Today’s job market is as challenging as ever, and your CV is the first step to landing that dream job: making a good first impression is crucial.
Did you know that when we meet someone for the first time, we unconsciously make an initial judgement on them within 50 milliseconds of meeting them! Are they organised, trustworthy, can we connect with them?
Employers are doing the same thing with your CV when they read it for the first time. They’ll be looking to see if you are capable of doing the job of course, but they’ll also be looking for other clues about you, for example: do you pay attention to detail, are you neat and organised, have you moved around a lot in your career or stayed in one place for a while, do you actively try to expand your knowledge…your CV will tell them all these things and more so it’s important to include the most relevant information.
From layout to style, content and language, it’s vital that every element of your CV is flawless in order to get an invite to be interviewed in person.
So, with that said, here are our top tips on writing the perfect CV!
Start by providing your essential details like your name, email address and (if appropriate for the role – whether or not you hold a full, clean driving licence); check the details carefully as you wouldn’t want to miss an email or call back due to a typo!
Note: make sure you use a professional email address, this can be as simple as your full name at (whatever email provider you use). Do not use any silly email addresses that include nicknames or swear words – this can give a bad impression and put employers off contacting you.
If your current email address isn’t appropriate for work, create a new one. Plus, you’ll be able to keep all work-related emails in one place which can be really handy.
Remember that employers will sometimes use the contact details you provide to check your presence online to get a better feel for you, so be careful with what you post on your social media pages (or crank up the security to make your social pages private).
Make your CV easy to read
Recruiters and employers expect to be able to easily read your CV and navigate themselves around the information to any relevant points they are looking for.
Here’s how to make your CV easy to read:
Talk the talk
- Give a brief summary of where you are now in your career, where you want to go and what you’ve done to help yourself achieve that goal
- Use short sentences and paragraphs
- Include clear headings throughout to allow employers to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily
- Use an easy to read font such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, and Helvetica. Steer clear of fonts that are extravagant, complicated or just plain ugly (yes we’re talking about you Comic Sans!)
It’s a good idea to adapt your CV to each and every job you apply for. Mimic the language and voice they use as a company and in the job advertisement. Think about the key points you have in your CV and tailor these to meet the needs of the company and match any skills and experience you have with the job role; avoid repeating it word for word as this can come off as disingenuous or untrue.
Your CV should be as visually attractive as you can make it, however this doesn’t mean you should print it on brightly coloured card and include pictures. Simply making it neat and tidy, using headers in larger font sizes and a well-thought-out layout will instantly make it look appealing to read and demonstrates that you have really put some thought into your CV, and the person reading it.
The standard length of a CV is two separate pages, which often means that you’ll need to edit your work history to make it fit. The challenge is to condense the most relevant, appealing information about your work history, skills and experience in the most effective way possible.
Employers will automatically reject CVs containing spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, so proof read it yourself and run your CV through a few different spelling and grammar checks (make sure it’s set to UK English) to make sure it’s completely free from errors. It’s also worth getting a friend or family member to read over your CV to make sure everything reads clearly and makes sense before submitting it to the employer.
Sending out the perfect CV is vital for any job application you make - that’s why we have a dedicated Career Support Officer for each student to ensure their CV is free from errors and shows off your skills and experience to your future employer.
If you are looking to refresh your skills to update your CV or get qualified for a completely new career, take a look at the courses we have available!