How to ensure your CV makes you the most attractive candidate for the role
If you’re looking to land a new job, you need a quality CV that will impress employers and recruiters alike. From formatting and style to content and language, it’s crucial that every element of your CV is flawless.
So we’ve rounded up the best CV writing tips to help you land plenty of job interviews in 2020 and beyond.
- Do your research
Before you begin writing your CV, the first this you must do is research your target roles. To ensure that you CV will be successful, it needs to contain skills and experiences that your desired employers are looking for.
Go onto job boards, scan through lots of relevant job adverts and make a list of the most sought-after requirements for your target roles.
Once you have this list, you know exactly what skills and knowledge you should be highlighting in your CV.
This step is crucial because without it, you will simply be using guesswork to create your CV.
- Break up text
Make it easy for recruiters to spot your talents by breaking text up into easily digestible sections.
Huge chunks of text are off-putting for readers and make it difficult for recruiters to pick out the information they need.
If you were reading hundreds of CVs every week, would you want to read through a paragraph like this one below?
- Top Quarter of your CV
The top of your CV is hugely important, as it the very first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will see upon opening it.
Make a big impact by selling yourself with an attractive profile.
Keep it short and sharp in order to hold readers’ attention, summarise your most valuable skills and highlight the benefits of employing you.
- Core Skills
For your “Core Skills” focus on hard skills such as:
- Industry Specific skills
- IT System knowledge
The purpose is to give readers a very quick snapshot of what you have to offer and whether you are a good fit for their vacancy at first glance.
For best results, ensure that you tailor your core skills to reflex the criteria for the role you are applying for.
Avoid generic clichés such as “hard working”, “team player”, “enthusiastic”, “out-of-the-box thinker”, although these phrases appear impressive at first glance, they do not tell the recruiters anything factual about you. To show recruiters that you are hard working or a team player, use examples and illustrate the results you achieved to prove it.
- Professional Title
To be at the top of the list for recruiters, add a professional title to your CV, next to your name.
This will tell recruiters what type of candidate you are.
Tailor your title towards each role you apply for and you will appear as a suitable candidate from the very moment your CV is opened.
- Add plenty of detail on your most recent/ current role
Your most recent role is the area of your CV that will be scrutinized the most by recruiters and employers, so it’s imperative that you provide enough detail to explain it fully.
The below example gives you a rough idea of the space t should take up on your CV.
- Shorten Older Roles
If you are an experienced candidate with years of experience, there is no need to write huge amounts of detail on your older roles.
Recruiters will be focusing on your recent work to understand your current capabilities, so shorten older roles down to brief summaries to give readers an idea of your career path.
- What was your impact?
It is important that you illustrate your responsibilities and what impact your actions had for that employer.
For example, instead of just writing:
“Sourcing and approaching potential customers.”
Expand to show your impact:
“Sourcing and approaching potential customers to generate leads for the sales team and build pipeline.”
You may not be able to do this for every point on your CV, but always try to where possible.
Give a high level summary of your roles as it can be confusing to recruiters if you keep it vague. Therefore, give your role descriptions some context by heading them up with a high-level summary that explains what the employer does, where you sit within the organisation and how your role benefits the employer.
Structure your CV for easy navigation, there is no point having your previous roles not in reverse chronological order and name and core skills right at the bottom. You want to entice the recruiters and keep them focused on your CV. Put key words in your CV relating to the role whereby a CV scanning software will be able to pick it up.
Your CV should be ideally 2 pages but for the more experience candidate this will be harder to do, therefore 3 pages and no longer will suffice.
Ensure the font is simple not fancy or difficult to read. Although a picture of yourself may give your CV an edge, a recruiter should not be focused on what you look like but rather the quality of the candidate.
Use professional language, your CV should be a gleaming example of your written communication skills, so ensure that you write in a consistently professional manner.
Recruiters will assume that your CV language reflects the way you will communicate in the workplace, so construct your sentences properly and use a wide vocabulary.
Every part of your CV will be judged by employers, so it needs to reflect your professionalism at all times.
If you’ve labelled the top of your CV with an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, it won’t create the best first impression.
MS Word is the most commonly used CV format, so sending in Word will ensure that your CV can be read and passes through any CV scanning software.
Also, there will be occasions where recruiters need to quickly make edits to your CV before sending on to hiring managers. For example some organisations require recruitment agencies to transfer all candidates CVs into a company standard format before submitting – and sometimes they will just need to remove contact details before forwarding.
Sending your CV in Word means it is readily editable and recruiters will be able to get your CV across to hiring managers more quickly than if you had sent in PDF and they had to chase you for a Word version. This will help you to get your CV in front of decision makers before other candidates.
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