CV writing is an art in its own right. There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to CV writing. No Generic CVs please! Your CV should be viewed as the golden ticket to securing an interview for your ideal job! The way to do it is implement these top tips and you’re well on your way….
1). Get the basics right: make sure to use a clear and concise structure/format. Some key information to include is contact details, personal profile, work history and/or work experience, education/qualifications, relevant skills to the job, interests and references. It is crucial that the time line is accurate with start dates and end dates for employment and education. Potential employers want to get a sense of your longevity in a role or with a particular organisation. Spelling and grammar are vitally important. If you get this wrong early on; your CV is at risk of being moved into the NOT shortlisted pile!
2). Profile: The profile section of your CV will be read and may determine whether or not the employer reads any further. A well written and focused profile should highlight your relevant experience and skills in a snapshot. Keep it short and concise (use the job description to help you select the key skills to focus on before writing your profile piece).
3). Don’t Undersell Yourself: This is your opportunity to sell yourself, your skills and your experience. Think of your CV as a Sales Brochure. Ask yourself what selling points are going to attract the employer’s attention and call me for an interview? The best way to do this is to carefully read the job description and the person specification supplied by the employer/recruiter. Make notes on the key elements and attributes outlined. Match your current skill set and your experience to the job description and specification.
Your Skill set should be customised to every job you apply for. There are some key skills that all employers look for in an employee. Some examples are: communication skills, people skills, team skills, organisational skills and problem solving. It is not enough to list these skills; you must provide evidence that you have demonstrated these skills in a work or personal situation. For instance: “demonstrated excellent communication skills and team working skills when you organised a family fun run for you children’s school”.
4). Interests/Achievements: Firstly stay clear of the word “Hobbies”, this is very much a term you will see on a CV of a teenager. As an adult pursuing a career the words “interests and achievements” read better and come across very professional. This section provides you with the opportunity to add some personality to your CV. However there is a fine line. While it is good to show some personality you must balance the act of professionalism too.
It is very boring to see a list of interests reeled off such as “watching TV, reading, playing computer games, keeping fit and spending time with family and friends”. Use the Interests and Achievements section of your CV to demonstrate attributes your potential employer is looking for e.g. team player – manage/train an underage football team for the local soccer club demonstrates organisational skills. Volunteering twice a week to read to the elderly demonstrates empathy and kindness, skills required is a Healthcare or Childcare position. Use this opportunity to sell and push your key skills one last time before your CV comes to an end.
5). References: Many CVs will state “available on request”. This is one sure way of your CV to end up in the NOT shortlisted pile once again. Remember you are seeking an interview; make it as easy as possible for the prospective employer/recruiter to find out good information about you. Provide at least two references, ideally from your most recent employment. Make sure that you have permission to supply use someone as a referee. You don’t want a prospective employer/recruiter to contact one of your referees to find out that individual no longer works there or worse again does not remember you. Make sure to call the referee and get permission and inform them of the role you are applying for and what it entails. By doing this when your referee gets the call they will be fully versed and in a much stronger position to give positive feedback about your work ethic and capabilities.
If you require more support and advice on CV preparation, please don’t hesitate to contact the Swilly Group Recruitment Division. Telephone (074) 9151212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more how we can help you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tara McAssey is an Employment Officer and Recruitment Consultant with Swilly Group. She has been offering career planning advice for many years. She has supported many employers with candidate searches and has a wide network of employer contacts across a number of industry sectors.