Your CV is usually the first thing that an employer will see. In today’s competitive job market, employers are so inundated with candidates that they are looking for reasons not to send them through to the next stage of the selection process. Here are our top tips to teach you how to write a CV that makes the cut.
Keep it short
Two sides of A4 should be the maximum length of a CV. Carefully consider how you can write your CV to use this space effectively. Keep it relevant. Will the recruiter for the engineering job you want really be interested in your Saturday job at Tesco’s when you were a teenager? Providing a brief summary of your earliest – and least relevant employment – is fine.
Front end it
Employers haven’t got time to trawl all the way through your CV to find the best bits, so make sure you have the main ‘sell’ at the top of your CV, where it is most likely to catch their attention. The easiest way to do this is to have a short personal profile at the top of your CV, where you can elaborate briefly on your key skills and achievements.
A CV should be easy on the eye, and text-heavy paragraphs and non-standard fonts are instant-turnoffs. Bullet point your role descriptions, use Arial 11 font and remember that whitespace on a CV will make it look less cluttered.
Use the right terms
Many recruiters will use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools on recruitment websites to find candidates with exactly the skills they need. In order to ensure that your CV can be picked out by search engines, ensure you use the right language. List the specific skills and qualifications you have in full (e.g. Six Sigma) and use industry-recognised technical terms where possible.
And last but certainly not least, a crucial thing to remember when learning how to write a CV…
Check your spelling
Spell-check is a readily available tool in most word processing software, but it’s amazing how many candidates neglect to use it. Not even taking time to proof-read your own CV isn’t going to invite confidence in your work ethic or attention to detail and will almost guarantee that your CV ends up on the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ file. Use spell-check and ask a friend to proof-read your CV to help weed out any other mistakes.
When your CV is potentially going against hundreds of others you need to do the right things right in order to get noticed, and by following this advice you should find it easier to write a CV that will really help you to stand out from the crowd.