09 Mar 2022
Writing a great CV is one of the most challenging hurdles we face while job hunting. With the market becoming increasingly competitive and recruiters only having a quick browse through before determining your fate at the company, it’s vital to make a lasting impression. Below, mentoring experts PushFar have shared their top tips for writing the perfect CV.
Keep it short - no more than two pages
The best CVs are clear, concise and straight to the point. A typical mistake made by people when writing their CV is making it either too short or too long. Recruiters receive hundreds of applicants every job posting – they don't have the time to read your entire life story. A recent study shows that recruiters only look at your application for 7.4 seconds, so keep it short and sweet and a maximum of two pages.
Keep it updated
It's essential to keep your CV up-to-date and review it regularly. Make sure to add new skills and experience frequently; employers don't want to see a CV that's three years old. Every time something meaningful happens during your professional journey, such as volunteering or obtaining awards, make sure to document it, or you may forget about it!
There's no room for errors
Employers search for mistakes on a CV; this isn't a myth made up by teachers to panic us. Spelling and grammar mistakes can reflect poorly upon you as a candidate throughout your job hunting. Even if you're the most experienced person applying and know you'd be the ideal fit for the role, mistakes can risk your CV being automatically disqualified. Make sure to go through with a fine-tooth comb and check for any errors you may have made; it's also advised to get family and friends to go through with fresh eyes and perspective.
There's nothing quite as embarrassing as being caught out on a lie. Most of us think that telling little white lies on our application is harmful, and although CVs aren't a legally binding contract, apparent lies can be incredibly troublesome in the long run. Lying about experience or references isn't the best first impression to make on your employees, and if they find out, you could even lose your job.
Tailor and adapt your CV
It's becoming increasingly essential to customise your CV to meet the job description set by the employer, not just adapting your cover letter. Thoroughly review the job description and understand what the recruiter is looking for regarding the skills and experience needed. Emphasise any abilities and knowledge you already possess in the job description and add relevant information that could help you notice. Make sure to add any related words used throughout the job specification, using similar 'language' as the employer. Organisations now utilise software to shift through applications, looking for particular keywords. Having a generic CV won't make you stand out from the crowd, and employers will appreciate the apparent effort made if they see you've adjusted your application.
Only having a CV
Most people assume that a CV is sufficient for a recruiter during the job hunt, but this isn't the case. A covering letter is equally important, further highlighting your skills and experience that make you an excellent fit for the position. As mentioned, with employers receiving hundreds of applications, it's imperative to try and differentiate yourself.
Including numbers and statistics
A CV is a sales pitch; you need to sell yourself and what you can contribute to the organisation. When writing about your expertise, recruiters considerably appreciate the use of numbers and statistics to back up your points. Instead of writing, for instance, "I increased productivity", putting something such as "I increased productivity by 30% in three months" looks far more impressive!
Having a personal profile
Another common mistake made on CVs is not inserting a personal profile at the document's start. This is the first thing recruiters see and enables them to recognise if you're suited for the position. Including your relevant experience, industries you've worked in and your best skills during this section shows what you can bring to the role and company. Your introduction can sometimes be more efficient than a lengthy cover letter, but it's still recommended to do both.
Getting the basics right
Although there is no set pattern or design your CV needs to be in, it should always include the basics. All CVs need to include your personal details, work history (if you have any), skills and qualifications; without these, recruiters won't be able to tell if you're the right person for the role and, more than likely, your application will be rejected.
A successful CV is easy to read, well-presented and straightforward. Remember, when formatting your CV, you need to ensure that it isn't distracting and an eyesore. The design of your CV is entirely dependent on your industry; for example, an accountant would need something more formal, whereas someone applying for a creative position could use something more vibrant. When designing your CV, fonts, text size, and colours are significant factors; not having these concise will only make it look messy and unorganised. As important as grammar and spelling are, it's equally as essential to take the time to spruce up your CV presentation!
Gaps in your history
Address gaps within your career rather than have an unexplained space among your roles. Having obvious and broad breaks in your working history will more than likely make the employer sceptical. There are many ways you can put a positive spin on gaps; for example, if you've been out of work for an extended period, you can write about any experience or upskilling you've done throughout this time. If you took a year out after University to travel the world, you could detail this in your CV.
Read more on PushFar's website.
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