A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a written overview of your professional experience, skills and education. It acts as a platform where you can showcase all of your achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and what can in turn get you an interview. The quality of your CV is paramount; it is the first impression a potential employer will have of you – it can either land you an interview or disengage potential employers. We have devised some tips on how you can create a professionally enticing CV.
1. What to include
Begin basic. Employers will use your title to refer back to if they wish to get in contact with you, so make it as easy as possible for them. Include your name, professional title and contact details. Although this section should be basic, it is best to make it stand out too, possibly by making the text bold or a slightly larger size.
A little bit about you… at the end. Not only do employers look for experience and if an applicant has the ability or potential to successfully do the job, they also look to see if you could be a good fit for their organisation. A small section (literally a couple of sentences) at the end of your CV briefly stating what interests you have out of the workplace can give an insight into what kind of person you are. Obviously employers will not be biased based on this, it just allows context. With their number one priority being to find someone who can do the job, if you tick that box, they are more likely to keep reading to find out about you as an individual.
Whilst it is important to think about what to include, it is also vital that you recognise what isn’t enhancing your CV. The inclusion of “CV” or “Curriculum Vitae” is arguably entirely irrelevant. Nine times out of ten, your CV will be received after you have applied for a job or have enquired about a job, so with this, it is rather self-explanatory that the file is your CV. Further, by not adding this, you are valuing the space you have. CV’s should be concise (we shall expand upon this later) so although it is only one or two words, in their place could be keywords that are relevant to the role you are applying for – which could make all the difference.
2. Tailor it for the company and role
One mistake people make too often is sending out the same CV to every possible employer. Every organisation and every job are different but this doesn’t mean you have to entirely re-write it every time you hand one out. All you have to keep in mind is what information will be relevant for each role and company then be sure to trim what isn’t required and add what is.
You can add a covering letter to outline exactly how you meet their requirements for the role, or you can do this in brief by adding a short two sentences under the main title on your CV stating bullet point like values such as skills you possess specifically relevant to that role.
3. Consider readability
There are three factors to consider when improving the readability of your CV: font, form and subheadings. Readability means how easy something is to read. In this instance, short, concise sentences enable an easier, quicker and more enticing read for employers. Generally, employers spend six seconds looking at a CV therefore it is advisable to avoid rambling and get straight to the point whilst including the essential information.
Choosing an uncommon, busy font in the hope it will stand out can backfire in that it can appear unprofessional and disinterests employers. Opting for a basic font not only improves readability, but it also does not distract employers from the key information.
Furthermore, a clear organised form can immediately attract attention, especially if effectively divided by subheadings.
4. Proof read!
Not only does it look sloppy if there are spelling or grammar mistakes, it also looks unprofessional. It gives the impression that if you are not concerned of the state of your CV. From this, employers are likely to question that if you are not concerned about putting the effort into proof reading your CV, why would you be any more so at work? Triple check everything!
5. Keep it up to date and do not lie
If you have a new qualification that is relevant to the role you are applying for and you haven’t added it to your CV, you could be missing out on being invited in for an interview. Further, keeping your CV up to date demonstrates general organisation and attention to detail.
As well as keeping your CV up to date, it is important that all of the information within it is correct. Lying on your CV can only arguably lead to negatives consequences. Employers may ask for proof of a qualification, you could slip up in an interview, or by going into a role where you have a lack of experience and knowledge could mean you suffer by struggling at successfully doing the role.