In today’s competitive job market the employer is expecting only the best quality of CV. No longer are you required to simply match all the skills and qualifications and expect to make it through to the job interview – that now just isn’t enough!
With such a high standard now demanded it’s time to make sure you’re CV makes the grade. Here are 6 amazing tips on how to write a CV.
1. Have a USP
- How are you going to stand out from the rest of your competition?
- What makes your CV unique and offer something the others won’t have?
These two questions need answering and implementing into your CV. It’s absolutely essential that you offer something different and unique to the employer to help your application get noticed.
Consider how you can offer something that will make the hiring manager say, ‘Wow, I gotta see this person for an interview!’ It could be in the form of a unique skill or qualification. Or better still, an outstanding achievement or past performance. Look for an example of your career that you can highlight in your CV which will make a lasting impact.
2. Simple, but effective
You can choose to create a CV that has colour, a wacky design, or even a funky font – but don’t make it difficult to navigate. Employers are now recognising and accepting more creative designs, but this doesn’t mean that you should make it harder to read.
Some of the best candidates write their CV with one simple rule – help the employer to find what they need. This means you should always set out your information in an easy to read format, helping the reader to navigate with correct headings and subheadings.
Bullet points are essential for listing tasks and anything else which can be condensed. The employer doesn’t want your life story, so dumb down on the info and get straight to the point. The hiring manager may not want to read every single word on your CV, so let them choose where they want to start.
“Unless you’re applying for a job that explicitly asks for something different, a traditional format won’t annoy the recruiter. Your CV will look like it’s supposed to, and they will read it expecting to be blown away by the words and only the words.”
3. Generic is boring and lazy
Twenty years ago you would be able to get a job interview by listing all your credentials. No fuss, no wasting time – just a simple list of all your skills and achievements. This generic approach to CV writing is not going to win you any prizes anymore, so stop being lazy.
Writing one CV that you can use to apply to many different employers is going to likely end in rejection. The employer wants you to show passion and an interest in the role and the company. You cannot do that if you list all your achievements. Instead, you need to tailor your CV to every aspect of the job description and try to only provide what the employer would want.
Do you really think they care about your job as a waiter 15 years ago, and want to see all the tasks?
Start with a completely blank page and build up your CV from scratch. Start with the job advert and use the job description to pinpoint the exact skills they are looking for. Try to match as many of those skills as possible, and use the same words as the job advert. These important keywords keep you on the same page as the employer.
“A scatter-gun approach for multiple applications is usually doomed to disappointment.”
4. One mistake will cost you
We cannot stress enough how important it is to apply with a flawless CV. Just one teeny tiny error can result in rejection. Whilst some employers may be a little more relaxed about this, most won’t be. You cannot take the chance as you may never realise it was that error that resulted in rejection – and not your talents.
But don’t forget that a mistake doesn’t just boil down to spelling or grammar. You can also be rejected for a poorly presented CV. Your layout and overall presentation is at stake here too. For example, too many or too little spacing between your sections can look odd. You don’t want to leave the employer scratching their head, so keep your layout as simple as possible.
5. Never forget what you’ve achieved
When you’re working in a job for many years it’s important to remember that anything significant needs to be logged. If you don’t log any changes, promotions, added responsibility – you may forget to include them in your CV.
Don’t relax too much into a role and expect things to always be the same. Not only will small changes happen, huge changes will inevitably come too. This could be a promotion or a move to another department or branch. You may want to leave to seek out a new role or you may even be made redundant.
No matter what happens you should keep your CV up to date. This doesn’t mean that you should constantly keep re-writing a new CV every time you want to add something. Just make a note of something so it’s tracked for future reference. You never know when you might need to write a new CV for a new job or even career. Make you life easier by tracking every move, and more importantly, any outstanding achievements.
6. Use a CV template
One of the best ways to start a brand new CV is to choose a ready made CV template. This will save you a huge amount of time and stress. Not only that, but it will look fantastic!
You can find free CV templates here:
If you’ve never come across a CV template website before you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Basically, rather than create your own CV layout from scratch you can instead choose from hundreds of designs. This will allow you the freedom to focus all your efforts onto the content of your CV.
Most job seekers who start with a completely blank page struggle to create the right professional design. Not only that, it can be difficult to remember all the sections that are required – especially for recent school leavers. Choosing the right CV template takes all that hassle away, and can ensure you end up with a far better looking CV than if you’d created it yourself.
Find out more: How to write an effective CV