With competition in the job market so high you will have just 30 seconds to impress the recruiter and secure that all important interview so you have to ensure that your CV is more appealing and attractive than the rest.
A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a ‘story of your life’. It's a summary of your academic and work history and achievements. In essence your CV is a sales pitch – a powerful marketing tool that should be carefully crafted to 'sell' your skills and experiences to a potential employer. With competition in the job market so high you will have just 30 seconds to impress the recruiter and secure that all important interview so you have to ensure that your CV is more appealing and attractive than the rest.
What information should be included in a CV?
Obviously the basics:
- Email Address
- Telephone Numbers
Then move onto:
Positioned at the top of your CV, underneath your personal details, your personal profile should immediately capture the reader’s interest and entice them to read on.
A personal profile or personal statement should be no more than 150 words and can be written in the first or third person. It should answer the following questions; who you are, what stage you have reached in your career, what you can offer, and what job you are seeking. It is your opportunity to present your unique skill set and the value you can bring to an organisation, it’s your chance to make sure you stand out! Be specific, don’t make vague claims but make sure you can back them up with examples.
This section should include strong, impressive statements of your major achievements and key skills. Make sure you refer to facts, figures and timescales - prospective employers look for quantitative information such as hard facts, rather than vague claims. Examples may include; “Achieved 110% of target for mortgages/loans in quarter 1 2012” or "Project Managed a large KYC/CDD remediation exercise within the department and complete the project 3 weeks ahead of schedule in February 2013".
Additional skills to mention are languages and IT skills e.g. "good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills".
Being able to demonstrate a range of transferable skills on your CV will also make you far more marketable. There are some generic attributes that all employers want from the staff they hire; if you are able to demonstrate these effectively you will be much more attractive. Examples of transferable skills include: ability to adapt to technology changes, ability to show a high degree of integrity, capability as a self starter, prioritisation and organisation, adaptability and a can do attitude. Think about your transferable skills and how you have utilised them through work experience, part-time jobs, hobbies or during your studies and make reference to these.
Education & Qualifications
Depending on the job vacancy and the employer's expectations, your education and qualifications can either be placed after the achievements section or after your career history, or given higher prominence if the situation warrants it.
You should include the dates the qualification was acquired, the school/college/examining body and the details of the qualification itself. Be honest about your qualifications, employers will find out if you have stretched the truth. You can also detail any relevant courses you have attended which may add value to your application.
Start with the most recent or present job and end with your first. Show starting and finishing years and months, the company name and your job title. You should then include a list of your duties and responsibilities in that role to give a potential employer a general overview of the skills that you developed in that role. If you have held a number of roles within one organisation detail each post, making reference to any promotions you have received. Use action words such as developed, planned and organised. Work in a shop, bar or restaurant will involve working in a team, providing a quality service to customers, and dealing tactfully with complaints so remember to include this.
Covering Letters – the personal touch
The covering letter is vital to your CV. This is why it is the first page and not an addition; remember that ‘please find enclosed my CV’ will not get you very far.
The covering letter puts flesh on the bare bones of the CV. It points out to the employer the information showing that you have the qualities the job calls for, and makes a statement about you and your suitability for the job.
Hints & Tips
- Always type your CV and covering letter unless you are requested not to.
- Use your own words rather than formal long-winded clichés and always write your CV in the third person.
- Spell-check and then double-check your spelling and grammar.
- Print out the job description and keep it beside you when you write your CV. This will really help you stick to the requirements of the role.
- Sell your key skills but do not lie.
- Avoid any time gaps
- Avoid the witty email address that amuses you but may not amuse an employer eg hotlegs@…