10 Steps To A Successful CV!
When it comes to recruitment and getting yourself a job, nothing is more important than the quality of your CV. While you may have the best interpersonal skills in the world, they are of no use unless you can first secure an interview via your CV! Here at AM CityGrad we allow you to create a full profile containing other forms of media, but the importance of having a well written CV remains the same.
In this post we will be exploring some of the pitfalls to avoid and what features you must consider and include to ensure your CV is up to the best possible standard and you give yourself the best possible chance.
Let’s first take a look at some of the most common traps people fall into when writing their CVs. While admittedly much of it is done with the best of intentions, what may seem perfectly acceptable in an interpersonal setting can often be the thing that makes a recruiter skip past a CV.
Your CV should be a professional impression of yourself that can be easily replicated but in an ideal world it should also be tailorable without too much effort. This means that you can use your CV to demonstrate you’ve taken an active interest in the company and the best way to ensure this is successful is to do effective research – if you haven’t researched a company properly, someone who works there will spot it straight away!
Formatting is equally important, don’t just show what you know and what you’ve done – make sure you show you know what you are doing! Consider the way your cv will look to someone who is viewing it for the first time. Don’t make the CV too long (1 page is the sweet spot, 2 the absolute maximum), people will just lose interest in reading it in its entirety and may miss important information if you’ve put it towards the end.
Spelling and grammar mistakes are a big no-no as well, with the prevalence of spellcheckers and online programmes such as Grammarly there really is no excuse for this one. Social media is one to consider with this too, by all means link to social media if it is related to your career but ensure that anything posted (and particularly any online handles) are all work appropriate. Never talk about money on your CV either, that can be saved for the interview!
Now you know what to avoid, let’s take a look at 10 of the most important factors to consider and include:
1. Contact Details
This one may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised to know just how much people forget to include them! After you’ve gone to the effort of making a top class CV, the last thing you want is for them to like you but have no way of reaching out. Make sure that the details included are work appropriate too, no silly email addresses!
2. Be Specific
When listing your previous experience, be specific and concise about what you’ve done and achieved. It’s easy to get sucked in the trap of waffling to make your experience seem longer but this is easily spottable to a professional. Consider using bullet points instead of paragraphs and talk about individual achievements rather than team ones.
3. Relevant Skills
This is related to the previous point, include as many skills as you can but don’t overembellish and if something isn’t relevant to the role you are applying for then consider not including it at all – MS Paint won’t be relevant to finance…
4. Additional Sections
If you’ve covered off all your education and experience succinctly, consider including additional sections about yourself. This could include extracurricular achievements or positions of responsibility, or some hobbies if they are relevant and professional.
5. Normal Font
This one has had some attention in previous years. Of course you want to stand out when people come across your CV but putting the text in some ridiculous font won’t do you any favours, keep it professional and avoid Comic Sans!
6. First Person & Active
Admittedly, people can easily stray on this one, but it is important to remember that your CV should be written in the 1st person i.e. “I” and it should be in the active – not passive – voice.
We mentioned this in the previous section, while social media used to be considered taboo for a CV, these days (if used correctly) it can work to your benefit. Again, think professional, a well-crafted LinkedIn page will go a long way.
8. Explain Gaps
Gaps in employment are never a particularly good thing, but the vast majority of employers will understand this – they just need to know why. If you were out of work for an extended period due to illness or family, make this clear!
9. Cover Letter
Whilst you should make your CV as tailored as you can, it is not always possible to convey everything you need to and demonstrate the research you’ve done. One way of getting round this is to write a personalised cover letter, explaining why exactly you’re the best person for the role.
10. Proofreading & Final Edits
Finally, and arguably most importantly, MAKE SURE YOU PROOFREAD! Hopefully you will have been taking great care when writing your CV, nevertheless mistakes do happen. Once you’ve written it, take some time away and come back to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. If possible, get someone else you trust to take a look – they may pick up on something you’ve missed. Ensure that you get your CV saved in PDF format too, as it’s much more end user friendly!