So much emphasis is placed upon a CV these days, and everyone seems to have an opinion on what is required in terms of content, length and layout. It can be a minefield which can put some people off. Well, fear no more!
We at Twentysix have read a vast amount of CVs over the years, ranging from the professional to the ‘What were they thinking!?’ so, I feel we are best placed to offer some advice to get the best from your CV, without the fuss.
Looks fancy shmancy – The format of your CV need not contain any heavy borders, colours, big bright text or indeed a picture of you from your holiday in Malaga (with your friend cropped out!). Keep it simple. Besides which, it only serves to distract from the Important information.
Drunkboidave@fakemail.com – Whilst the humorous email accounts are funny when at school, university etc. they rarely go down well when applying for work. Create a new account for the purposes of your CV and job applications. You only get one chance at a first impression.
Is this yours? – this may sound obvious but ensure you include your name and contact details on each page, in case your CV gets mixed up with other paperwork when it’s being reviewed. Your home address, telephone number (the one they are most likely to get hold of you on) and your email address should be included.
And on Page 26… – employers may be looking through hundreds of other CVs at the same time as yours. Be sure to consider the overall length of the CV and be direct about experience, by avoiding long-winded sentences – ‘Quickly promoted to…’, ‘Led team of…’, ‘Major achievements…’ are good examples.
Pole Dancer? – Yes, you might say it’s a great way to keep fit but what will the ‘Hobbies & Interests’ list say about you? If you list something such as “Cooking” you could briefly specify what in particular you enjoy making or why you like it. There’s only so many times an employer wants to see “reading and socialising with friends” listed here.
Is it rite? – spelling and grammar aren’t everybody’s strong-points but never fear, you don’t need to spend hours with a dictionary, simply use the ‘Spelling and Grammar’ function on your computer when you have finished typing-up your CV.
‘Employ’ a friend – before printing or sending-off, get someone to look through your CV for mistakes or sentences/parts which may not be clear as we often miss obvious mistakes in our own ‘work’ because we already know what it’s meant to say.
Keep it clean – If you are using a paper-copy as opposed to emailing your CV, always present it on clean paper; plain white or cream is best. Keep copies safe in a plastic folder so they don’t get ‘dog-eared’ or ripped. If you are posting, using an A4 envelope which will keep it looking professional and easier to read as opposed to one that has been folded. Remember, quite often your CV is the first impression a prospective employer will get of you so make it a good one.
All change – Don’t be tempted to print out a huge stack of CV’s once it’s complete. You should aim to edit your CV if you’re applying for different roles. Look at the type of jobs you’re applying for and make sure you highlight the relevant skills in all of your previous experience/ strengths etc. How does it relate to the job spec for this particular role/field?
Back in 1973.. – Always list your most recent work experience first. Include a job title, company name, start and finish date for each job. Use headings and underlining to differentiate the sections. List the key duties and responsibilities within that role and ensure you include any related achievements. If you have had a whole host of jobs spanning back many years, list the older roles under a covering heading such as ‘Other/previous work’.
Me, Myself and I – Don’t hold back on selling yourself! Ensure you highlight all major achievements, your strengths and what makes you desirable as an employee. These could be vocational, professional or personal points– most roles will call on a mixture of skills!
Good luck and be brave! The best person to tell others about you is you!