To write a great CV (or a resume, as many refer to it), you don’t need to be William Shakespeare. In fact, writing your CV is far from a literary act. It should be clean and clear, with engaging language that presents you in a professional manner. There are some things that will make you look good, and other things that will make you look bad. You should be aware of the positive and the negative so that you know both how to improve, and the traps that are out there. Here are our ten top tips:
Things to Avoid:
1. Spelling Mistakes
A prospective employer won’t notice if you don’t make any spelling mistakes. But if you do make one it will stand out a mile. It gives an incredibly bad impression and tells the employer that you rush work and lack attention to detail. Don’t let a spelling mistake be your downfall!
2. Personal Pronoun
Despite being a document that says everything about your career, your CV should avoid being overly personal. At this point, an employer is much more interested in what you can do as opposed to who you are so it’s best to avoid the personal pronoun “I”.
Instead of this:
I consistently demonstrated my ability to meet targets
Consistently demonstrated ability to meet targets
This will give your CV a greater air of professionalism.
3. Being Generic
An employer can instantly tell the difference between a CV that has been sent out to hundreds of employers and one that has been tailored to a specific job. Tailoring your CV tells an employer that you are interested in their job, and that you will put that extra effort in to get what you want. A tailored CV will put you strides ahead of people who just send out blanket CVs. A blanket CV will tell that employer that they are just one job among many that you are applying for.
4. Getting the Guidelines Wrong
If the job advertisement asks for a two page functional CV then that’s what you should send. If they ask for a chronological CV with details of all of your past employment then you should send that. Pay close attention to the guidelines and make sure you follow them to the letter. Any mistake will tell that employer that you aren’t good at following instructions – not a good impression to make!
It is hugely important to be honest on your CV. You should definitely put yourself in a good and positive light, and make the best out of all of your achievements, however small. But you should never lie on your CV. If you do you could get found out and fired. This will not only cause you pain but could make it more difficult to get jobs in the future as that employer may refuse to give you a reference.
Ways to Beef Up a Resume:
6. Be Specific
Be very specific about your achievements and, where possible, quantify. If you have increased annual turnover by £10,000 then make that very clear. If you have increased staff productivity say that. Don’t be afraid to include figures. It will impress your prospective employer and give a clear, concrete example of the types of things that you are capable of.
7. Create an Image
Whereas you want to be avoid being overly personal, you should still see your CV as an opportunity to create your image. This will depend very much on the type of job that you are going for. If you are going for a design job then your CV will be the place where you can get creative. If you are going for a management job you will want your CV to look professional. Try and find out what the standard for your industry is and work around that. An academic, for example, will have to include lists of their publications, an actor a list of their productions. Make sure you find out what you should be doing, and then do it even better.
Put the things that are the most important at the top of any list.
Maintained records, filing and office supply purchasing for departmentWorked closely with the President to develop strategic direction
Worked closely with the President to develop strategic directionMaintained records, filing and office supply purchasing for department
Remember that the person reading your CV may have read hundreds already and will be skimming through them to see what stands out. Make sure the most important information is the easiest to get to.
9. Have Direction
padding. Say where you plan to be and how you will get there. In your covering letter you can go into detail about how this particular job will help you to achieve your goals.
10. Use PAR Statements
PAR means Problem-Action-Results. To use a PAR statement first state the problem, then state the action that you took, and finish with the results. Here are some examples:
Took control of an inefficient and disorganized office, streamlining processes and introducing new management guidelines, to increase efficiency by 50%.
Improved a catering company’s low sales figures by implementing an online sales system which increased annual turnover by $12,000.
Follow these tips to produce an excellent CV which will get you far on your way to getting hired!