Your CV is often your gateway into an application process and is often the first impression you get to make on an employer. A well-written and organised CV will have a greater chance of standing out from the crowd than a messy, unorganised and irrelevantly populated CV.
If your CV seems to be letting you down or you are struggling to make that first mark, read on to see how you can tailor or improve your CV to make the best first impression!
1. Keep it simple
This means layout, fonts, information and organisation. A clearly laid out CV will have more chances of drawing the eye and will make it easier for the employer to find what they need information-wise. Bullet points are a good way of condensing information in a way that is easy to process.
This will instantly make a good impression and pass the '30-second speed read'. As your CV is a reflection of you, a on organised CV shows you are an organised person!
2. Relevant and up-to-date is best
There is nothing more dreaded than a CV that is completely irrelevant to they job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to a Teaching Assistant's position, then listing your experience as a sous chef won't be relevant.
Some of the most looked-for aspects on a CV include an up-to-date work history (including the dates worked to and from), relevant trainings, qualifications and awards, hard and soft/transferable skills and hobbies/interest that can be applied to the job e.g. if you are teaching and have a lot of knowledge about sports or astronomy that can be passed on to a classroom.
3. Important information first
One of the worst things a job seeker can do is write a really impressive CV, have all the core competencies and skills and then forget to put their contact details on their CV! In many cases, employers will be so busy that instead of chasing up contact details, they will pass the CV over and look for the next one that fits and can be contacted easily.
The first thing the employer should see on a CV is your name and contact details, acting as the page header in a significantly larger font size than the rest of the document. Useful contact details to include are primarily a contact number that you have access to (in case the employer calls) and an emil address as these are the preferred methods of communication for many companies.
4. References are important
References are an important part of the application process as they allow employers to see what you are like as an employee and a colleague. They also help employers to envision if you would be a good fit for their company.
People who you can list as a reference include previous employers, colleagues or people you may have worked under. If you are studying, you can list your lecturer, tutor, course directer etc. as your reference.
5. Check...and then check again
Typos and spelling mistakes can happen to anyone, but with spell-checker on almost every electronic device, they can be avoided! Make sure you proof read your CV before you send it off, checking that your spelling and grammar is correct. If you can, get a friend or colleague to proof read it for you as well. You don't want to let one little spelling mistake ruin your chances.
Remember, your CV is a reflection of you, and you want to put your best foot forward!