10 Key Points on Writing a CV For Success
It’s a fascinating fact when you think about it but most people spend more time on preparing for their interview than they do in getting their CV ready. It’s fascinating because it takes a good CV that stands out to get you to the interview.
What are Employers looking for?
Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) will be used by the employer to establish the following:
1. You meet the requirements of the job
2. You have experience in the field or similar industry
3. You have a proven record
4. A CV that is clear, to the point and easy to read
5. Information that sets you aside from your competition
We will now have a look at the layout of your CV. This is the layout I have used and it has been successful.
Personal Details – Full Name, Address, E-mail Address, Contact Number
Career History – Starting from the most recent. This needs to include your Employer, position and the dates between which you were employed there.
Education & Qualifications – This should be from most recent including the name of the school, college or university you attended, your qualifications and the dates you attended. It should also include any other relevant qualifications for the job.
Skills and Achievements – This should include any courses you have taken to improve your skills e.g. Presentation skills course but only if it is relevant to the position. It should also include any awards you may have achieved in work or major achievements in your interests e.g. competing on your national team for a sport etc.
Additional Information – This should include 3-5 lines on your personal profile. This is your opportunity to show your softer skills e.g. communication, target driven, people development etc.
Think of your CV as your introduction. Like any good marketing poster it should make them want to find out more by bringing you to interview where you can close the deal.
Points to think about when completing your CV
The first thing the employer or recruitment agency will do is sift CV’s to ensure they cover they cover the requirements of the job. It is therefore important to read the Job spec carefully and highlight essential requirements and qualities they are looking for. Most job specs now state the requirements separately so this is what they will be looking for during the sifting. It’s hard to believe but this usually takes 20 seconds per CV and if you have clearly stated that you have the requirements you will be put on the YES pile for a more detailed look.
When the employer looks at your CV in more detail they will looking for someone who clearly has experience of the responsibilities within the role and that they have a proven track record. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry but you must clearly present to them how you have experience in what they need.
You do this through your Career History. Bullet point your experiences and responsibilities and make them specific. You need to prove what you have done e.g.
‘Improved sales within x by 25% by implementing x strategy.’
This is clear, to the point and shows your proven success.
Once you have completed your overall CV for one job then you can tailor individual points within that CV for specific jobs. Don’t use the same CV for all. It will be too general and not bring out your best qualities for that particular job.
Your CV is only to get you to interview so you don’t need to go into reams of detail. It should be short to the point covering the essentials so that the employer can see you match what they are looking for. It should be 2 pages if possible but 3 at the maximum.
It should be an honest reflection of who you are. Don’t lie on your CV because you think it will be more impressive. It will only make your interview more uncomfortable and they will catch you out.
Always send a covering letter with your CV. This should not be a regurgitation of what is on your CV. This is your opportunity to stand apart from the rest. It should only be about 3-4 paragraphs. It is a good idea to include some information that shows you are up to speed with the industry and with one of the paragraphs summarising how you pass the criteria and one to say why you want this job and what you can bring to it.
If you have been requested to post your CV (they are all usually by e-mail these days) make sure to print it on good quality paper.
This is just a personal opinion but I always found it best to state that References are available on request rather than putting details on the CV.
Make sure to run your CV through spell checker and read it several times to make sure it is clear. It is a good idea to get someone else to proof read it for you.
Be sure to get your CV into as many recruitment agencies as you can. This will improve your chances of success as they will also sell you to the employer.
Once you have your CV sent and you have an interview it is time to prepare for that. If you get an opportunity to talk to the employer before the interview or the recruitment consultant ask them what it was that they really liked about your CV. This will give you some indications as to what to prepare well for as they will no doubt want to pursue these things further during interview.
All is left to say is I hope you found this useful and good luck with your job hunting.