CV’s or Curriculum Vitae’s to use their full name are a tool that people use in order to apply for job vacancies. They come in all types of styles and the content varies dependent on the individual writing them and what they think they should look like! They shouldn’t be as scary as people can sometimes perceive. In essence they are all about selling you and making you stand out from the crowd and believe it or not there is a science to how to write an effective CV.
In this World it is not surprising that the competition for applying for roles is hotting up and you can typically expect to be one of hundreds of applicants for just one vacancy alone. So what can you do to blow your competition away? Applying the following guidelines will certainly help.
There are some simple things that you can do right now to make your CV amazing and really leave a positive impression with any potential employer. So here they are the 7 ways you can really make an impact with your CV:
- Talk in the first person
A common mistake I often see when reading CV’s is the tendency that some people have to speak about themselves impartially. What do I mean by this? Simply put stop using grammar that comes across like you are talking about someone else. For example the line ‘A dedicated and passionate person who cares about their results’ sounds much better and personable if it is written in the following way ‘I am a dedicated and passionate person who cares about getting great results’. Make it sound as if you are writing your CV and not having an out of body experience!
- Use the same font throughout the document
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen people start off in Times New Roman font and by the end of the CV the font has changed to Arial? This is just simply down to making sure you are checking what you are producing and ensuring you are using the same font throughout the document. My personal preference is using the font Verdana. But you may have a different one you prefer. However whatever font you do choose make sure it is easy on the eye and easy to read. A font that is difficult to read will be an instant turn off for whoever is looking at your CV.
- Size matters
Okay it is true in this instance the myth that size matters is absolutely right. It echoes back to the same issue with regards to using the same font, make sure the font size is the same and matches with the area of the CV you are writing. For example I use Verdana size 10 for the main body of the CV but change the font size to 12 for the headers. Just make sure it looks neat and consistent throughout as again this is an instant no from an employer if you can’t get the basics right.
Finally regarding size I couldn’t not also mention length. You have probably heard this a thousand times before but it really is important that you try and get all of your information in your CV onto 2 sides of A4. Waffling on about stuff you did 10 years ago does not matter. It is the here and now that potential employers are really focussing on with a snapshot of what your experience is. Don’t fall into the trap of writing a 4 page CV, trust me it won’t get read.
- Make use of a table to show off your assets
This point is really important and is so easy to do. It is often not done by many people so it will instantly make your CV stand out more. Use a simple table to showcase your assets. What do I mean by this. Well typically in CV’s people will write something as follows:
- Ability to work under pressure
- Organisational skills
- Time Management
- Project Work
- Attention to detail
And so on …….
But presenting the same information with a few play on words in the following way rather than just a list gives it the wow factor:
My Top 6 Assets
|I thrive being part of a team||I am an expert in project management|
|I possess strong organisational skills||I have an ability to remain calm and deliver results when under pressure|
|I am an effective time manager and consistently meet deadlines||Attention to detail, always striving for improvement in my work|
Someone reading this will immediately be drawn to the table layout and is more likely to read the content than if it was in a listed layout. It looks better too and also saves space. What more persuasion do you need?
- Bullet points are a must
You probably already know this but it still doesn’t stop people from writing lengthy paragraphs in their CV that quite frankly are going to be difficult to digest and will be skim read. Therefore make it easier for it to be read by using bullet points to highlight key areas you want the reader to take note of. You are not writing a novel, you are writing a snapshot of your career that will only get about 30 seconds worth of attention if you are lucky. So do yourself a favour and make use of bullet points.
- Use clear tangible examples to demonstrate your expertise
This is where a lot of people fall down when it comes to including content in their CV. They explain their key skills and experience but often fail to back it up with a great example. Scenario based examples are a must these days in the world of recruitment and if you don’t have a couple in your CV to back up what you are saying then you will probably end up with the 99.9% of CV’s that don’t make a real impact.
I am not suggesting you have to write war and peace to make your point but you should say something to show you really do what it says on the tin. For example if you work in sales why wouldn’t you include some sales figures that you have achieved to prove you have hit target for your employer. Get it in there and really make a powerful statement about your abilities.
- Never feel shy. Sell yourself!
Being the typical British peeps we are we often trip up at this stumbling block. We simply do not like to show off or shout about our achievements. We are far too reserved for that and surely all it does is make us look as if we are arrogant. Wrong! Get this notion out of your head immediately. If you can’t sell yourself then who will? You are your own best salesperson and if you don’t tell people with whistles on what you are capable of doing then you will be missing out on a ton of vacancies.
People will not think you are a big head. They will be impressed and take note of what you have to say. So don’t be shy and celebrate the fact you are you and let people know how great you are.
So these are the 7 killer tips I wanted to share with you to get your CV rocking and to grab the attention of potential employers.
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