5 steps to writing a stand-out CV
Write a great CV and it opens doors. It is a document that gets you the opportunity of an interview. It doesn’t get you a job, but it gets you on the road towards it, and is therefore vital and well worth spending time on. Don’t think of it as chore – see it as an investment. Once you create a core CV you are pleased with it is easily adjusted to make it relevant to each application and allows you to get it over to the person hiring quickly.
Here are our top 5 steps to creating your winning CV
- Don’t forget the basics – Most CVs only receive between 20 and 90 seconds of initial reading time.Make sure that you convey the critical information and don’t hide it in a lot of blurb.The general rule is that a CV shouldn’t be longer than 3 pages in length, ideally it should fit on 2. If you’ve had several roles this will require some cleaver editing. Keep the information on older jobs brief, leaving space to cover your more recent achievements in greater detail.Don’t forget to ensure the simple things, like your name and contact information are clear and easy to find, and above all correct. Use an email address that you check regularly. Try to avoid unprofessional email addresses, if needs be create a new account with a professional sounding name – ie no firstname.lastname@example.org
- Play it safe – while delivering your CV iced onto a cake might get you noticed, it might not necessarily be for the right reasons. When it comes to creating your CV, play it safe and keep it conventional. Use word, limit the use of fancy fonts, too many colours or over complicated formatting and refrain from adding a photo. This will ensure that your CV will be delivered, can be opened, and easily read by recruiters.
- Tailoring is essential – Tailoring your CV is not an option – it is essential. Each vacancy will be looking for a different combination of skills and experience and each organisation has its own culture and style. Your CV has to show how you fit a specific role and environment. One size won’t fit all. With perhaps 200 people applying for any one job you have to shout loud and clear how you meet the specific requirements of any job you are applying for.Many people write CVs that try and prove they can be everything to everyone. This “generalist” approach means breadth not depth. Most roles are looking for depth somewhere – be that technical expertise, sector experience or proven ability to deliver projects. Make sure your CV demonstrates exactly what the advertisement is asking for.
- Get a 2nd opinion – Before you do anything thoroughly review your finished document to make sure there are no errors and that the formatting is spot on. It is always a good idea to run it past those whose opinion you trust. Ask for honest feedback after only 20 seconds of reading. Have they recalled your four or five key messages? Before you send it anywhere, check it again for any errors.
- Keep it consistent – Remember that recruiters might also view your LinkedIn or other social media profiles, so ensure that your online profile is consistent with your CV. These should always be updated at the same and reflect each other.
Whether you’re just starting out or already have an established career, creating a stand-out CV is an essential tool for anyone looking to progress. If you’re planning on a move read our quick tips for January job seekers, check out the latest HR vacancies at Chiumento Recruitment, or get in touch.