When you are a job seeker your CV should be at the forefront of your day therefore it requires appropriate care and attention. Your CV is the first impression that a potential employer has of you so it is vital that this document stands out from the competition, especially in the current employment climate, and helps you to make the steps from application to interview and employment.
Just because it got you a job 5 years ago doesn’t mean that the information is still relevant; everything from your telephone number to past experiences should be checked. Had a gap since you were last employed? Explain why – having a baby, travelling the world, volunteering – you’ll get more respect by recognising your situation than ignoring it
Companies keep an eye out for particular keywords when searching for candidates so do some research on your field and market yourself accordingly. Don’t overdo the buzzwords but ensure that you read the job description carefully and show that you match the specific criteria listed. A key place to do this is in your personal profile at the top of your CV, a section that should encourage your potential employer to continue reading
Focus on any key responsibilities and point them out – your CV is a place for hard facts, not explanations. Quantifying these responsibilities makes any information you give more tangible; managing a budget of £60,000 is more impressive than having an understanding of budgeting
While you’re in this editing process, go over your covering letter. This should be clear and concise, outlining your key selling points and giving the reader an instant impression of your suitability for the position. Tailoring is vital here; state why you want the job, why you are drawn to that company, and why you are the best candidate
Getting a second opinion can be the key to a great document – have someone read over your documents and give feedback, ask them what they’re drawn to and if they think anything is irrelevant, and be prepared to return the favour!
Finally, give your documents a thorough proof read for both spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as these can let down any CV, regardless of experience.
Spending some time on a professional spring clean will not only help revamp your CV and covering letter but it will also reignite your energy and enthusiasm towards your job search.
If you’ll be doing some professional spring-cleaning soon connect with me via LinkedIn and share your ideas.
Jessica Higham works in the marketing department of Sellick Partnership, a recruitment agency specialising in the finance, procurement and legal sectors. Established in 2002, the firm has expanded to six offices, offering recruitment solutions nationwide. Click here to visit their website. For legal jobs click here, or here for finance roles.
Image source: Alan Cleaver
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