Your CV is often how you make a first impression on an employer. You CV must put across the right message, have the right presentation, and have no mistakes. You can use the following five points to assist you to create your own CV.
- List achievements, not duties
- Tailor your CV
- Avoid typing errors, poor spelling and grammar mistakes
- Make it easy to read and look good
- The correct length
Employers often receive a great deal of CVs and therefore they must decide who they’re going to interview from the selection, therefore it is vital yours stands out. Here are some ways to make your CV stand out for all the right reasons.
List Achievements, Not Duties
Your CV should sell your achievements as an individual.
Phrases like ‘responsible for ordering stock’ can make your CV read like a job description. Instead, describe what you did and what the positive outcome was, for instance, ‘by closely monitoring sales trends and stock levels, I reduced ‘out of stock’ instances by 25%’.
Using ‘active’ language and not ‘passive’ language makes your CV sound more energetic. For example, changing wording such as ‘involved in the promotion of the company at industry events…’ to ‘I promoted the company at industry events…’ This makes you sound like a ‘doer’, rather than someone who was just ‘involved’.
Tailor your CV
Avoid sending out the same CV to hundreds of employers. Bulk mailshots are too general and unfocused, and employers can identify them.
Instead, personalise your CV to sell your most relevant skills. Consider what skills the employer might be looking for and highlight your most appropriate experiences.
For instance, if you’ve got experience in retail and care work, and you’re applying for a job in a shop, make sure your retail experience is easier to see on your CV than the care experience.
Avoid typing errors, poor spelling and grammar mistakes
Mistakes can make it seem like you haven’t put the time in, or you don’t think details are important. A tidy error free CV shows you’re professional, thorough and care about how you portray yourself.
It’s also good idea to have your CV checked by someone whose English is good, even if yours is good too. Spellcheckers can miss things, like the difference between ‘tuck’ and ‘took’.
Make it easy to read and look good
Don’t include too much information or your CV may look cluttered. Avoid long paragraphs with very little white space.
Bullet pointed lists and short sentences make your CV easier to read and easier for recruiters to examine key points.
You don’t need to print your CV on bright coloured paper or over a picture. A ‘daring’ visual approach is only suitable for creative jobs. Also, don’t mix up your fonts for visual effect because it may look untidy and disorganised.
The correct length
The rule of thumb is that a CV should be no more than 2 pages long. If you’ve a lot of relevant experience at a high level, you could exceed 2 pages.
If you’re just starting out in your career, 1 page is fine. If your CV goes back a long way into your work history, make sure the information is relevant to the job you’re applying for. A Sunday job you had 10 years ago probably won’t be relevant.
Tips for writing a Cover Letter
Along with CV’s, employers often receive a great deal of covering letters to accompany them, therefore it is vital yours stands out. Here are five ways to make your letter also stand out for all the right reasons.
- Tailor to the organisation
- Identify your USP’s
- Include examples
Tailor to the organisation
Every time you apply for a new job vacancy you should rewrite a new covering letter in order to directly target your chosen company. Sending out a generic letter for all applications rarely receives positive results as recruiters often spot the lack of time and effort put into them.
Never solely rely on a computer spellchecker to pick up every spelling mistake, typo’s such as misspelling words such as ‘meet’ and ‘meat’ may not be identified. It is advised to print off your cover letter and double-check for spelling and grammar errors and ask a family member or friend to look over the letter too.
Presentation is imperative so you’ll need to format your cover letter correctly. Make sure the document is as uncluttered as possible, use the same font and size as you use in your CV and if you’re sending it through the post or handing it in make sure you use good quality white paper to print it on.
Identify your USPs
Your USP’s are your unique selling points. Be positive about what you have to offer and clearly outline how your skills and experience meet those required in the job description. Reveal to them why you’re the perfect candidate for the vacant position.
Back up your claims in your cover letter with real evidence or examples that show how and when you’ve used your skills and experience to become the perfect candidate for the new position.