- Stacey Baker
CV Writing Tips - Lets find the silver lining!
When it comes to your CV, it is vital that you make sure it perfect. It is the first thing that a future employer will see of you and will be the deciding factor on whether you are shortlisted for an interview or not.
Here are a few tips that will help when it comes to ensuring that your CV is as clear, concise and to the point as it can be.
1. Make it simple
Simple font, simple layout, to the point. We find that the most simplistic CVs, with experience (title, dates, company) followed by education (where, dates, qualifications), and ending with anything else you want to add (interests, languages, voluntary experience, etc), have the greatest feedback. A fancy background, border and fonts might look good, but they have zero impact and can draw the reader away from what you do. Quite often these CV’s can be rejected by specific application portals as the computer can not format the text correctly.
When it comes to each role, use bullet points instead of large blocks of text. This will make things a lot easier for anyone reading it to go through and understand. It also immediately draws the reader in. Make sure to highlight your headings, as it will enable an easier breakdown and simplicity if someone is looking for something specific.
2. Don’t make it too long
You have to remember that your CV is going to be one of many, so a potential employer is not going to have the time to spend reading through a book! Keep it down to three pages and be mindful of being repetitive. As your career has grown, so too will your responsibilities, so each position should have the new responsibilities, rather than repeating the same parts of the role you had outlined previously.
Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for!
If you are looking for a job, you are going to be sending out a lot of CVs, however sending out a generic copy to everyone could be detrimental to your success. If you see a role that you want or know the sort of role you are looking for, make sure your CV is relevant to that role. When describing your past roles, include things you did that will be relevant in the role you are applying for. For example, if you are an social media manager applying for an content manager position, it would be a waste of time to write about how you managed the media accounts, as this would not be something you would look at in a content role. You should look at listing the content that you made and how it impacted the social media channels.
Make sure you don’t forget to add in your contact details. Without this, no one will be able to reach out to you, and therefore interviews cannot be confirmed. It is also a massive benefit, especially out here in the Middle East to have a photo on your CV. Although this is a personal choice, it is recommended. If you do not already have a professional headshot (white background, head and shoulders), then put on a shirt and jacket, stand in front of a white wall, and make it happen! DO NOT use a selfie that you think had good lighting, or a photograph taken whilst you were on your last night out. They may look good, but not the sort of impression you want to be making when applying for a role.
5. Be Specific
Again, if you are looking for a role, you will be sending a lot of CVs out, but make sure every email you send is personalised to the company you are sending it too. The worst mistake you can make is to send a blanket copy to your entire list of HR/Recruitment personnel, as they will see this, and potentially write you off straight away, as it shows lack of attention to detail. Take some time to try and find the name of the person you want to address the email too (LinkedIn is a great source of information in this regard ), make sure you name the job you are applying/looking for, and that the body of the email is relevant.
6. Check it!
It sounds simple, but make sure you double check everything before your CV leaves your computer. Get a friend or family member to go through it, give you any opinions they have, and take constructive criticism. Spell check, grammar check, and make sure everything is in line (no different fonts, no different sizes, no different colours and, each section is laid out the same way).
I cannot stress enough how important it is for your CV to be as good as you are. Your CV is your introduction and first impressions mean everything, so make sure it counts.