In the modern working world there is so much competition, even if you have high level degrees and qualifications there’s no guarantee of a job anymore. Rather than just a good CV, which has the necessary ingredients for a role, you need an effective one that draws employers in and gives them more variety than a more generic version. The difference being that it grabs the attention of the reader/potential employer not just by demonstrating your skills but the extra forms of employability that make you more attractive as an interview prospect. Read on to find out HPC’s tips for writing an effective and attractive CV…
Clear layout & planning
Firstly, gather all your thoughts on paper on what your perfect CV should look like and always keep in mind viewing it from the employer’s point of view. It is important you have your CV clearly laid out with categories that help you promote your skills and qualifications. The standard categories would be: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and some references.
Factor in things like how formal you want your CV to be, particularly if you’re in an artier or graphic design based profession that gives you extra freedom in this aspect of presentation. For example, if you applying to be a graphic designer, why not incorporate that into your CV presentation to showcase some of your talents as this can show initiative as well as demonstrate skills.
Don’t send out too many CVs (that’s not say don’t apply for as many as possible), take your time and prepare for each one you send. The approach of applying for hundreds of random jobs doesn’t work as well in most cases and you may not even be interested in the job when you properly consider the role. Tailor your CV to the role and research the company, with careful consideration for what they look for in employees. Different CVs for different roles and jobs is something everyone should consider doing, adapting in this way can really make your CV much more specific to the job you’re aiming at.
Tailor your CV to the role that you want
Leading on from many of the points in the first section, this is a key part of what employers will be looking for in applicants. They have to know from your CV that you can succeed in the chosen field and ensure you are fully committed to the career they are offering, with the necessary skills to start and interest in the role. Read the job description multiple times to make sure you know what the role is and the skills required. If you meet the majority of requirements add a note of the ones you don’t have (see highlight and adapt skills to help more with this one), you can then think of how you can compensate for any shortcomings. Bearing in mind that if you don’t have a major attribute, such as a certain degree required, it is very unlikely you will be considered and you should concentrate on more realistic options.
Get the basics right
Tiny mistakes in spelling or grammar can have big consequences, employers will be getting a lot of applications from people with the same skills as you, so don’t give them a reason to make a hard decision easier by cutting you from a shortlist due to a simple spelling error. The key to avoiding this is keep checking your CV and once you’re sure there’s no mistake, check again!
Make sure your presentation is right, if it is a paper copy it should be on a neat and bright white sheet of paper that is well kept, preferably in a folder or see through envelope. This gives the employer an insight into your overall presentation and effort. It might seem like a small thing but this is as big a part of making a first impression as how you dress. Choose intelligent wording on your CV, if you don’t have the best English skills then google can be useful when trying to find better words or phrasing for what you want to say.
Highlight and adapt skills
Highlight your strengths and adapting your weaknesses can make your CV have a much stronger air of confidence and enhance your skills. When you read the job description there may be areas which you don’t have enough or no experience at all in, try and adapt any skills in your repertoire to particular needs. For example, in a marketing job you can mention experience of working in a local shop and how this has improved your customer service and communication skills. Although it is not directly related to the job there are many transferable skills and you need to be able to express them in your CV, as well as during your interview. Keep your CV up to date as this can add into your employability, it will hopefully add things you didn’t have before or highlight a new skill example.
Don’t over-do it
For younger people, make sure you add as much as possible and make the most of any experience you have including out of school activities. However, for older applicants make sure you don’t include too much, particularly if you have a wealth of experience anyway. Analyse what you’re writing and whether it will improve your chances of getting the job. Leave them wanting more and never go over having 2 A-4 pages for your entire CV!
Make it as diverse as possible
Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you helped run your university’s student newspaper, think of all the skills you need and improved to do that. Include anything that shows diversity of skills as employers will prefer this over a standard candidate. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV or solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills and aren’t appropriate to the job.
So that’s your guide to CV guide, we hoped that helped you clear up any issues you’ve been having…
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