We all know a CV is as important to a job search as the toy is to a Happy Meal; the question is how do we get it right? Are you supposed to open with a witty joke? Maybe you should stamp a generic cover letter with ‘Dear Sir’ at the top of the page? Should you stick a fabulous selfie in the middle of the page or to the right? Regardless of all the ideas you could come up with to create the most attractive CV possible there are some staple pointers that need to be remembered and while some of these ideas may seem obvious, believe it or not, not everyone is following this advice. Here are 5 top tips to help you while you write your CV.
1. Keep your CV to a maximum of 2 pages.
A CV is your opportunity to exhibit the skills and responsibilities you have undertaken during your working career, it is not an excuse to showcase every job you have had over the last 30 years. You should explain the last few jobs you have had but you don’t need to go into detail for every job since 1982. The filing and cleaning role you had at the local Post Office when you were 16 is irrelevant when you have since qualified and worked in a number of top legal firms.
2. Your CV should be clear and concise
There is nothing more irritating than wasting time trying to understand a person’s CV; in fact most employers won’t even bother. It is amazing the amount of resume’s that fall onto our desks that have margins all over the place, 4 different fonts in 1 paragraph, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes and sometimes highly inappropriate hobbies. Agencies will often help tidy your CV but as an adult professional living in the current computer-reliant society that we live in, it should be unnecessary for anyone to clean up your CV! Learn the difference between ‘their’, ‘there’ and ‘they’re’, consider what context you are writing in (many people tend to move between past tense and present tense), spell check constantly – don’t just rely on MS Word to check for you and most importantly keep everything neat and tidy!
3. Work History should be relevant
As an Agency sifting through hundreds of applications a day we are often looking directly at your work experience to match you with our client’s requirements, if the first job on your CV says 2008 -2009, you could easily be overlooked so make sure your most recent full-time, permanent role is at the top of your work history section! Read the job specification for the job you are applying for and ensure as many relevant responsibilities and experience are included in your recent work history. Very often experience gets you the job.
4. Name and contact details should be easily found
Do you know what happens if you don’t include contact details on your CV? You can’t be contacted! It may seem ridiculous but many perfectly suitable candidates will be thrown away purely because we have no way of getting in touch. You should also make sure the name you are writing on the top of your resume is exactly the same as the name you want to be referred to. It is all very well writing your nickname and your maiden name on your application but calling up under your full married name won’t help the consultant when they’re looking for your file.
5. Hobbies should be appropriate
We know that the Hobbies and Interests section of your CV is your chance to show what kind of person you really are, but keep in mind the people reading this section could be your future employers. There is a fine line between boring, interesting and downright inappropriate. We’re sure many people share your love of hunting and long romantic walks to the fridge, but the Director of that top Animal Rights firm you want to work for might not be so impressed. Of course this isn’t always the case with every job but certainly when seeking an Office role it is important to find a balance between showcasing your individual personality and remaining professional.
Let us know if you have any more tips and pointers for other candidates in the comments below!