometimes retrieve a difficult situation, but a bad CV will be in the bin in a matter of seconds and there will be no second chance.
Here are our Top 10 Tips for a great CV.
1 Less is more
Your CV should be 1 or 2 pages, 3 maximum and never more. Remember you can add more information once you get to interview but long CVs are never read, use bullet points and leave off unnecessary or repetitive detail.
Stick to Black Times, Arial, Calibri or Tahoma in 12pt. don’t use italics, small or fancy fonts that strain the eyes. Keep it clean with lots of white space and no tables. If you are looking for an especially creative job it is still best to have a formal CV and attach separate examples of your work.
Use spell and grammar checks, check again then get someone else to check. Errors with spelling make you look stupid, slovenly and lazy – not the best first impression.
Check your dates and fill in the gaps, deal with any issues head on, people like to see a consistent career but if you have made mistakes, acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.
5 The Beginning
An Objective, Personal Profile or Competency Statement should start your CV. It should lay out who you are and what you want, giving a feel for your personality, experience and skills. Always start with your current job after the initial profile, listing your roles in reverse order and education at the end. The only exception to this is for your first job when your education is possibly more important.
6 Sell, Sell, Sell
If you don’t sell yourself no one else will. Never lie but by all means emphasis the positives and leave out the negatives. A CV is a marketing tool to sell a product – you are the product. List down what you did, what you achieved and how you made a difference, use key words that matter for any future employer.
7 Know who you are
Don’t say that you are positive and confident if you are not. Be proud of who you are and highlight your strengths. Don’t try to be something you are not, if you get a job more suited to a different personality it won’t last.
It is not unusual to have a number of different CVs in fact every single CV should be written specifically for a job. It might just be the odd tweak here or there but getting it right is so important and highlighting or emphasising different experiences or characteristics could make all the difference.
9 Sell, Make or Save
Think about what a future employer wants to know. How did you make a difference in your previous roles? Did you make money or save money or time, what did you or your team achieve. What can you bring to the table, how can you cover your costs and add value to the business?
List figures, saying you made a profit is not enough, list growth, margins and value. The number of people you helped, spoke to or dealt with.