Essentials to remember for your CV
Have you ever looked at your CV and wondered if what you had in front of you was enough to land you that job? If so then you are not by any means alone. It can be pretty daunting to write your CV, even if you are updating a document that has landed you great jobs in the past. There is something about having to find the right way to sell yourself that can feel really overwhelming.
But the fact remains: a strong CV is important.
I’m not talking about the way that you format your CV – that is a different kettle of fish, and to some prospective employers, the formatting doesn’t make a significant enough difference to the shortlisting process. I’m talking about having the right components to make a good impression and land an interview.
A strong CV is important because it is where you make your first impression. It is also a chance for you to tell your prospective employer who you are, and what your relevant skills and experience are.
Why is it important to make a good first impression?
Your first impressions last for a very long time, and are hard to break. When you physically meet somebody, it takes all of 7 seconds for you to determine the kind of person that you think they are. You don’t have the opportunity for somebody to physically gauge who you are when you are applying for jobs, so what you put on paper is incredibly important. Your CV gives you the opportunity to control the impression that people get of you.You get to highlight your skill set, experience and personality all in one space, to present the best version of yourself.
So what are some essential things that you need to be aware of when it comes to your CV?
Have you given a clear picture of your skills and experience?
When you are writing your CV it can feel unnatural to list every little aspect of your acquired, soft and technical skills. It can feel even more so when you are listing your experience from similar roles.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are providing a clear picture of what your skills and experience is is to write is ALL down, in as much detail as possible. This may feel a little counterintuitive considering that we’ve all been taught that CVs are supposed to be an overview of your work life, but hear me out:
When you have written down absolutely everything about the skill and knowledge that you’ve picked up in your work life, you will have a much clearer picture of everything that you actually bring to the table. From there, you can cull your CV based on how clear the information is that you’ve included. It is much easier to tailor your CV when you’re cutting it down than it is to find ways to pad it.
Is all of your information relevant to the role you’re applying for?
I think all of us have at some point sent a CV that had everything we’ve ever done on it. And although that isn’t necessarily the “wrong” thing to do when you’re applying for jobs, it does make it harder to sift through your information to find what an employer might be looking for. Often the information that an employer is looking for is right in their job listing. Giving them an idea of your work history is important, but it is a good idea to tailor your CV to the role you are applying for. This means that you may need to drop one or two of your previous roles from your CV, or some information from those roles if they aren’t related to the experience that you need for the one you are applying for.
Why do you need to do this?
You are always able to offer more information on your work history if you are asked for it, and there is nothing wrong with stating that on your CV. It is also important that you are highlighting the things you bring to the table that make you the perfect candidate for the role in front of you. Have those experiences and skills be the star of your CV, and anything else that you bring can only serve to enhance your candidacy past that.
Adding a note at the bottom of your work experience like “Further work experience available upon request” is enough to acknowledge that your work history is longer, and if they want to know about it that they can ask.
Have you shared enough about yourself for somebody to get a picture of who you are?
I find this to be one of the hardest parts of writing a CV. Generally, I try to keep the information on my CV about my work history, experience and skills, and that usually works fine. The one thing that helps to paint you as a well-rounded candidate, is when you include things about yourself that are not directly related to a workplace.
These could be hobbies that you have, sports that you are involved in, general interests, and values that you have. If you’re not in the habit of adding these things to your CV, here is why they are important:
You develop a lot of transferable skills outside of the workplace that is helpful and integral to your success within the workplace. Teamwork, staying calm under pressure, problem-solving, attention to detail, the list goes on. These are all transferable skills that you are likely to be nurturing outside of the workplace without realising it. They are also skills that are helpful in any workplace. This is why you should be sure to include information about yourself outside of the workplace, as it helps to create a clearer picture of the kind of person you are.
Have you proofread your CV?
I don’t really need to elaborate here but I’m going to. This is such an important step and sometimes it can make or break your chances of landing an interview or a job. It is also the step that a lot of people skip.
Your CV is a professional document. For that very reason, you need to make sure that you are treating it with the seriousness you would any other professional document. If you are sending out unproofed copies of your CV, you’re pretty much implying that you don’t take the details of your work seriously. It’s not a good look.
If you are the kind of person that struggles to proofread your own work then there are tools you can use to help you. If you’re using Word or Pages, you will generally have the built-in spelling and grammar checker, but if you are using Google Docs, then it is likely that you will have some errors that aren’t picked up at all. To ensure that you are catching everything, and to save you some time in the proofreading process, I’d suggest downloading Grammarly. It is an entirely free tool that catches spelling and grammar, and can even offer you insights into the tone of your writing. There is a paid version, but unless you’re writing several pages worth a day, then the free one is perfect for you.
Hopefully, you made it to the end of the post without running to check your CV! Make sure that you’re checking yourself for all of these essentials before sending anything off when applying for jobs. Remember, your CV is the best way to make a good first impression with a prospective employer, and outside of the interview, a strong CV is the easiest way to convince them that you are great at your job, and will be great for them.
If you’ve used all of these essentials and had somebody independently look at your CV, let me know what kind of feedback you got! In the meantime… go check your spelling and grammar!This post was proofread by Grammarly