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Posted by Niche Recruitment
25th May 2016
CV Success: Do’s and Don’ts
So you’re looking for work…Where do you begin? A CV presented in a clear, concise way that engages a recruiter (or any prospective employer for that matter) is the first step towards helping your secure your dream job and help you find your niche in the market. A good CV can help a recruiter build a picture of the skills and experience you can bring to a role, but more importantly, can help shape an understanding of your personality and make us want to find out more.. to pick up the phone and engage with you!
You have a few moments to optimise your potential and ensure that you are not passed over for the desired opportunity. We’ve listed our top tips of what makes a killer CV, and also what kills your chance at landing the role.
BACK TO BASICS:
We’re not the CV police. There’s no law on what a resume should include, but there are some universal basics we expect to see: your name, contact details, work experience, education and/or qualifications. Add a personal touch by summarising yourself in a -brief- personal statement, detailing your career highlights and what you’re looking for now.
On the topic of contact details…that email address you made when you were 14? Something along the lines of ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’? Axe it. You want to promote the professional you.
Top 10 pet peeve = listed work experience without time-frames. Be precise; always have a month and a year on all periods of occupation, whether work experience or study.
Also, always detail your employment in chronological order, from your most recent place of employment to your last. We want to know what you’re up to now, not the paper round you had when you were 13.
FILL IN GAPS OF EMPLOYMENT:
Unfortunately, if you don’t specify that you’ve been travelling the world, or taking care of your young children, we’re going to presume you’ve been idle…which doesn’t bode well for your work ethic as a potential candidate. This also means keeping your CV up to date. A given, but a golden rule that many people forget.
Unless your long distant job experience is directly relevant to the role you’re applying for, don’t go into detail. We suggest you have a main description about your current position, or longest employment, then briefly highlight the main points of the last 15 years (max!). Prior to that, just list any work experience with their relevant dates. If we want to know details, we’ll ask!
KEEP IT SIMPLE Pt.1:
When it comes to content, simplicity is king. You’re writing highlights, not an autobiography. Bullet point your key responsibilities in each role; we need reader friendly comments that get straight to the point. Did you increase your last employer’s sales for the previous year? We want to hear about it! Go ahead and note down specific facts and figures. No one can dispute numbers as a representation of your personal success.
KEEP IT SIMPLE PT.2:
This also applies to the layout. Don’t risk fancy templates unless you’re shooting for a creative job. We like to look at your CV and get the main points in a sweeping glance. That means we advise you stay away from the adventurous fonts, composition or colours.
….Ah yes, colour scheme – It’s wise not to choose garish, contrasting colours; you might think they make you stand out, but they tend to make us reach for the aspirin.
First and foremost, make sure you check your spelling & grammar! You want to show employers that you’re an articulated candidate…typos aren’t conducive to that.
If you’re in a technical role, don’t be afraid to use the language most applicable to your experience e.g. Acronyms. The employer will know what you mean, and we source your CV by using acronyms in our searches.
Also, NOTE: Unless you’re going specifically for a creative role, stick with the professional language and cut the chat; save your winning personality for in-person. Using formal, positive language presents a spot-on corporate neutral that we can’t fault.
You all know this, and yet some people still embellish the truth, only to get caught out in the interview. Say it how it is, and we’ll appreciate your honesty. If you’re worried you’re lacking experience, use what you have…translate even entry level duties into transferable skills. Remember: this doesn’t mean up-selling your work history until it’s completely unrecognisable for what it is.
- Name – Preferably full name, not your nickname from secondary school.
- Personal Details – We don’t need your life story, e.g. marriage/age/gender/political status/ice-cream preference. This is a need-to-know basis. Contact number, email and home address (if you don’t mind listing it) is fine. In addition, if you have a website or blog specific to your professional interests, we’re interested too!
- Personal Statement – This can prioritise your career overview effectively and set the scene for the reader…When done right…and briefly.
- Work Experience – This comes first over education, unless you’re a fresh graduate.
- Education – We advise you list your most recent academic achievements, and that’s it. When you have 15+ years of experience, not many people are going to be wondering what grade you got for your home economics GCSE.
- Qualifications – Depending on your highest qualification, Qualifications and Education could do a switcheroo. Choose the order you feel is more relevant to your application.
- Interests – You’re not fooling anyone in saying you’re a work-a-holic. There must be something your passionate about. We know what you do, but what do you DO?
- References – Are not necessary on a CV. If we want them, we’ll ask for them. Most CVs nowadays specify that any ‘references are available on request’.
We don’t come across too many video CVs, but with the digital age upon us, they are definitely something to consider for your future job search, with the potential for a more personable and unique self-presentation. Perhaps consider using a brief video as a visual personal statement in supplement to a paper-based version of your CV.