Your dream job has been advertised. It’s now time to make sure your CV is doing you justice and will leave the recruiter 110% certain that you are the ideal candidate for the role. We know that a good CV can be hard to write, with many people finding it difficult to translate what they do on a day-to-day basis into words that really sell their achievements. Here are some tips to help make your CV stand out from the crowd and land you that dream job.
Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and imagine having to assess 100 different CVs! Too long and you’ll find that important information may get overlooked; too short and you are likely to be underselling yourself, or to put it simply, making you look lazy which is not the image you want to be portraying. The ideal CV is 2 to 3 pages long and includes a professional profile, work experience (most current first), and relevant education and interests. Put your main selling point in the professional profile to ensure that you catch the recruiter’s eye from the start.
Along with length and proofreading, the structure and format of your CV can really help you stand out in a crowd.
Make sure you choose an easy-to-read font (Arial and Calibri are always good), in a readable size (cramming four pages of info onto two pages in size eight font is not going to work for you!) and use headings and bullet points to keep it clear and concise. But don’t use shortened words e.g., first not 1st, text language, or emojis.
A CV with spelling mistakes and / or typos is not a good look for any job application but especially if you’re applying for a position where excellent written communication skills are on the essential selection criteria!
Getting a friend who has an eye for detail to proofread your CV can pay big dividends. Firstly, they’ll pick up spelling errors, but if they know you and your work well, they will also be able to suggest some edits that could help you better sell yourself. Ask them to be honest but constructive in their comments – you might not like what you hear at first, but it’ll help you create the image you want to portray.
Tailored to the job you are applying for
Make sure you adapt your CV to the specific position you are applying for. Look at the selection criteria and address them in your description of your previous employment achievements.
If you have ten years’ career experience with great achievements in a relevant position, a prospective employer doesn’t need to know about a barista job you had backpacking when you were 25, or that you got straight A’s in high school.
Equally if you are fresh out of school or University, or coming back after a career break, then any employment experience which demonstrates you will be a great addition to the team is worth including, as are any other achievements that show your commitment or motivation.
Be sure to include what you were doing during any employment “gaps” where you didn’t work and include other interests or hobbies outside work that are relevant to addressing the selection criteria or job description.
Highlight your achievements
Achievements can be tricky for some people to write, especially if you’re not strong on talking about yourself. However, if you take a systematic approach following a few simple pointers, you’ll soon have some very specific achievements highlighted that you can discuss more at interview.
Try to stay away from simply listing your duties and responsibilities as this only tells the recruiter what your job description says you do, not what you achieved in the position.
For each achievement, describe what the task or challenge was, what you did to address it, and what the outcomes were. For example, ‘to cut costs I reduced the operating budget by 10% by negotiating a better deal with the company’s phone and internet provider’.
Make the outcomes quantifiable if possible – did you save the company money, increase sales or profit, set up a new office etc? If not, can you highlight what you did some other way e.g., improved communication with customers by introducing a single point of contact.
Good luck and if you need help finding your new career in specialised IT, don’t hesitate to give us a call – connecting excellent candidates with leading employers of choice is what we do best.
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