Let’s take a step back.
For some, a CV may never have been required; whether it be through head hunting, not needing to work, or just never finding yourself being asked, some of you out there won’t have needed a CV before. You may now find yourself in a situation where you do, and a relevant and current CV is the first step to gaining potential employer’s interest in you.
Make sure you have all the relevant information
Contact details and correct spellings are a must. Email, phone number and your name (you would be surprised, this does sometimes get forgotten!), are all key pieces of information that a future employer may need to get in touch with you. Even though you have emailed it, or called the company, these are details that they do not expect to have to put in themselves, so you have to make sure everything is there.
In some areas of the world, it is recommended that you don’t put a photo on your CV. In the UAE, it is very much the opposite. Some companies/interviewers like to know what you look like before you step into their office. Make sure you add a business headshot (head and shoulders) at the top, in a format that looks corporate (usually top right-hand corner).
Short brief/personal statement
If you feel you have any standout points that will help the company in the long run, or what you feel you excel at, this is the place to put them. People read from top to bottom so if you want something specific to stand out, then this will be the first place they read, so put it in here. This would also be a good place to try and ‘sell’ yourself, why they should hire you over anyone else. However, keep it short and very much to the point!
This will make up the bulk of your CV. Make it clear; company name, position you held and the dates you were there. Very importantly, especially in this region, detail in which country your previous roles were. This helps the interviewer to gain perspective on any international experience you may have and ensures the CV is complete in detail. Bullet point your responsibilities in each role, developing and building upon each previous role. Bullet points draw the interviewer to key discussion points for the interview and makes it much easier to read.
Degree level education has become more and more important over the past few years. Put everything in. Not specific exams you may have taken in high school, but a summary of the grades achieved and what level they are at. If you have any specific qualifications that will help in your specific sector (e.g., ACCA – Accounting/Finance, CIPD – HR/Recruitment, etc.), put them on. Even if you are looking to branch out in a different sector, at a lower level, still make sure they are there.
A lot of people have a variety of interests and although these may not seem crucial to you in the role you are looking at, it may catch the interviewer’s eye and give you something to talk about during your interview that others may not. Having a common interest with an interviewer can enable you to relax a bit more and create a relationship.
This can differ from role to role, but if you have solid references that you can rely on, put them on there. It can help to expedite the process further down the line when an offer is being made. Alternatively, if you already have a written reference, make sure you let them know that you have this.
Always ensure your referees know that there is a possibility they may be contacted by a potential employer, when you are in a recruitment process.
DO NOT USE ANY DECORATION
From a recruiter, to a potential employer, having any form of word art, borders, decorations, or colour, only detracts from the content of the CV. There is really no need to have any of these things, unless you are looking at a design role. It can also cause potential problems, when you try and upload CV’s to recruitment portals, or even the company’s own careers page. Additional formatting usually means the system cannot accept the document. All CV’s should be in a clear and concise
Word Document format.
If you don’t already have a CV, don’t worry, it’s a small problem that can be easily solved. You are going to need one at some point, so there is no time like the present.