Your CV is the first information an employer will receive about you when you apply for a role, so is fundamental to improving your chances of securing your desired career move.
But jobseekers often neglect to spend the necessary time on their CV, meaning they miss out on potential career opportunities (or at very least, valuable interview practice).
This section covers a range of hints and tips to help improve your CV, including:
- The aim of a CV
- How to present your CV
- Which words to choose
- Common CV issues
The aim of a CV
The aim of an effective CV is simple - to get interest in yourself from a prospective employer, which should then lead to an interview.
Your CV needs to demonstrate that you are the right person for the job and stand out from the crowd, you should defintely ensure that your cv includes:
- Personal qualities that you feel are your strength and needed for the role
- Particulalr skill sets you have aquired in your previous roles that will be useful for the employer
Given the number of cv's the employer is likely to receive, your CV should be:
- Short enough to read quickly and ideally no more than two pages
- Clearly laid out in a logical order ( reverse chronological iemost recent at the top), with sufficient spacing and clear section headings
- Relevant for the role, demonstrating that you can fulfil the job role and are the right sort of person
How to present your CV
Your CV is a reflection of yourself, so you need to ensure that it looks professional and well laid-out. In particular, you should:
- Choose a clear, professional typeface to ensure that your CV can be easily read (we always use Arial at Austin Andrew)
- At all costs avoid typos or spelling mistakes, not only by spell checking but by proof reading your own CV, or perhaps asking someone else to proof read it
- Organise your document into clear headings (work experience, education) so that these can easily be "scan read"
- Order your experience and education into reverse chronological order to highlight your most recent experience
Additionally, it should be easy to appraise your key skills and experience to determine whether you are appropriate for the role.
Which words to use on your CV
You cv should sell yourself to a potential employer and highlight your skills and attributes that you can bring to a new job. To achieve this, you should describe yourself in terms that make you sound positive and pro-active.
When describing your previous experience and responsibilities, you should use pro-active descriptions that highlight your achievements and what you accomplished in your previous role
Common CV Issues
My CV would fill at least four pages
In many cases, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to fit all of your skills, experience and education into a two-page CV. However, when putting together a CV you should bear in mind that:
- Employers are most interested in skills and experience relevant for the job you’re applying for
- Your most recent experience and educational achievements will be more interesting to potential employers
- Shorter CVs will be easier to read and so your CV will be more likely to receive a proper appraisal
I’ve had gaps between jobs
Many jobseekers at some stage in their life have had a gap in their career, for travelling, whilst changing jobs or for a range of other reasons.
Gaps should always be explained on a cv and never just left, you can always put in the fact that you were travelling or chose to wait for the right jon to come along whilst looking
All of the jobs I’ve done have been very similar
If you’ve undertaken very similar tasks and responsibilities in all of your jobs, you will probably want to avoid noting down all of these jobs on your CV.
A solution to this is to simply provide a brief summary of your career history, with a 'more details' section outlining the practical skills and experience you have gained from all of these.
This section is a good opportunity to highlight the skills you have matching the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
I don’t have many qualifications
If you don’t have many qualifications to include in your CV, you can still emphasise skills and experience you have gained in your work or elsewhere.
If a lack of qualifications is hindering your progress you could apply for part-time training, increasing your qualifications and demonstrating a willingness to learn to potential employers.