Your CV is the first glimpse the employer receives of you in the hiring process, therefore it needs to be able to present you in the best possible light. Furthermore, employers will only spend a short time scanning your CV before they decide on whether to place you in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile. As a result, your CV needs to make a good impression at first glance. To help your application soar to the top of the ‘yes’ pile, here are five top tips for creating a winning CV.
Keep it relevant.
There’s nothing worse for an employer than receiving a very general CV that has clearly been sent to multiple companies. You need to show them that you’re passionate and interested enough to bother to tailor your CV in order to present why you’re suitable for their vacancy. Examine the job description, make a note of the requirements and determine which of your skills you need to highlight in your application to reassure the potential employer that you’re the perfect candidate. Your CV should be no more than two A4 pages, therefore make sure the information you provide is all relevant to the role you’re applying for so as not to waste any space.
When you upload your CV on to a job board you need to make it easy to find for recruiters and hiring managers who are searching for relevant applications for their vacancy. This is why it’s important to include both job titles and buzzwords related to the role you’re looking for, which you can do by researching job descriptions and adverts for the positions you’re applying to. For instance, if you’re searching for a managerial role you should include the word ‘management’ in your CV or if it’s a marketing position then you need to refer to SEO.
Back up your achievements.
If possible, support your accomplishments with figures as this will impress the employer and give them a better idea of your success in previous roles. For example, give the percentage you improved sales by or the number of new clients you brought on board in your last company. If you cannot provide statistics, include factual statements instead, for instance if you set up social media for your last company or succeeded in a particularly important and significant project. Just don’t lie as you will soon be caught out, especially when they contact your references and/or previous employers.
There’s no quicker route to the ‘no’ pile than including avoidable mistakes such as poor spelling or grammar. It signals to the employer that you’re careless and don’t check your work, which are hardly attractive qualities. With the amount of competition out there you simply cannot afford to let simple errors ruin your chances. Therefore make sure you proofread it – more than once – before sending your CV off. Even ask others to check through it for you in case there’s anything you’ve missed.
Fill the gaps.
If there are either deliberate or accidental gaps in your CV then you’re going to raise suspicion in the employer about your employment history, which will hardly put you in good stead for the job. No matter what your reason for the gap, try your best to give a truthful explanation but present it in a positive light. This will encourage the employer to respect your honesty and help them to also view it in a positive way. Again, avoid the temptation to lie as this will only dissuade the employer from hiring you.
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So if you’re struggling to produce a CV that captures the attention of potential employers, consider these top tips and apply them to any you create in future. To give your application the best chance of achieving success, create multiple CVs using different formats (see here) and assess which ones receive the best response. Once your CV is up to scratch you can feel more confident about sending it off to potential employers. For tips on mistakes to avoid, click here.