Your CV is your most valuable tool when applying for new career opportunities. It is your chance to make your first impression, tell your story, highlight your achievements and set your aspirations.
After all, if you don’t really use your CV to its’ full potential, then how will a prospective employer use it to establish your potential?
At SimkissGuy, we know that you are unique and we want to do all we can to help you in your search for a new career opportunity. Your CV is a snapshot of you, your experience and personality should shine through. It can be a challenge knowing where to start, so here are some top tips to help you on your way.
You want your CV to look clean, sharp and professional. Ideally you are looking for a document that is two pages long. If you are really struggling for space then three pages is acceptable, but absolutely no more than this.
A classic layout of white page with black text is essential; choose a nicely presented font that is clear and easy to read. Over recent years there has been a trend towards adding a photograph to a CV, but this is not something we would recommend. It takes up space and will detract attention away from your job winning skills.
Have your name, address and contact details at the top and centre of the page. Do not include your date of birth. Ensure you use correct punctuation, grammar and spelling throughout your CV. Do not just rely on spellcheck. Proof read several times and cast a critical eye. Give to a trusted friend with a great eye for detail to check too. Look at your CV as though seeing it for the first time.
Avoid long paragraphs and large chunks of text: you will lose the interest of the reader. Is there any wasted space? Make sure you avoid any slang words and acronyms that may be only relevant to your particular industry or employer as this may not mean anything to a reader who does not know your particular area of expertise.
Tailor your CV to the opportunity that you are applying for. Read through the job description and highlighted qualities that the role requires. What sort of employee are they looking for? Where can you add value to their business? What makes you unique? How can you evidence those crucial qualities throughout your CV? Use positive language consistently and don’t be afraid to let your achievements shine through. Be proud of your CV and confident in your own abilities to make a difference to the business you are hoping to work in.
Use personal statements to give an overview of you. It should be a short, succinct paragraph and needs to grab the attention of the reader. Use it to bring your CV to life and tell your personal story. What are you looking for from your new role? Try to avoid using “power phrases” that are very generic and lack meaning, such as “A motivated, hardworking team player with the ability to also work on own initiative”. Use words that demonstrate your individual qualities that are then backed up by your experience.
Key Skills, Education and Career History
These can immediately follow the Personal Statement in any order, depending on which you feel is most suited to the application you are making. Be accurate with your dates and general information. Dates should detail month and year.
Key Skills – List any individual qualities you have that demonstrate your suitability for the role. These can be IT skills, training or professional qualifications and any additional language skills.
Education – Give a general overview of your achievements. Dates and place of study, GCSEs, A Levels, and Degree etc. should be listed. If the role you are applying for requires a particular level of academic achievement then provide some brief detail to evidence your suitability.
Career History – Start with your most recent employer first and then work back. Have strong headings and ensure the company name is clear, along with your job title and dates of employment. Adding reasons for leaving each of your roles is also very helpful, especially if you have worked in a number of contract roles. If you have been temping then include this information. Cover any gaps in employment with a brief description of how that time was utilised, i.e. “Travelling throughout Australasia” or “Actively seeking employment”.
Under each job heading, write a line or two to set the context of the business you worked in. What do they do and how your role was positioned within that. Then use bullet points to highlight your key responsibilities and use evidence of your achievements to demonstrate your skills. List any significant achievements and detail how that benefitted the business.
References and Personal Interests
These should be at the end of the CV. References can be detailed or you can use “References can be supplied upon request” if you are struggling to keep to the two page rule. Use the personal interests section wisely. Avoid the old adage of “Reading, going to the gym and socialising with friends”. Again, use this section to let your personality shine – keep it short and simple. Two lines highlighting your interests and what really motivates you in your spare time, remember it can be an interesting conversation point in an interview!