- Make sure there are no questions
The main idea of a CV is to create a document that doesn’t give a recruiter/hiring manager any unanswered questions about your work experience, skills, qualifications etc. If a recruiter has questions about your work history, matching you with your perfect job is much harder.
It is common for people to have gaps in their CV, so don’t worry if you do too. People often have a good reason for career gaps. The important thing to remember is to explain the gaps, e.g., travelling, education, illness, caring for a child/relative etc. Recruiters/hiring managers are only human; if you don’t explain, they’ll often assume the worst when there are unexplained gaps. Don’t be afraid, to tell the truth; usually, authenticity can set you apart.
- Be your own biggest fan
Your CV is your chance to sell yourself. Littered throughout your work experience, you need to shout about what makes you great. It is not the time to be modest. If you are struggling to big yourself up, ask friends or family or a close colleague (one you can trust with your job search) what attributes they see in you.
An excellent way to sell yourself on your CV is to list your achievements, both professional, e.g., identifying and solving problems, working on special projects, implementing new procedures or having received awards, and personal achievements including charity events or sporting/academic achievements. These are a great way to impress and create a fuller picture of you as a person.
- Tailor your CV
We understand that it can be time-consuming and sometimes not possible to tailor your CV, especially if you work full-time, have kids, or have other commitments. It can also be very tempting to bulk apply for positions you are interested in, but tailoring your CV can be a huge benefit when going for that dream role. Often a recruiter or hiring manager can tell when you have gone the extra mile.
If you don’t have time or need help with how to tailor your CV, a good recruiter will help you tailor your CV to a relevant role, especially when the position is specific.
- Know your audience
If you are tailoring your CV, why not look at the company’s website? You can see what kind of language they use, like whether they prefer a more formal or informal tone, what their values are and if they align with yours and what their goals are. All this information will allow you to add keywords to your achievements, demonstrating how you can add value to the company. Again, this is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
- Make it look good
There is no excuse not to have a CV that represents you authentically and looks good while doing it. If you’re confident in writing a CV, you can start from scratch, but if you need help, there are many templates out there to help you format your CV. A CV doesn’t need to be boring; feel free to get creative with a splash of colour. But don’t go too crazy, as it has to be clear.
- Don’t overcomplicate it
Often your CV will look clear to you, it’s your experience, after all, but it may not be as clear and obvious to everyone else. Especially if you work in a technical or niche area. While it’s not always ideal, there is a good chance the person reading your CV may not be an expert in your industry, so you should try to avoid jargon. Once you’ve written up your CV, having a friend or family member take a look and give honest feedback is a good idea.